Good Riddance to Fake Neighbours.

Good Riddance to Fake Neighbours.

By Kosta Sarandopoulos

Ramsey Steet! Where does it exist? In which country? On which planet? In who’s wild imagination or delusional mind?

There is no place in Australia that even mildly resembles the cast on this street.

Yet it has been touted as the typical Australian soapie…as Australian as vegemite.

The show which was first screened on 20 January 1986 has since become the longest-running drama series in Australian television history.

The storylines concern the lives of the people who live and work in Erinsborough, a fictional suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. 

Melbourne?? Really?

Melbourne? Which is possibly Australia’s most ethnically diverse city?

Melbourne? Which has the 10th largest immigrant population among world metropolitan areas?

This is where someone decided to base the most ethnically un-diverse cast in the western world.

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Not true I hear some Neighbour devotees say.

What about this lot of non-Anglo actors?

Natalie Imbruglia ( Italian surname), Rebekah Elmaloglou (Greek father) ,Holly Valance (Serbian father).

Err…I’m starting to struggle.

OK, then there is Stefan Dennis ( some type of eastern European background I’m sure).

Of course, we have Liam Hemsworth; who is of Dutch English, Irish, Scottish, and German background.

Ok, now I’m really starting to struggle.

But here is the worst of it. Let’s look at the characters they played:

Natalie Imbruglia = Beth Brennan, Rebekah Elmaloglou = Terese Willis, Holly Valance = Felicity Scully, Liam Hemsworth = Josh Taylor.

You get the picture right.

Ok, special mention for Jarrod Vincenzo Rebecchi (commonly known as “Toadfish” or “Toadie”) played by Ryan Moloney.

Also, Leo Tanaka was played by Tim Kano & his twin brother David Tanaka (Takaya Honda).

I’ve gone through the entire cast of Neighbours over 37 years & struggled to find a non-Anglo name among the characters with a few exceptions.

In 2013 we did see a short-lived tenure by the Kapoor family.

Unfortunately, they were ‘shipped’ off to India after online racist backlash from viewers.

Just another example of Corporate Australia bending over for bigots.

A big shout out to Riche Morris ( Lebanese & Nigerian descent) as Levi Canning who… according to the Celebrity Whisperer has brought diversity to Ramsay Street, in more ways than one.

What an achievement; please hand me the vomit bag.

After 37 long boring years a non-white face on Neighbours that wasn’t sent packing.

What a great big Australian disgrace.

But to be fair to Australians; so many of us did not watch it.

It was left to the British to carry the show for many more years than it deserved.

In fact, 19.6 million of them actually watched Scott and Charlene’s wedding in 1988.

Perhaps the poor ignorant sods mistakenly believed this to be a true picture of Australia.

Perhaps they dreamed of a white paradise in a sunny corner of the world.

Especially as dreary England became more and more multicultural & much less white.

They could always emigrate to a whiter, warmer former colony.

But when they did emigrate or holiday in Australia…imagine their shock when they walked through Sydney’s Western suburbs.

I wonder if at that moment they also too took to cursing this unforgivable drivel as many Australians did?

I do believe that the Neighbours phenomenon will live on though.

I’m sure it will be studied by future generations who will scratch their heads and wonder…why?

How could you walk out of your home in contemporary suburban Australia and imagine that it could look anything like Ramsey Street?

I myself live in very white Canberra.

My street consists of 4 Italian homes, 2 Greek, 2 Serbian, 1 Macedonian, a Phillipino family, a Chinese family, a rental with a bunch of Chinese students, 3 same-sex couples, and a recently arrived French family.

These are what I know of in a small street of 42 homes.

Why would anyone show this to the world?

But show it they did. At its peak Neighbours was being watched in 60 countries around the world.

Like the Brits, they accepted this false image as a picture of Australia.

Neighbours should be sued for false advertising.

The Brits who emigrated because of this show…should sue.

Australians of the future who will watch and cringe…should sue.

I’m sure there will be university units and lectures dedicated to the absurdity of this show.

They may even be remakes done in comedic style.

As an absurd black comedy perhaps it may find some meaning for us all.

It can become a cautionary catch cry for when an Australian production shows falsehoods or stereotypes for example.

Hey, let’s not do a ‘Neighbours’ here… let’s keep things real.

*Kosta Sarandopoulos writes about multicultural issues. He was born in very multicultural Marrickville NSW. When he first went to school he was shocked to discover he could not speak the language.

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