A Visit To Ramsey Street

April 28, 2014

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Neighbours everybody needs good neighbours with a little understanding … I think that’s how it goes. Yes I am a fan of Neighbours – not the show but the amazing Neighbours tour. I was privileged to be the lucky staff member chosen to attend the tour with 5 delightful companions. So maybe I had to pull rank to get the gig,  but it was well worthwhile!

The secret to the Neighbours tour is Gerry – a Bowel Chemistry student dropout from Ireland. Gerry has been doing Neighbours tours for 6 years. From Bowel Chemistry to Neighbours tour guide may seem a bit of a stretch but really the content of both is similar!

So we met at 8,30 at Boronia station and took off for Southern Cross station. The day looked promising when all 5 of my companions pulled out their devises and started playing games / txt friends. When in Rome … so I took some photos and sent them to Heather.

We arrived at the launching pad for the tour. It’s a Neighbours shop with paraphernalia, photos and souvenirs.  Here we met Gerry whose first words were (you can always tell it’s a Neighbors tour by the intelligence of the group!) “All of you who haven’t checked in at the office go now” … half the bus got off! We were feeling really smug until Gerry said “Don’t feel pleased with yourselves remember you are going on a Neighbours tour”.

Gerry introduced himself as an Irish ex pat. As a microcosm of Australian society Neighbours provides an insight into the stereotyping of the Irish. Conner is the only Irish guy on Neighbours – he was illiterate, stole cars and played the tin whistle.

Neighbors is the most successful Australian television show ever. And it’s all lies lies lies. Played in 63 countries and is the highest rating show in the UK ever.

Lies about the weather, lies about the place, lies about life in the suburbs of Melbourne, everyone’s good looking in Erinsborough, and there are no drugs, sex or violence. Dr Karl is God – started as a mechanic for 3 weeks on the show before becoming a doctor in later years. People are dying with no arms / legs and he saves them. It’s all a lie.

Because nobody has any thoughts while watching Neighbours they change stuff all the time. Many people have played the same person and strange things happen in Ramsey Street which is about 100 metres long with about 6 houses. Everybody in Erinsborough has survived a plane crash! There have been 29 car crashes in the court, 7 fires in the pub, 9 shootings to 8 people -Paul Robinson was shot twice because he’s a bad guy. There was even a drive-by shooting – in a court??? Also a miracle involving a canoe accident where the fake Libby fell in – Dr Karl saved the young girl and out of the water came the real Libby. Apparently the fake Libby wasn’t pretty enough!!

A few facts. Neighbours started 18th March 1985 and is still going strong, albeit is made for overseas now. Starting on Channel 7, it was scrapped it because it didn’t rate in Sydney. Channel 10 bought it and by 1987 it was the biggest rating show in history. Most logies ever, digital TV’s highest rating show, shown in 63 countries, highest rating soap in the UK ever, and the tour attracts people from all over the world. Ramsey Street has suffered a little but people get their gardens done and get paid for the use of their front yard. They have to put up with a bit of filming, tour people, people bonking on their garden beds and people doing burnouts up the court.

Neighbours has been a factory for significant Aussie talent. Russell Crow, Guy Pierce, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Natalie Imbruglia, Alan Dale and Holly Valance are a few.

So, amazed as I was, I was kind of glad to have survived the tour as we bade farewell to Gerry and headed off for the city square for lunch and cakes at Brunetti’s. All the girls were a little star struck after getting to meet the amazing Dr Karl but a couple of macaroons solves most hysteria.

From here I took the girls to ‘nerdsville’ where they seemed to enjoy all the pop culture at Minnator with the Dr Who, Star Wars, Big Bang Theory etc.  paraphernalia. A sit in Fed Square and then off to catch the train home.

Thanks to my comrades for the day – it was great.

by Fred Brumhead

with our tour guide    Neighbours tour bus

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