Next week it’s the 35th anniversary of Neighbours – and, perhaps more significantly, the very first lesbian nuptials to be held in this venerable show’s history.
On the off-chance you didn’t know, the special episode (to be aired next week) will see the hitching of Sky Mangel and Lana Crawford — alongside an opportune series of cameos from favourites-past.
Like all the best weddings, there will be drama (Sky’s ex, who is still in love with her, apparently hasn’t been told). But the essential details are this: Bridget Neval, who played Lana between 2004 and 2005, will be reunited with her co-star Stephanie McIntosh, who left Ramsay Street back in 2007.
And for those who may not have been paying attention, Lana was the show’s first lesbian character — who shared a kiss with Sky way back in the dawn of the carefree noughties (2004, actually).
Neval has since retired from the actor’s life but said she “couldn’t say no” to the wedding.
Of course she couldn’t. This is a soapie marriage on a show called “Neighbours”, so it will obviously share a cultural lineage with that glorious pairing of Scott and Charlene (played, respectively, by Mr Jason Donovan and Ms Kylie Minogue). We all remember the national holiday we had for that one back in the ’80s (or was that for a yacht race?).
Snark aside (and isn’t snarking part of the joy of a show like Neighbours), this is, of course, something of a watershed in the collective zeitgeist. An ancient and much beloved institution is (once again) embracing the here-and-now.
Speaking to the Radio Times, McIntosh said:
“While we did get a lot of support in 2004 around the Sky and Lana relationship, it also created some controversy as well. So it’s refreshing that a same-sex relationship is no longer something out of the ordinary, there is no fuss around it.”
Well, there does seem to be a bit of fuss around it — but it wouldn’t be a soapie without drama, right? Happy 35th anniversary Neighbours!