By Associated Press
MELBOURNE: A crowd of staunch fans braved wet winter weather in downtown Melbourne on Thursday to watch outdoors the star-studded finale of the Australian television soap “Neighbours,” which ran for 37 years.
Margot Robbie, Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce, Jason Donovan, Natalie Imbruglia and Holly Valance are among the celebrities who returned to fictional Ramsay Street to appear in the send-off of the Melbourne-based drama that helped launch their careers in acting and music.
Robbie, Imbruglia and Valance made remote video appearances.
Some of the better-known actors who have appeared in “Neighbours” since it began in 1985 — but who were not part of the 90-minute finale — include Oscar-winner Russell Crowe and the Hemsworth brothers, Chris, Luke and Liam.
The program was once a major hit in Australia and a bigger success in Britain, but has fallen victim to waning ratings.
Fan Riya Patel arrived two hours before the broadcast started at 7:30 p.m. local time on a brig screen in Melbourne’s Federation Square to secure a bean bag in the front row, despite passing showers and a bracing temperature of 9 degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit).
More than 100 fans attended, many wrapped in blankets.
Patel began watching “Neighbours” after moving to Melbourne from India in 2018 and had since streamed episodes back to 2012. She said she would miss the nightly adventures of the Ramsay Street neighbours.
“Most definitely, I don’t know what I am going to do at 6:30 p.m. It’s just going to be an automatic thing to go in front of the TV,” Patel said.
The show announced its cancellation in March following the loss of its main British broadcast partner, Channel 5.
Channel 5 will broadcast the final episode in Britain on Friday.