An Australian soap opera returns, with distance (and without kissing)


“It’s upsetting,” Jemma Donovan, who plays teenage character Harlow Robinson, wrote in an email. “It’s weird that you can’t do the basics like standing close to each other or even kissing and kissing when you’re a couple on the show.”

Ryan Moloney, who played Toadie Rebecchi on the show for 26 years, agreed it was “a little strange” not to be close to his co-stars. “We’re literally just down the hall from each other or around the corner, but we can’t see each other if we’re in a different area,” he wrote in an email. .

The show simply considered incorporating the pandemic into the narrative, which would have meant that it wouldn’t need to obscure the impacts of the virus. But “Neighbors” is written and filmed far enough in advance – episodes filmed now will begin in mid-June – that producers feared the story might be outdated by the time it aired.

Instead, they settled on common ground of simply asking the characters to wash and sanitize their hands more and exhibit other subtle behavioral changes, “almost as if the coronavirus is passing through. a nearby suburb, ”said Herbison, the executive producer.

In addition, he added, “people are looking to ‘neighbors’ for a getaway.”

Some fans, who have followed the personal growth, romance and losses of the characters for decades – including in Britain, where the series is hugely successful – breathed a collective sigh of relief when they found out that the production of the soap opera would continue, despite the pandemic.

“I’ve been watching it since I was about 10 years old,” said Samantha Folino, an avid fan who helps run a Facebook trivia and gossip page for the show.

“If they actually stopped filming and didn’t come back,” she said, “I would probably cry.”

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