Neighbours: Karl Kennedy star Alan Fletcher on the final farewell, a possible spin-off from the UK soap opera tour and the contents of Karl and Susan’s sex box | Ents & Arts News

It was the go-to teatime for generations, the home of Kylie Minogue and Margot Robbie before they became mega stars, the street that gave us Harold Bishop’s return from the dead and the Bouncer’s dream, and where good neighbors became good friends.

While the soap opera moved from the BBC to Channel 5 and lost UK viewers over the years, for those growing up in the 80s and 90s it was still more than just a TV show.

Paul’s affair with his wife’s twin sister – surprised by the baby monitor! – and Todd killed while on his way to save Phoebe from having an abortion, tornado and plane crash in recent years, Neighbors brought typical soap opera melodrama, tragedy and sexy affairs, but as a sunnier, more glamorous Australian cousin to its British counterparts.

'Neighbours' TV Soap Early Cast Picture starring Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue.  1987. Photo: Fremantle Media/Shutterstock
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How many former Ramsay Street residents can you name? Photo: Fremantle Media/Shutterstock

While the silver screen and polished dramas are critically acclaimed, the vast majority will never see the love that soap operas create with their audiences. The characters are a constant in our lives, the (mostly) friendly faces who invite us into their ups and downs and offer hot topics for the playground and, let’s be honest, catch-ups in the office.

And none more than Dr. Karl Kennedy, played by Alan Fletcher. After 28 years in Erinsborough, he and his on-screen wife Susan (played by Jackie Woodburne) are officially the oldest residents of Ramsay Street.

Despite the adventures of Dr. Karl – who can forget Susan’s slap? – and illegitimate child and questionable recent investment, he and Susan remain together and he is arguably Neighbors most beloved star. Not only loved on screen, he’s also built a fanbase as a musician – first with his band Waiting Room and now as he prepares to release his first solo album.

As we prepare for the end (sob), who better to talk to to say goodbye to Ramsay Street?

“We’ll finish shooting the final scenes on June 10,” says Fletcher (you have to remember to call him that, the urge to write Dr. Karl is strong). “I’m on hiatus with Neighbors now until mid-May, so I’m going to go back and do the last four weeks of the show, which promise to be – that’s a big statement – possibly the best Neighbors episodes ever made, because we have a lot of returning guests.

“It’s going to be a shooting hurricane and I think the fans are going to love it. »

So far, Harold Bishop (played by Ian Smith) has been confirmed to return, he says, and there are plenty more. Can we expect Kylie and Jason to bring back Scott and Charlene, maybe Margot Robbie or even Russell Crowe too? And can Fletcher reveal anything how will it end? Surely all this can’t have been a dream, Dallas-style? Or could it end with a T-Rex attack, like Byker Grove? (Yes really).

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The final episode of Neighbors airs this summer. Could a return of Scott and Charlene be on the horizon?

“Well, I would love to [give a spoiler], if I knew,” Fletcher says. “Here’s the thing… I can’t tell you something I don’t know. The ink is still drying on this last episode, they waited to write it as long as possible because they didn’t know who was coming back… and now they keep it so well guarded.

“It’s so top secret, I don’t know when I’ll find out. I guess… three weeks before that happens and my script lands in my inbox. So I could be sneaky and call you then. (Obviously Sky News is keen on that).

“I guess whatever that last scene is, everyone will show up and fill the studio,” he says. “It’s happened before when the actors left the show, where they’re shooting their last scene and there might just be two people on set, you know, discussing their love, and there’s has 150 people in the studio, in the dark. , waiting for the scene to end.

“It will be extraordinary, I know it will be. It will be so moving. I think a lot of people won’t know what to say. They won’t know what to do. It’ll be like, what do we do now? »

Karl and Susan are moving to the UK?

Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne aka Dr Karl and Susan Kennedy of Neighbours.  Photo: FremantleMedia LTD
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Karl and Susan are the oldest residents of Ramsay Street. Photo: FremantleMedia LTD

As such popular characters, has he ever considered presenting a Karl and Susan spin-off? “What would be fun would be for Karl and Susan to travel around the UK and accidentally show up on every British soap opera as tourists,” he suggests.

“We could be at EastEnders and go for a pint in the pub and I could go to the doctors’ set and be asked to help save a life on the streets. We would have a good old time. To Corrie then go to Emmerdale. Awesome.

What if he could keep memories of Neighbors? “There is one memory that will be absolutely crucial to get your hands on,” he says. “It’s the portrait of the three Kennedy children painted by Helen Daniels sitting above our fireplace. He’s been there for literally 27 years. He’s a cracker.

“There’s also a picture of me in the 70s, when I had a mustache and kind of shoulder-length hair, which was actually from a play, which is mine. So the first thing I’m going to do on the Last Day of Filming is rush in and grab what’s mine.

“But I don’t know if there will be an opportunity to sneakily try and pinch anything because I think it will be stored as historical. Basically it’s history, it’ll all fit in a museum I think. »

“I’m not looking for pop stardom”

Alan Fletcher (aka Dr. Karl Kennedy of Neighbours) releases his first solo album Dispatches
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Fletcher will release his first solo album Dispatches later in 2022. Photo: Courtesy of Alan Fletcher

After Neighbours, Fletcher acknowledges that acting could get “a bit tricky, because of course everyone associates me with Dr Karl.” For now, he has decided to focus on music.

After playing with rock band Waiting Room since 2004 – releasing two albums and touring the UK 10 times in eight years, as well as a weekly residency in Melbourne for 12 years – he began to realize his passion for music. Americana and folk music in 2020.

The resulting album, Dispatches, is due out later this year, featuring the lead single – Sorry Is The Word, a duet with former Neighbors star Alyce Platt (Jen Handley and later Olivia Bell; the characters is allowed in the soap) – released earlier in April.

“I’m very keen to work hard on music and can’t wait to get a little break so I can write music and record it,” Fletcher said. “At the moment, I have 10 songs, but you know what? It’s very likely that I’ll write another one that I like better and some stuff will end up falling out. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to the future. »

He later adds, “I’m not looking for any sort of pop stardom or anything. I just try to play my music as honestly as possible, and I don’t care if there are 10 people watching. »

Inspired by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton and Keith Urban, Fletcher says his solo shows will be very different from his appearances with Waiting Room in the 2000s – which often took place at college parties. as the students came to see Dr. Karl on stage.

“It was party time,” he said. “There’s a lot of jumping around being silly, but this music is a bit more subdued. And when I play in the UK I’ll be playing in a trio, so it’ll be more about the words and more about what I sing than the antics. »

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‘Dr Karl’ sent this lockdown message to Sky News readers in 2020

What’s in the blue box?

Fletcher also has his ‘evening with’ show, The Doctor Will See You Now, which, after COVID cancellations, is finally set to tour the UK in September. And of all the questions people want to ask about Dr. Karl, it’s the question about his sex life that comes up the most.

“Everyone wants to know what’s in Karl and Susan’s blue box that they keep under their bed, because it’s their marital aid,” he laughs. “It basically implies that it forms a pretty big part of their love life – but nobody knows what’s in it. »

Like the Neighbors ending, Fletcher is also keeping a low profile on this one. You’ll have to tune in at the end to see if a blue box reveal is part of the final hurray. Unlikely, perhaps – but stranger things have happened in soap.

Read more:
“No kisses, just long and loving looks”: social distancing in the land of soap
Kylie Minogue pays tribute as soap is removed after 37 years

The final episode of Neighbors is set to air in August. Alan Fletcher’s duet Sorry Is The Word is out now, with album Dispatches to follow later in 2022

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