Neighborhood legend Craig McLachlan upset as Ramsay Street faces ax after 37 years

Everyone needs good Neighbor – or at least they have for the past 37 years.

So for soap legend Craig McLachlan – Henry Ramsay loved dungaree and was a star from day one – there was an atmosphere of skepticism when an industry friend told him the show was being hit. mutilation.

Talk to Sunday people and even sang the Neighbors theme song on the phone, Craig said: “I texted back and said, ‘Are you sure?’

“These rumors have been circulating for years. I feel a lot of emotion about it – for being lucky enough to be part of the show’s golden era.

“It was really a magical time for all of us, this little show that we all love has become very popular.”

Craig as Henry with young Kylie as Charlene

Craig, 56, harks back to the days when Princess Diana was a fan – and a fascinating conversation with royal viewer, the late Queen Mother.

He and his screen sister Charlene – Kylie Minogue – met Queen Mum after appearing at the Royal Variety Performance in the late 1980s.

Craig is speaking from the home he shares with longtime partner Vanessa Scammell – a pianist and conductor – in Victoria, Australia.

He said of the royal: “She had a lot of questions. She asked, ‘Why does Henry call his car Bertha?’ I do not know. I had to think on my feet.

“She said, ‘It wasn’t a disaster when Henry glued all the plaster to Madge’s rug!’

“She thought it was riot! Then she said, ‘When Henry gets pushed in the pool, is it really you, or the stunt Henry?’ ‘Henry stunt?’ I laugh. “That’s me, ma’am!” “

Ian Smith as Harold Bishop with Craig


Mike Daines / REX / Shutterstock)

Neighborhood was the breakthrough that took Craig from his 21-year-old plumber mate to global celebrity.

In 1990, he won the Golden Logie Award for Favorite Character on Australian Television – the first of many.

He jumped ship to appear in rival soap Home And Away — and the pop star beckoned in the 1990s, too, with hits like Mona.

But his three years with Neighborhood have made him a household name.

He and Kylie are the children of Madge Bishop played by Anne Charleston and the stepdaughter of Madge Harold – actor Ian Smith. Craig was positively shaken when Channel 5 announced that they would not be renewing their contract with the show’s producers, Fremantle Australia.

After its debut in 1985 – first appearing on BBC1 a year later – the soap became a fixture for workers on lunch breaks and children racing home from school.

Around 19.6 million British viewers watched episode 523 in November 1988, when Charlene – given away by Henry – married Scott Robinson, played by Craig’s friend Jason Donovan. Craig chuckles: “I remember being possibly the greatest mullet in Australian television history.

“There were a lot of rumors that I tried. But that’s God’s business – it’s all me. My jacket has shoulder pads so huge that a military plane can land on it.”

The Queen Mother meets Kylie Minogue



Even the memory of his audition for the role of Neighbors – after a few brief episodes on TV, most notably in Sons And Daurors – still makes Craig smile.

He explained: “I told my agent that I had never even heard of Neighborhood.

“She said, ‘Are you kidding me? It’s just the most popular soap! You don’t even know Kylie and Jason? ‘ I told her I didn’t even have time to watch the show because I was working double shifts at a bar to pay for gigs in a band. The next day, she dropped a letter under my door explaining all the characters. Who are the Robinsons, The Mitchells, busy people Nell Mangel.

“I went to the producers thinking, ‘This is going to be a disaster!’ I thought, ‘I’m just going to flirt but I’m not going to hit this part in a million years’. “

Chris shows off his body on the beach


Brendan Beirne / REX / Shutterstock)

Three days later, he played Madge’s rogue son.

Craig said: “I can tell you Kylie is everything you would expect from a real big sister. We were filming on location in cul-de-sac, which is Pin Oak Court, and we started right away.

“By the time we got to the set, I felt very secure with my TV sister. Kylie and Jason took me to dinner at a local cheap eatery after filming. We were walking from the Pin Oak Courthouse to the costume bus and the wardrobe when some local kids spotted them and frantically asked for autographs. Kylie turned to me and said, “Calm down, Craigy, they’re going to love you and you’ll work this out in a couple of weeks.”

Sure enough, six weeks later, he was thronged by fans on his way to buy guitar strings in Melbourne.

“I remember telling some girls to stop crying,” he laughs. “I never received those ropes. We will receive a fax from our publicity department to say that Neighborhood has hit the 15 million UK viewer mark. To think we’ve grown up on a diet of everything from Dad’s Army to Corrie and suddenly our little show is underrated by some of the great British shows is unbelievable.

Ramsay’s family


Fremantle Media / REX / Shutterstock)

“I went from unlocking the sink, toilet, and grease trap in Kentucky Fried Chicken, where I showered and danced on my little station wagon to perform gigs with my guitar, to going on set with Kylie.

“In the span of six weeks, I went from being emotionless to being on the covers of magazines. Is crazy “.

One fan was flooded with gifts for Craig but had to hold his face as he politely wrote her mother that there was no need to splurge on him.

After a few months, she sent Craig a damn birthday cake – then threw an egg in public.

In 1990, he began playing teacher Grant Mitchell on Home And Away – working alongside Dannii, Kylie’s older sister. “But I always liked Neighborhood,” he chuckles, singing along to the theme tunes on the phone. Craig went on to star in numerous hit shows in the UK and Australia, as well as perform in the West End.

His love life has some ups and downs. At the age of 21, he married his high school sweetheart Karen Williams, but the marriage did not last.

He was also briefly married to Neighborhood actress Rachel Friend.

He later had a relationship with British actress Charlotte Avery and they had a son Jacob, before they broke up. He has been with current partner Vanessa since 2009. She stood by Craig when he was accused by former members of sexual assault three years ago during the Rocky Horror Show tour.

He is presumed not guilty. But it was a tumultuous time.

Craig McLachlan with partner Vanessa Scammell


AAP/PA Image)

“The hard part is when you’re drawn as a monster and you don’t look like it,” says Craig. That has a profound effect on your mental health.”

But send him back to Neighbors, and the joy in his voice quickly returned. Can another network save it?

He said: “Part of me thinks let it go while it holds a special place in so many people’s hearts.

“But if someone wants to get on board and reinvent it with a very powerful 50-thing Craig back in the dungeon, why not?”

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Fry Electronics Team

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