MARCH 2000

It's march, the clocks are set to change and send us all into confusion as per usual, but at least the news is nearly on time this month. We've got the latest news from Ramsay Street as well as more Best of the 20th Century and an exclusive interview from Dan Paris, as requested for in our chat room by Micky, Steveb, Milly, Drewforever, Cracker and Cybergez.

Neighbours celebrates 15th Birthday

On March 18th Neighbours is 15 years old.

It all started in 1985 in a small Melbourne suburb called Erinsborough, where the middle-class lives of Ramsay Street's residents bought a whole new style of serial dramas to our screen. Now a decade and a half later, Neighbours mix of light hearted comedy and drama has made it not only one of Australia's longest running television programs but has also made it's way into over 50 countries worldwide.

This month, stars of the show - old and new, will be joining in the celebrations down in Melbourne as Neighbours not only celebrates 15 years but 3'500 episodes.

Another Kennedy Flys the Nest
The time has come - last year we broke the sad news that 3 Neighbours favorites are set to leave the show. Now the first of these - Bill Kennedy, is about to say his final farewell.

Of course, the actors who play Bill, Anne and Amy have been off the set for sometime now, but we're only just getting to see their final scenes now.

Bill leaves this month to become a carpenters apprentice and Amy and Anne are set to leave in the following weeks.

Amy's in the Club
As you will all know by reading the story above, Jacinta Stapleton who plays Erinsborough minx Amy Greenwood has now left the show so it won't be long until Amy is off our screens. In her recent storyline we've sees a tense time in the street for her and Lance - now it about to get a whole lot worse as Lance finds out about Amys pregnancy, oh yeah and there's the same matter of it being a result of her affair with Damien. It just doesn't get any better for Lance does it?

Grease Monkeys Reopens
Grease Monkeys opens its doors again this month under new management.
Despite a few hiccups on the way, Harold thinks it's all gone swimmingly, however Rob thinks otherwise.

More of this months highlights...
- As Michelle turns to black magic to woo Paul, Flic finds her secret stash of Paul's stuff and spell books.

- Lyn opens the new salon.
- Harold is blackmailed by Rob.
- Drew finds a photo of Darren in Libbys wallet.
- Tad receives a call from the AIS with news Of his biological parents.
- The land dispute between the Scullys and Kennedys continues.


We asked a few of the cast what they thought were the best things to come out of the last century and here's what they said...

Jansen Spencer
"Definitely the Ferrari."

Carla Bonner
"The Emjoi Gently - it's a hair removal gadget that you can buy in Australia - because you have no stubble for six weeks!"

Ryan Maloney "
Chinese takeaway - I don't know how civilisation lived without it."

Kate Keltie
"Communication and technology. It's great how easily you can contact and keep in touch with people even though they are on the other side of the world."

Daniel MacPherson
"TV - 'cos it keeps me in a job - and the motor car, of course."

Drew Kirk is one of the nicest guys in Ramsay Street, and the same can be said for Dan Paris, the actor who plays him. caught up with Dan during a break in filming, and here's what he had to say…

Neighbours.Com: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Dan Paris: I was born in Perth, Western Australia. I grew up in suburban Perth until I was seven, then we moved to Esperance, which is about 800 kilometres down the south coast. It was a really pretty place to grow up. I stayed there until I did Year Twelve, then I moved back to Perth.. I studied accounting for three years, then when I was about twenty, I got the travel bug and decided to head overseas. Finally, about three years ago, I settled in Melbourne with my partner Tanya.

Are you from a large family?
I'm one of five. I have two twin brothers - Ben and Tim - who are about fourteen. I have a sister, Rebecca, who is nineteen and another sister, Janine, who is twenty-three. So I'm the eldest. There's also my mum, of course. My dad passed away. Did you feel a lot of responsibility being the eldest? I suppose so. The oldest kid always gets stuck doing the baby-sitting and that kind of thing, but I didn't mind.

How often do you get back to Esperance nowadays?
I try to get back every Christmas, though I don't know if I will be able to next year. I think I'll be off doing panto or something crazy like that. But I'm close to my family, so I always try to see them as often as I can.

Do you remember what your first job was?
I used to teach swimming. I taught kids under five. I would have to clean the pool afterwards!

You excelled in sports when you were younger, is that right?
I did ok. In 1988, I was Junior Sportsperson of the Year in Western Australia, which was quite a big deal for me at the time.

Did you want to be a professional sportsperson?
I thought about being a professional swimmer, but there's so much training involved. The times those guys are doing these days are super-human, and I don't think I was up to it. You have to go hell for leather and hope that your lungs can keep up with you.

Why did you decide to study accounting?
Like a lot of people, I thought I needed to get a proper profession under my belt. I did work as an accountant when I was twenty, but I didn't enjoy it. I was stuck in an office and I needed something more adventurous. It's good to have, I suppose, but it's a fall-back that I hope I will never need to fall back on.

Do you remember how old you were when the acting bug bit?
Actually, it wasn't that long ago. It was after I got involved in modeling. It seemed like a natural progression. I asked my agency to start sending me to castings, then amazingly, I went for Neighbours and I got it. It was the first acting job I went for.

Do you remember what happened during your first day on set?
It was quite a challenge. I didn't know anything about anything. You think you can just walk in and say your lines, but it's not as easy as that. You have to stand where the boom microphone can hear you, and work with the lighting guys. You also have to get to know all the directors, who come and go all the time.

Were you confident, or did it overwhelm you?
A bit of both, really. I would say that the first year was quite stressful to me. I didn't relax the whole time! I had to concentrate and focus, which meant saying goodbye to my social life. But after the first year passed, the stress wasn't so bad. The workload has stayed as heavy, especially with Drew and Libby getting together, but it's easier. Now I can enjoy it a bit more.

You're in your third year now. How are you feeling?
I'm having a lot of fun. There's exciting things coming up, although I really can't talk about them. Lots of stuff coming up with Drew and Libby.

You work very closely with Kym Valentine, who plays Libby. Do you get along well?
Really well. We wouldn't have it any other way. That's probably the reason why the writers put us together in the first place, because we were able to work well together.

Many fans will be disappointed to learn that you are spoken for off screen. Tell us about your girlfriend, Tanya.
We've been together for three years now. We met on a cruise ship, and have been together ever since. Tanya is great. We understand each other really well and have a great relationship.

Where do you live, and what is it like?
We like in an apartment in inner city Melbourne. It's a great place… a bit like the apartment building on Melrose Place. We both like to be in the middle of the action.

Do you socialise with any of the other cast members?
Occasionally. You do tend to get invited to the same sorts of things, so we often see each other out and about. Tanya and I get along well with Kym and her boyfriend Chris, though we don't hang out all that much. We see so much of each other at work that we'd drive each other mad if we went out together on Saturday night. Kym and I probably see more of each other than I see of Tanya!

What other things do you get up to in your spare time?
Photography is one of my great passions. I love taking pictures - I could happily spend an entire day roaming around the city taking photographs. I used to concentrate mostly on landscapes, but now I'm also doing portraits. I find it really relaxing, and I'm also enjoying learning more about the technical side of things.

Are you more comfortable behind the camera than you are in front of it?
Probably. Although photography isn't as easy as it looks - it's a real art form.

How do you feel about fame and publicity?
I don't take it too seriously. Yeah, it's nice to get recognised, but you can't let it go to your head.

You were recently voted Sexiest Man in Soap (by Inside Soap - Australia). How do you feel about winning awards such as that?
It's a bit of a laugh, really. What can I say? I suppose it's better than being voted Unsexiest!

You and Kym were in the UK last October, as part of BBC's Neighbours Day. Did you enjoy the experience?
Yeah, we had a great time. We met a lot of people and appeared on a few different shows. We also went to the big TV awards night over there, which was a wild experience.

Did you notice a difference in the way the public react to you over there?
Most definitely. There's a real appreciation for the show over there, that you just don't get in Australia. In fact, when Kym and I came home we both talked about it and felt the same way. It was as if going to the UK made it all worthwhile, it made us realise that what we were doing was good. Over here, someone might stop you in the street occasionally and say something nice, but more often and not they will call out something stupid or give you a hard time. But in England, people will come up to you and say something genuinely nice. People didn't bother us, they just wanted to know how we are and what we were up to. They didn't embarrass us at all!

In Australia, it's the teenage characters who are the most popular. But in the UK, it seems to be older characters such as Drew and Libby. Why do you think this is?
It must be a demographic thing. Perhaps it's something to do with the media too. Over here, they went crazy over Jesse and Brooke, so I suppose that's what the target audience is. But yeah, it's good that the older, more mature characters get a look in in the UK. Not that I am terribly old or mature!

Do you have any ambition to work in the UK?
There's a possibility that I will be doing pantomime next year, but that's nothing new - everyone else does. But yeah, who knows what will happen. What about other ambitions.

How far do you want to take acting?
I don't know. After going to the UK and checking out all the shows they have there, maybe Drew and Libby could be shipped over to Coronation Street or something. Seriously, I'd like to tackle other roles. I don't know if that necessarily means moving overseas, as we have a lot of great productions in Australia. But who knows?

(If you would like to write to any of the Neighbours cast, please do so at:
Grundy Television Pty Ltd
70 Park Street
South Melbourne
VIC 3205

Unfortunately at the time of uploading this edition of the Erinsborough News, the message Forum is down. We're currently updating the system and it will be fully functional again soon. In the meantime, the chat room is up and running and is defiantly the place to hang out. I've been popping in recently and there seems to be a great gang of regulars so why not come in for a chat!

Channel guide has been updated to include details for Polish channel WIZJA and the Netherlands have been removed.

More of the usual News, Gossip and another cast interview to take you deeper into the lives of the people behind the characters.

Here's a quick peek into whats happening off screen...

Due to the recent heatwave that has struck Melbourne, the set has been forced to close down for a day when the summer temperatures reached a sizzling 42 degrees.

Five familiar faces popped into Erinsborough for a visit recently. Line dancing pop group STEPS called in to the Neighbours set while promoting their new album, which co-insidentley contains a remake of "Better the devil you know" an old classic by ex-neighbour Kylie Minogue (Charlene Mitchell)