If you’d do it for Eurovision, then my god man, do it for Ramsay Street. On Friday the 29th of July (Thursday the 28th in Australia), open your home and your heart and pour one out for the Erinsborough crew. Because these people deserve a send-off. For 37 years, they’ve been trapped in a washing machine cycle set to stress (intense soil). Kidnappings, drownings, deadly rivalries, adultery, murder, Karl Kennedy… They’ve each had to stand in line and take their turn burning down the Lassiters Complex, getting amnesia and marrying Paul Robinson, and why?
For us, that’s why, to beam some bright Australian sunshine into our grey, grey lives. Throwing them a farewell party is the least we can do in return. But how to go about it? What snacks to prepare, or decorations to rustle up? What’s the playlist and the dress code? Don’t – as young Jarrod ‘Toadfish’ Rebecchi might say – sweat it. We’ve got you, cobber.
When and How to Watch in the UK
You’ll remember from childhood that all the best parties start at 1.30pm (preferably on the toadstool seats at a branch of McDonald’s). The party hearty will want to begin then, for the traditional ‘off sick/school summer holiday’ Neighbours time slot. At 1.45pm on Channel 5 in the UK, settle in for the penultimate ever episode in which “Karl and Susan prepare to face off against Izzy; Toadie and Melanie’s wedding plans progress even as questions remain unanswered; a new arrival ruins Clive’s grand gesture to Jane.” That official Channel 5 synopsis may be coy about the identity of “the new arrival” but Channel 5 are being less coy in the accompanying image of Mike Young. The new arrival is Mike Young.
Then, thanks to streaming, you’ll be able to re-watch that episode as many times as you can fit in before the second official showing at 6pm (a total of eight viewings by our calculations, by which point you’ll really be in the Neighbours spirit/in need of help.) Stick around for Eggheads at 6.30pm, leaving you a full two hours to throw what’s known as “a rager” before the hour-long finale starts at 9pm.
And if this is your first visit to Erinsborough in some time, please catch up on the current plots here. In a nutshell: there’s somebody called Paige now and Paul Robinson only has one leg.
Fancy Dress Costumes
Yes, you could stick furry ears on a headband, paint your nose black and call yourself Bouncer, or get a pair of denim overalls, a curly wig and a jar of Swarfega and say you’re Charlene, or, you could make an actual effort, as below.
- Evil Harold You’ll need: a checked shirt, sensible slacks, burgundy cardigan, a length of rope and an air of nihilistic resignation. (Would make a great couple’s costume with Strangled Paul Robinson, which is the same as normal Paul Robinson but quieter/more purple.)
- Harold’s amnesiac alter-ego ‘Ted’ You’ll need: a Salvation Army uniform and the dazed good humour of a Christian who doesn’t understand why he gets aroused at the sound of cawing crows. Also try: Afro Harold, or in fact, absolutely don’t.
- The Bowl of Fruit that Witnessed Jim Robinson’s Dying Breath You’ll need: satsumas, Sellotape.
- Mrs Mangel You’ll need: a blouse, a string of pearls, a golden Labrador, a viciously judgmental streak and the hair of Kramer from Seinfeld.
- Karl Kennedy You’ll Need: a stethoscope, a receptionist and a cold shower.
- The Duck Kerry Bishop Died Protecting You’ll need: a beak, two wings, feathers and a stab of guilt for the pain you’ve occasioned in this world.
- The Drain that Lucy Robinson Fell Down and then Went Blind You’ll need: bricks, the dark.
Drinks & Snacks
Provide your guests with a selection of Robinsons (obviously) Fruit Shoots, and smoothies in recognition of their inventor, the second Brad Willis. Your signature cocktail menu is as follows:
- The Susan Kennedy. Ingredients: one part milk such as Susan slipped on in 2002 giving her retrograde amnesia that made her temporarily believe she was 16 years old, two parts vodka (she is a teacher).
- The Perfect Blend. Ingredients: a shot of everything on your booze shelf, a little understanding, ice.
- The Helen Daniels. Ingredients: Two parts Jack Daniels to one part Jack Daniels. A spritz of Yardley Morning Dew.
- I Love You Too, Clarkey. Ingredients: tears.
Food-wise, resist the temptation to ‘stick another snag on the barbie’ unless said snag is filled only with mushroom protein and sawdust, in respect for Harold Bishop’s animal-protecting vegetarianism.
You’ll want traditional Aussie fare: lamingtons, lollies meaning sweets, a fruit pavlova, vegemite sangers, and a towering Great British Bake-Off-style showstopper centrepiece representing Harold himself. Sponge-cake head, chocolate buttons for eyes, a – what else – jelly belly, and two arctic rolls for legs. Consider also making his nemesis/best frenemy Lou Carpenter out of Rice Crispies and melted marshmallows, with glinting liquorice wheels for his lustful eyes.
You’ll already have thought of using the work printer to make strings of bunting from the faces of your favourite Neighbours, but for an artier option, why not cut out only their most prominent facial feature (for instance, one of Des Clarke’s ears, Lou Carpenter’s crocodile smile, Henry Ramsay’s curly mullet, or Dorothy Burke’s straw hat) and get your guests to identify the owner for a fun prize.
Ideally, you’d be hosting your finale party in a swimming pool with a swim-up bar but if that’s not an option, put some plastic down Dexter-style on your living room floor, stuff up any gaps under the door with bin bags and run a hose in through the window for instant pool party vibes.
You have two options, one: step outside Erinsborough and into the real world, giving you access to any and all hits by Kylie, Jason Donovan, Stefan Dennis, Natalie Imbruglia, Holly Valance, Craig McLachlan and the many Neighbours-born artists of their ilk.
Your second option, the connoisseur’s choice, is to remain in-world and create a playlist purely of Harold and foster son Paul’s avant-garde bass and brass collaboration Tuba Electrica, plus the back catalogue of Karl Kennedy and Ned Parker’s Oodles O’Noodles, and young Toadie’s favourite moral panic-causing rockers Battery Acid.
Pin the tail on Madge Bishop. Musical chairs (use the theme song for the love of god). Ruth or Dare, in which your guests must either answer a trivia question about little-remembered 1996-1999 character Ruth Wilkinson (she married Phil Martin), or perform a Neighbours-related dare of your choosing. And obviously, an egg and spoon race, in which all the eggs are hand-painted with the face of your favourite character (Harold, make them all Harold.)
Follow these instructions to the letter and you’ll have the most grouse, least daggy Neighbours farewell party on the street.