Neighbours is returning with April Rose Pengilly and Jodi Gordon reprising their roles of Chloe and Elly in an extended guest role.
“It’s still so strange,” April told 10 Play, “I kind of don’t think I’ll believe it until I’m there… we’ve all been grieving all this time and I still can’t believe it’s back!
“I’m just so happy for all the fans,” she continued, “being on the tour I went on and seeing how much it meant to all of them and how devastated they were when it ended, I’m just so happy that they’re getting their show back.”
“I love Neighbours,” Jodi added, “it’s been a huge part of my life and I’m really looking forward to going back… it’ll be nice just to see everyone, get on set and see what they’ve got in store for Elly and Chloe.”
It’s been an emotional ride for the cast, crew and fans of Neighbours who had to farewell the show with the special finale last year, only to find out the news that the show had been saved and would be returning to screens once again.
“We have a cast WhatsApp and someone wrote in there [that] they had heard from a friend involved in the show there was some announcement coming,” April said. Assuming the news was that old episodes would be hitting a streaming service, the cast didn’t think much of it.
“And then the next minute the post drops with Jackie, Fletch and everyone and we realised that the whole time in the group chat, those four had been suspiciously silent,” she added, laughing.
It has certainly been an emotional roller coaster for the cast who not only said farewell to each other, but to characters they had played for several years.
“It was really heartbreaking,” April admitted. “I never got that, when actors talked about how sad it is to leave a character behind… being with a character for that long, it is really heartbreaking saying goodbye.”
“I feel like I’ve had two farewells from Neighbours,” Jodi added. “The first one when I left the show… and then to come back and do the final episode and be part of that was so special to me.
“Also seeing our two characters come back together and reunite was exciting. Then, obviously, heartbreaking that the show was ending… it’s been very emotional saying two goodbyes and it’s always exiting and thrilling to get that phone call saying, ‘Hey, will you come back on the show?’”
Both Jodi and April had hoped that, during the finale, their characters would reunite, but now the big question is what’s next for Chloe and Elly?
“I was really grateful that we got a happy ending and I was like okay, she’s safe. Chloe’s okay. She didn’t die at the end or anything,” April said, laughing.
“She got her little happy ending with a bow on it, and now it’s blown wide open again!”
“I guess now it’s about what does the future hold, what does their relationship look like?” Jodi agreed. “Elly had quite a colourful batch of storylines, there was no stone left unturned, but it’s a whole different kind of ball game when I get to explore this relationship and work with April, who I absolutely love.”
“Honestly, I haven’t read the script yet,” April added. “I’m not lying to you, I legitimately don’t even know, I’m nervous about it! I’m really scared they might break us up or something. I hope that’s not the case.
“I hope we’re still happily together and I kind of hope we’re not married or anything yet and that we can have a wedding on the show! That would be my dream, but who knows? Can’t ask for too much… we got our happy ending, so maybe that’s enough.”
“I feel like I’m cheering for the Chelly fans,” Jodi said. “I can’t wait, they’re going to be so happy! I’m glad we’ll get to play it out properly.
“With that last episode I feel like it brought up so many emotions for people I know, professionally and personally, about what this show actually means to them,” she continued.
“I feel like there’s a genuine excitement from a lot of people about seeing this show come back on screens and where they’re going to be able to take it. I had so many people reach out to me and tell me their Neighbours’ stories. It’s really special, the opportunity to keep it going.”
April agreed adding that, for a lot of the cast, they were most happy for the fans themselves.
“You don’t realise, working away long hours, how much of an impact the show is having on people. But with the UK tour I just did we did hours of meet and greets every day, and just met all these people for whom the show means so much.
“I really hope they enjoy the new series… they’re the reason that the show has lasted so long and they are such a passionate fanbase and they appreciate so much.”
“It’s the mixture of exciting new characters, loved characters that have been there for a long time, and then you’ve got the fundamental characters that make the show what it is,” Jodi added. “Collectively, that’s just going to bring a whole new energy to Ramsay Street.”
Neighbours will continue to be broadcast in Australia on Network 10, its home for over three decades, later this year. UK and U.S. audiences can view the series on Amazon Freevee plus Prime Video in Australia and New Zealand seven days following free to air viewing on Network 10.