Arriving on Ramsay Street in 1994, the Kennedy family soon became synonymous with Neighbours. Susan (Jackie Woodburne) and her husband Karl (Alan Fletcher) have become fixtures in Erinsborough, and Alan remembers the very first day they moved in.
“I was standing next to Jesse Spencer in Ramsay Street and, I think it was the scene where Karl Kennedy bids on 28 Ramsay Street… Jesse was delightful,” Alan reminisced. “He was about 14, I think… he was so relaxed, so comfortable. He put me at ease, the rest of the cast put me at ease so I got through that pretty quickly.
“My real nerves came when I had to be in the studio because, when you’re shooting on location it’s like a film, there’s plenty of gaps between things, but when you move into the studio the pressure’s much more intense. I remember doing a scene with Eliza Szonert and feeling terribly, terribly nervous.”
When the news broke that Neighbours would be ending its tenure as Australia’s longest-running TV drama, there was a global outpouring of love from fans.
“It was obviously wonderful in the sense that it just reinforced what we’ve always known,” Alan said, “that Neighbours is a very special show that is loved so much by people.”
Having “always been on a one-year contract” Alan admitted that he’s always been emotionally prepared for his time on Neighbours to end, but to see the whole show to end was “just a completely different level”.
“It’s a bit of a mixed batch of feelings. But look, I think that the way we're going to finish this show is going to be so good,” he continued. “It's going to be so special that hopefully people will embrace that and keep watching us right to the end.”
Having worked alongside Jackie for several years as the dynamic Kennedy duo, Alan said there have been some hilarious moments the two have shared over the years, revealing that they both “love a little bit of a fart joke”.
“If someone accidentally farts on set, it's the funniest thing in the world to us. There was a particular moment, it's quite disgusting, where I was standing outside the door of the Kennedy house holding a pig, which wasn't uncommon,” Alan said.
“As soon as the director said action, the pig relieved itself. And I can tell you, it was beyond disgusting! Every actor ran in every different direction, except for me, who had to stand stock-still with this poor, poor animal in my arms. We continue to just cry with laughter at that, even now.”
As for souvenirs, Alan said the first thing he plans to take — or take back — is a photo he “lent” to the show.
“A photo taken in 1978 of myself with a moustache and slightly long hair in a safari suit from a play. I’ve got to rush straight over and grab that because a number of people have warned me they’re going to try and get it before me.
“And while I’m there I might just try, if I can slip it under my coat, the portrait that Helen Daniels painted of the Kennedy children!”
Neighbours Finale Week kicks off on 10 and 10 Peach from Monday, July 25. Find out all the details as Australia's longest-running drama comes to a historic end here