Neighbours: The Perfect Blend | Where Are They Now? (2023)

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Neighbours: The Perfect Blend | Where Are They Now? (1)

Features > Where Are They Now? by Ryan

In 1985, TV viewers were invited to ‘become good friends’ with twelve people in a suburban Melbourne cul-de-sac. 20 years after that first episode was aired in the UK, only one of those people, Paul Robinson, remains – but what happened to the others, and the actors who played them? Find out here…

Neighbours: The Perfect Blend | Where Are They Now? (2)

JIM ROBINSON (Alan Dale)
A widowed dad of four, Jim was the caring, sharing face of Ramsay Street, liked and respected by all. As well as his kids, the likes of Nick Page and Todd and Katie Landers would find a father figure in this kindly man. His love life was famously chequered, and the only women who really mattered to him were daughters Julie and Lucy, and mother-in-law Helen. Although he would eventually marry Beverley Marshall in 1988, it lasted less than three years.
What Happened Next...
After eight years as Ramsay Street’s Mr Dad, Jim died of a heart attack in 1993. Actor Alan Dale told TV Quick in 1994 ‘I didn’t want to be the only character left in Ramsay Street with a long grey beard’. While many thought Dale would find himself typecast, they were proved spectacularly wrong, as he forged a successful career in the US. His most famous roles include Caleb in the teen drama The O.C. and vice president Jim Prescott in 24. He is currently filming the horror movie I Remember, and will appear alongside Extras star Ashley Jensen in the sitcom Ugly Betty.

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HELEN DANIELS (Anne Haddy)
Famously created to show ‘not all mother-in-laws are battleaxes’, Helen bravely dedicated her middle years to raising her late daughter Anne’s children. A great friend to her peers and a kind ear for teenagers on Ramsay Street, Helen became TV’s most famous gran. She also proved life could begin at sixty – she ran her own limo hire firm as well as being a prolific artist, and found love again with Michael Daniels and Reuben White.
What Happened Next...
Having lost her beloved son-in-law Jim and granddaughter Julie, Helen’s health began to fail, and she passed away peacefully in her sleep in 1997. Off-screen, actress Anne Haddy was hugely dedicated to the role of Helen and Neighbours itself, famously claiming ‘I’ll leave when I die’. Sadly, Anne’s health began to deteriorate rapidly in the nineties, and this became a very real possibility. After reluctantly leaving the show, Anne retired, and passed away on 6th June 1999.

MAX RAMSAY (Francis Bell)
Loud, brash and opinionated, Max ruled his family with a rod of iron – not to mention ‘his street’. His determination to turn eldest son Shane into an Olympic athlete almost drove them apart, and his harshness on younger son Danny was the source of much friction. However, Max’s softer side was revealed when he was faced with wife Maria’s revelation that Danny wasn’t his son at all. The Ramsays subsequently split, although they were later reunited in Brisbane.
What Happened Next...
After disagreements with the producers of Neighbours, Francis Bell abruptly walked off set, and Max was hastily written out, with his brother Tom taking his place in the show. According to Wikipedia, the official line is that Bell went on sick leave, and his contract expired whilst he was away. Whatever the circumstances, relations had repaired sufficiently for him to attend the show’s televised 1000th episode celebrations in 1989. After Neighbours, Bell worked steadily in TV and as a cartoon voice artist, as well as appearing alongside his on-screen nephew Craig McLachlan in the film Absent Without Leave. The Australian acting industry was shocked by his suicide in May 1994.

MARIA RAMSAY (Dasha Blahova)
Softly spoken, sensitive Maria seemed the polar opposite of her forthright husband Max, and often found herself in the role of mediator between him and their sons. However, Maria was hiding a secret; younger son Danny was in fact the result of an affair she’d had years before. The truth caused a split with Max, and Maria moved to Hong Kong with a new man – although she would later return to Australia (off-screen) and ask Max for a second chance.
What Happened Next...
Maria holds a special place in Neighbours history as the first major character to leave, departing in episode 130. Although the character was Italian, actress Dasha Blahova is actually Czech, and speaks six languages (ironically Italian is not amongst them!) This skill has led to roles in several European films since Neighbours. Dasha has also taught at Prague’s National Film and Television Faculty since 1999, and in 2004 appeared in the Hollywood film The Prince and the Freshman alongside Miranda Richardson and Julia Styles.

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PAUL ROBINSON (Stefan Dennis)
Impulsive and fun-loving, the eldest Robinson son shocked his father by ditching engineering to become an air steward, and shocked the street when he proposed to Terri Inglis after one date. In one of the show’s most controversial storylines, former criminal Terri shot her husband, and Paul morphed into a hard-nosed businessman, picking up a further two wives and five children along the way. After a stint in Hawaii, Paul eventually fled to Brazil on the run in 1993 after one too many dodgy deals.
What Happened Next...
After an ill-fated attempt at a pop career, including the legendary Top 20 hit Don’t It Make You Feel Good in 1989, Stefan left Neighbours in 1992, making two guest appearances over the next year. After relocating to the UK, he appeared in the TV series Dream Team and Scottish soap River City, as well as starring alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt in the film The Truth About Love. In 2004 Stefan thrilled fans by returning to Ramsay Street, where he’ll be staying until at least 2008.

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JULIE ROBINSON (Vikki Blanche)
Never one to miss out on sticking her nose in other people’s business, Julie inadvertently caused best friend Lorraine to jilt Des Clarke, fought with future sister-in-law Terri, and did all she could to end her father’s relationship with Anna Rossi. However, the boot was on the other foot for judgemental Julie when she found herself in love with a married man, Phillip Martin. Although she initially broke things off, Julie later married Phillip after his alcoholic wife died in a car crash.
What Happened Next...
After seven years in the country with Phillip, Julie returned in 1992 along with her stepchildren and daughter Hannah. However, Vikki did not return, with Julie Mullins taking over the role. Back in 1985, Vikki hit the headlines due to her off-screen romance with David Clencie, who played Danny Ramsay, and was the second regular to leave the show. She went on to appear in The Flying Doctors, but TV work has been scarce in recent years and she has since become a director.

SHANE RAMSAY (Peter O'Brien)
Down to earth, athletic Shane dreamed of being an Olympic diver – or perhaps more accurately, his father did. But Shane’s chances were wrecked when he and brother Danny were involved in a car crash. Despite his popularity with women, Shane lost out in love too, when his fiancée Daphne revealed it was Des Clarke she really loved.
What Happened Next...
Shane became the last original Ramsay to leave the street in 1987, famously ‘moving out for a few days’ and never returning. But while Shane disappeared, Peter O’Brien has barely been off UK or Australian TV screens. His post-Neighbours credits include The Flying Doctors, Cardiac Arrest, The All New Alexei Sayle Show, Queer as Folk and The Knock. His on-screen romance with Elaine Smith (Daphne) famously spilled over into real life, but the couple split in 1988.

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DES CLARKE (Paul Keane)
Loveable (if slightly dopey) assistant bank manager Des seemed doomed to be a loser in love. Julie Robinson had dumped him before the show even began, Lorraine Kingham jilted him on the day of their wedding, and when he fell for lodger Daphne Lawrence, she was already dating Shane Ramsay. However, Des did eventually get his girl when Daphne realised he was the one, and their 1986 wedding delighted viewers.
What Happened Next...
Des became a proud dad in 1987, but the following year his happiness was shattered when Daphne was killed in a car crash. Des later moved to Perth, where he remarried. Sadly, actor Paul Keane’s exit wasn’t a happy one. Struggling with the pressures of fame, Keane had developed a drug problem, which he would go on to battle for ten years. When Des’s son Jamie returned to Neighbours in 2003, fans hoped Des would follow, but it wasn’t to be. Paul Keane has now given up acting, and was last heard of working as a barman.

DAPHNE CLARKE (Elaine Smith)
Spiky-haired stripper Daphne performed at Des Clarke’s stag party, but ended up moving in with him when he was jilted. Her profession divided the street, but Daphne soon became popular in Erinsborough, particularly with Des and Shane Ramsay. After failed engagements with both men, Daphne finally married Des in 1986, becoming a mum the following year, and giving up stripping to run the coffee shop.
What Happened Next...
Daphne went to look after her sick father in 1987, and Elaine Smith officially left the show, claiming Daphne had ‘done it all’. However, both Elaine and the show’s producers knew viewers would never accept a split between Des and Daph, and she returned for a final storyline. A car crash left Daphne in a coma (allegedly a delaying tactic while Grundy tried to persuade Smith to sign a new contract), and she eventually became the first regular character to die. Off-screen, Elaine Smith was still big news thanks to her romance with Peter O’Brien (Shane), although the pair split soon after she left Neighbours. She has since appeared in The Flying Doctors, State Coroner and All Saints, and most recently an episode of Home and Away.

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SCOTT ROBINSON (Darius Perkins)
The youngest son of the Robinson family, Scott often found himself embroiled in problems involving his best friend, Danny Ramsay. The pair ran away and found themselves working on a farm after Danny was wrongly accused of mugging alcoholic neighbour Carol Brown and later got into a love triangle with Wendy Gibson.
What Happened Next...
Due to concerns over the reliability of Darius Perkins, Network 10 decided to recast the role of Scott when they took over production of Neighbours. Jason Donovan became hugely popular as Scott Mark 2, and while his romance with Charlene gripped the world, creating two international stars in the process, Darius was all but forgotten – until 1988, when former Neighbours producer John Holmed screen tested him for the role of Frank Morgan in new soap Home and Away. Darius lost out to Alex Papps, but later won the role of Gary Samuels. Speaking of his time as Scott in Home and Away: Behind the Scenes, Perkins admitted ‘I blew it – simple as that. I was too young and inexperienced to handle it’. However, Home and Away wasn’t the start of a career renaissance; Gary Samuels was killed off within a few weeks, and Darius never won another major TV role. IMDB lists his last credit as A Country Practice in 1994.

DANNY RAMSAY (David Clencie)
Danny’s prophetic dream was the opening scene of Neighbours, earning him a lasting place in the memories of fans. Cocky on the surface, Danny was more sensitive deep down, and plagued by fears his dad Max was disappointed in him. However, there was a shock in store when Danny discovered he wasn’t Max’s son at all – something Max had suspected for some time, and the source of much of the tension between them.
What Happened Next...
Against the odds, Danny’s relationship with Max actually improved once the truth came out, and he continued to live with him and Shane, and later his Aunt Madge and Uncle Tom, before taking a transfer with employers Pacific Bank. Off-screen David Clencie, who famously romanced Vikki Blanche (Julie Robinson), disappeared from the limelight for many years, but returned to TV screens in the early 21st Century in shows such as Blue Heelers, MDA and Stingers. In 2005, David was the only original cast member to return for the 20th Anniversary documentary.

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LUCY ROBINSON (Kylie Flinker)
Sweet little Lucy was the baby of the Robinson family, somewhat over- indulged by her father and gran, not to mention the rest of the street. However, she would at times seem wise beyond her years, and would often be first on the scene at any hint of scandal. Lucy was also cursed with a series of traumas, from near-fatal bee stings to a temporary blindness.
What Happened Next...
To help her get over her various disasters, dad Jim sent Lucy on a trip to Paris to see her boyfriend Bradley. When she returned a few weeks later, Lucy was now played by Sasha Close, Kylie Flinker having chosen to concentrate on her schoolwork. Lucy continued to go through traumas such as a brain tumour, and later a broken marriage and drug addiction, notching up a third face along the way in the shape of Melissa Bell. Kylie Flinker never returned to acting, moving into interior design. In an interview with Perfect Blend in 2003, she confirmed she had no plans to go back to her former career, stating ‘it is just not a life for me’.

Also...

Myra de Groot, who joined the cast as Des’s interfering mum Eileen Clarke in episode 21, was a familiar face on Australian TV through roles in The Sullivans and Prisoner, as well as appearing in US shows such as Bewitched and The Monkees. She appeared semi-regularly until 1988 when she ill health forced her to quit. She died of cancer on 4th April 1988.

Antoinette Byron, who appeared in early episodes as Des’s fiancée Lorraine Kingham, moved to the US where she became a popular soap star, appearing in All My Children, Melrose Place and the short-lived Pacific Palisades alongside another former Neighbours star, Kimberley Davies. She returned to Australia in 1999 to take over the role of Natalie Nash in Home and Away.

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Maxine Klibingaitis, who played Terri Inglis/Robinson from episode 62 until the end of the 1985 season, was already well known as Bobbie Mitchell in Prisoner before joining Neighbours. She went on to appear in The Flying Doctors and the series Family and Friends alongside Alyce Platt (Jen Handley). After giving up acting for a period in the nineties, she returned to the small screen in 2002 with roles in Marshall Law and MDA.

Maureen Edwards, who played Erinsborough High teacher Marcia Taylor, went on to play the major role of Rosemary Prior in A Country Practice, before heading to New Zealand in 2001 to join the cast of Shortland Street. In 2002 she rejoined Neighbours, this time as Harold’s light-fingered love interest, Ruby Dwyer.

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