The Aussie Invasion! Big Down Under!
The Advent of the Australian Star Pantomimes 1988 to Today
2010 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Australian Soap “Neighbours”. For a quarter of a century, like our own “EastEnders”, this country has taken to its hearts the daily events on Ramsey Street and the events on Summer Bay in Home And Away.
The programme that gave us Jason, Kylie, Madge and Harold – and Bouncer the dog- is celebrating by offering a British hopeful the chance to audition for a cameo role in the show.
Search For A Star!
Neighbours producers and Channel Five are looking for a female star to play Poppy Rogers, a friend of Mal Kennedy. Poppy will be a resident of Ramsey Street. Queuing up outside the airport will not be essential at this point, as the hopeful actresses are required to post their audition tapes onto YouTube.
To celebrate Twenty Five Years of Neighbours and those wonderful antipodean actors and actresses who have appeared here in pantomime, Its-behind-you.com presents a look at all things Australian in the Wonderful World not of Oz but of Panto!
The Aussie invasion of panto was begun by the late pantomime producer,( and a friend of mine-) John Farrow. John’s company “Pantomime Productions” was the first to invite the stars of Neighbours to appear in pantomime in this country. In association with Charles Haley Productions (Jennifer Haley and Philip Charles) the stage was set to present the exotic stars from Ramsey Street, and then Summer Bay in your town each Christmas. After John’s death in 1990 John’s business partner Simon Barry continued the process under the banner of New Pantomime Productions (NPP) and continues to present pantomimes today around the UK.
Australia has of course hosted pantomime since the Victorian and Edwardian Era. One of this country’s top Dames, Freddie Lees recalls performing in Pantomime in the early 1960’s at the Playhouse Theatre in Perth, for the National Australian Theatre.
Freddie recalls that the script, scenery and costumes were supplied by Paul Elliott, and he was invited to join the Australian cast while appearing in rep there.
In 1963-4 Freddie Lees played Wishee Washee in “Aladdin”, and the following year played Buttons in “Cinderella” at the Playhouse. In 1965-66 he co directed “Dick Whittington” at Perth.
Freddie remembers how absurd it felt to leave the theatre at the end of two performances of a pantomime, stepping into what felt like an oven, dressed in t shirt and shorts! A far cry from what he was used to in the UK Pantomimes!
Spearheading the first wave were Peter O’Brien, Elaine Smith, Anne Charleston, Ray Meagher, Justine Clarke and Guy Pearce. They were among the very first to experience the British speciality that is Pantomime.
John Farrow not only invited Australian Stars to perform in Pantomime, he invited top stars like Peta Toppano and Barry Quin over to appear in plays and Musicals- I worked with them both in “They’re Playing Our Song “ at Hanley, and on tour, and invited Peter O’Brien over to appear in “Buttterflies Are Free” which also toured the UK.
The Cult TV Series “Prisoner- Cell Block H” (Just “Prisoner” in Australia- they did not have the quirky series of the same name that we had in the UK) was turned into a touring play by John Farrow- I was fortunate to work on that as well both in the West End and on tour- and starred several of the original Australian cast – Elspeth Ballyntyne, Fiona Spence, Glenda Linscott and Patsy King amongst them. The UK embraced all things Aussie!
Requires Quicktime (MP4 Format)
Documentary following Nigel and Peter as they prepare for the season at Woking
with Rolf Harris, Gary Wilmot, Robin Cousins, Jodie Jackson, Judy Cornwall
1997 Iambic Productions Limited Documentary for Channel 4
Australians and Pantomime: The Origins
Although intrinsically British, the Victorian pantomimes were so hugely successful that their fame spread to parts of the Empire where the “old country” had fond memories. Pantomimes produced at Drury Lane were often exported, using script and scenery and relocated in Melbourne and Sydney around the turn of the century.
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One of the stars of British Music Hall was a woman given the title of “The World’s Greatest Chorus Singer”- Florrie Forde. She was famed for singing the chorus favourite “Down At The Old Bull And Bush”, that quintessential British pub song, written by three Americans and belted out with an Australian twang!
Florrie Forde, stalwart Principal Boy of Pantomime was among the first great Australian stars to perform in Britain. She had appeared in her native Melbourne where she was born in 1876, and made her pantomime debut in “The House That Jack Built” as Principal Boy in the Polytechnic Theatre Sydney in 1893.
Florrie and a few other Australian Music Hall Stars owed their introductions to Pantomime in Australia and Britain to Harry Rickards, Australia’s greatest impresario. A former comic he promoted his artistes, and sent several of them on the oceans to find fame and fortune here. He made his own fortune in Sydney and died a very wealthy man.
Florrie Forde, a larger than life figure who sang about a “Lassie From Lancashire”, and “Kelly From The Isle Of Man” and berated “Oh! Oh! Antonio!” was a major star in pantomime and on “The Halls” from her debut one Bank Holiday at three halls- The London Pavilion (still standing in Leicester Square) The Oxford (long gone in Oxford Street) and The South London in 1897. She continued to be a major star up until her death in 1940.
Florrie became almost a symbol of The Isle Of Man where she appeared each summer, collected from her boarding house in an open carriage,. And parading regally to the theatre each night! She formed her own troupe “Flo and Co” and encouraged her young ensemble to polish their craft. The young Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen (Of “Crazy Gang” fame) were her protégées, as were Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warris much later.
Florrie’s last panto was in 1935 at the Lyceum Theatre London (currently hosting “The Lion King” ) in “The Forty Thieves” playing the role of Ali Baba’s wife Cogia, opposite George Jackley.
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James Agate the noted critic wrote : “Let it be put down in black and white….when she opens her mouth you can hear every word and every syllable of every word… This artiste has the power to dominate and when she is on stage, you cannot look anywhere else, even if there be room.”
Florrie Forde, the first major Australian Panto star died after entertaining the troupes in Aberdeen, at the outbreak of World War Two in 1940.
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Carrie Moore was a star of Pantomime, revue and plays in Britain from her arrival in the years before the outbreak of World War One. A noted Principal Boy, Carrie played nearly every role in pantomime from 1910 through to her return to Australia in 1940.
Born in Geelong, Australia Carrie was one of four sisters who appeared as children in “Pollard’s Lilliputian Company”. Her sister Olive was later to join her in the UK and they both appeared in the Birmingham Theatre Royal Pantomime.
In Geelong there are a collection of wooden sculptures by the artist Jan Mitchell. They form an arc around Corio Bay. One of these statues is of Carrie Moore, pantomime star – Prince Charming, Robin Hood, Aladdin- a host of roles she portrayed in over thirty years in British Pantomime.
RAMSEY STREET & SUMMER BAY 1988 to Today
This article has turned out to be a labour of love- it just kept growing. While I hoped to be able to publish the name and details every actor who has appeared in panto, I am sure there are still a great many missing. Please send any omissions to us, and we’ll gladly add them to what I hope will become the definitive listing!
My thanks to Simon Barry of NPP, to Steve and the archivists of “Neighbours - the perfect blend” website for all their help and to Ray Meagher.
The First” Aussie” Pantomime:
“Mother Goose” Stockport 1988 Peter O’Brien & Elaine Smith
“Jack and the Beanstalk” Oxford 1988 Anne Charleston
Peter O’Brien and Elaine Smith (Shane and Daphne). Peter played Shane in Neighbours and together with Elaine Smith who played Daphne Lawrence Clark (1985-88).They appeared in one of the earliest Australian vehicle pantomimes- “Mother Goose” at the Davenport Theatre Stockport, in 1988.Directed by John Chilvers and presented by John Farrow, for Pantomime Productions. it also featured Mike Doyle and Andrew Ryan (As King of Goose land).
Anne Charleston has the unique distinction of being a long serving Actress in Neighbours, an Australian “Soap”, and then upon returning to Southern Ireland to live in Galway, she has since appeared in two British Soaps- “Crossroads”, the revival of the original playing Betty Waddell (she ballroom danced with Lionel Blair in one memorable episode) and then appeared in Emmerdale.
Anne also has the great distinction of being television Mother to Kylie Minogue- who played her daughter Charlene Mitchell in “Neighbours.” Her tenure in the Australia series ran from 1986-1992 and again from 1996-2001. During this time she has been Madge Mitchell Ramsay Bishop!
Outside of Pantomime Anne has toured extensively in plays including “Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting On A Green Park Bench”, in “Cemetery Club”, in “Love Julie” a two hander with Millicent Martin and in “Hot Flush” The Musical. Anne was among the forerunners of the “Aussie Invasion”- her first appearance in pantomime was in 1988, a year after Guy Pearce first crossed the oceans to colonise pantomime here in the UK!
Joint First Aussie Panto!
1988 Apollo Oxford, the first pantomime to star an Australian Soap star was when Anne Charleston appeared in Jack & The Beanstalk with Alvin Stardust, Lynsey De Paul, Freddie & The Dreamers and Peter Thorne. For John Farrow ‘s Pantomime Productions & Charles Haley Productions.
1990 Brighton Dome with Ian Smith (Harold From Neighbours).
1991 Theatre Royal Nottingham - Cinderella
1992 Hanley Theatre Royal - Dick Whittington with Ian Smith.
1993 Grand Opera House York - Cinderella
1996 Epsom Playhouse - Sleeping Beauty
1997 Woodville Halls, Gravesend - Cinderella
1998 Pavilion Weymouth - Snow White
1999 Playhouse, Weston Super Mare - Snow White
2000 Redhill Harlequin Theatre - Snow White
2001 Opera House York - Dick Whittington for NPP
2003 Mansfield Palace - Jack & The Beanstalk. with Andrew Ryan for UK Productions (UKP)
2004 Anvil Basingstoke - Jack & The Beanstalk (UKP) Handbill
2005 Theatre Royal Bath - Mother Goose (UKP) Handbill
2006 Pavilion Bournemouth - Robin Hood (UKP) Handbill
2007 Swansea Grand - Dick Whittington (UKP)
2011 Hexagon, Reading - Aladdin (Imagin) Handbill
Ray Meagher- Alf Stewart. Home And Away
The First Home & Away Panto Star
Ray Meagher, after 22 years, the longest serving actor in “Home & Away” , Ray was the first performer from this show to appear in Pantomime, and, to date has appeared in the greatest number of pantomimes. Along with co-star Justine Clarke he appeared for Montrose Productions at the East London Barking Assembly Hall in 1989, a year after the first Aussie pantomimes on these shores, making him amongst the first “settlers” of panto in the UK.
A veteran of over 60 Television productions that include ”A Country Practice”, “A Fortunate Life”, “Vietnam”, “Raffety’s Rules” and “Prisoner-Cell Block H”.
For the Panto Seasons in 2010/11 & 2011/12 Ray appeared in “Priscilla” in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre playing the role of Bob.
1989 Barking Assembly Hall - Snow White (Paul Hammond and Chris Yates for Montrose Productions) with Justine Clarke From “Home And Away”. Ray appeared as Muddles.
1991 Wimbledon - Goldilocks
1992 Victoria Woking - Aladdin
1994 Hippodrome Birmingham - Jack & The Beanstalk” with Mike Doyle.
1995 Mayflower Southampton - Jack & The Beanstalk
1996 Festival Theatre, Chichester - Cinderella
1998 Southend Cliffs Pavilion - Cinderella
1999 Opera House Belfast - Peter Pan with May McFettridge.
2000 Civic Darlington with Stu Francis, Nigel Ellacott & Peter Robbins
2002 Llandudno North Wales Theatre - Peter Pan Handbill
2004 Mansfield - Dick Whittington Handbill
2005 Bournemouth - Aladdin Handbill
2006 Blackpool Grand - Dick Whittington Handbill
2007 Swansea Grand - Dick Whittington with Anne Charleston, Hannah Waterman.
2008 Basingstoke - Aladdin
2009 Assembly Rooms Tunbridge Wells - Peter Pan Handbill
In June 2007 Ray appeared in the Musical “Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert” in Sydney playing the role of Bob the Mechanic, a role he repeats at the Palace Theatre London in September 2010 through to March 2011.
Ian Smith: Harold Bishop in Neighbours
Following on from the success of the first wave of Australian Panto Stars, John Farrow for Pantomime Productions hit on the “Double Whammy” of starring Ian Smith and Anne Charleston in the same pantomime, thus bringing “Madge and Harold” into the world of Fairytale. It had a magical effect on the box-office too!
Born in 1938, Ian Smith has enjoyed a long career in Australian television both as actor, writer and producer. In 1979 Reg Grundy asked him to be script editor on “Prisoner- Cell Block H”. He also played Ted Douglas in the prison drama and became its associate producer.
When “Prisoner” came to an end Reg Grundy asked Ian to become a script writer for Neighbours and in 1987 he took on the role of Harold Bishop, Madge’s friend. He played Harold from 1987 to 1991 when Harold was drowned at sea.
Miraculously five years later Harold, a good swimmer but suffering from amnesia, was discovered calling himself Ted, and returned to Ramsay Street from 1996 until his character retired in 2007.Ianhimself appeared in “Cinderella” at The Opera House York that Christmas.
1990 Brighton Dome with Anne Charleston from Neighbours.
1991 Birmingham Hippodrome - Cinderella
1992 Hanley Theatre Royal - Dick Whittington with Anne Charleston.
1993 Mayflower Southampton - Cinderella
1999 Pavilion Porthcawl - Jack & The Beanstalk
2000 Princess Torquay - Dick Whittington (NPP)
2005 White Rock Hastings - Aladdin (NPP)
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Lynne McGranger- Irene in Home & Away
Born in 1953 Lynne, who plays Irene Roberts, is the second longest serving cast member on Home and Away since she became a permanent cast member in 1993.
She was originally a primary school teacher before starting a career on stage, before a small role in The Flying Doctors bought her onto the TV radar.
1997 Torquay Princess Theatre - Jack & The Beanstalk (NPP)
Guy Pearce- Mike Young in Neighbours
“Priscilla”, “The Time Machine” “Memento”
Born in Ely Cambridgeshire, in 1967, Guy’s family emigrated to Australia when he was aged three and a half years old. His pantomime at the Charter Theatre Preston meant Guy was among the earliest Australian stars appearing in panto.
He first appeared in Neighbours in 1986 and remained until 1989. Teacher Mike was a friend of Jason Donovan’s Scott Robinson and Kylie Minogue’s Charlene Mitchell. He later made appearances in “Home and Away”.
Since playing Mike Young in Neighbours he has become a film star in both Australia and in America-His first Australian film being “Heaven Tonight”. His films include “Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert” in 1994, which became a worldwide success, followed by the movie “LA Confidential “, “The Time Machine”, ”Memento” in 2000, “The Count Of Monte Christo” and in 2007 Guy portrayed Andy Warhol in the film “Factory Girl” opposite Sienna Miller.
1989 Cinderella - Charter Theatre Preston., Guy played Dandini.
“Confessions of a Shopaholic” “Burke & Hare” “Wedding Crashers”
Isla Fisher, the “Confessions of a Shopaholic” star, has enjoyed am impressive film career since leaving Home And Away . This year, 2010 Isla got married to long term partner, Sasha Baron Cohen (Ali G , Bruno and Borat) in a ceremony in Paris. They have a daughter Olive and have recently purchased the £2Million Hollywood property formerly owned by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston.
Isla was born in 1976 in Muscat, Oman of Scottish parents. Brought up in Perth she appeared in “Paradise Beach” in 1993 before joining the cast of Home & Away in 1994 through to 1997. She appeared in 66 epiosodes.
Islas has recently completed filming on “Burke And Hare” in the UK, (2010) and “Confessions Of A Shopaholic” (2009), “Wedding Crashers”, “Horton Hears A Who!” (Voice), “Definitely Maybe” (2008), “Hot Rod”, “The Look Out”, “Scooby Doo” (2002) “Beastmaster” 2002 and played Bet in “Oliver Twist” on television. Isla Fisher toured the UK in “Summer Holiday” the Musical with Darren Day, Hilary O’Neil and Peter Baldwin.
1997 Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall - Aladdin
Natalie Imbruglia-Beth Brennan Willis in Neighbours (1991-94)
“Torn” “Counting The Days”
International pop singer and actress Natalie Imbruglia was just sixteen when she joined the cast of Neighbours in 1991. Currently she has had two hit albums (“Counting The Days” went to Number One in 2005) and seven hit singles in a pop career that began three years after leaving the show.-she launched herself with “Torn” which took her to the top of the charts. Her debut album “Left Of The Middle” sold seven million copies.
Recently Natalie has completed the movie “Closed For Winter”, her first starring role having co-starred with Rowan Atkinson in “Johnny English” in 2003.
The one time face of L’Oreal , Natalie has recently completed the Virgin London Marathon (April 2010) and her fifth album “Come to Life” is out in 2010.
1993 Marlowe Theatre Canterbury - Snow White (with Kate Gorman from Neighbours) for Pantoni Productions. Natalie appeared in the title role.
In this pantomime Muddles was to be played by Spike Milligan, who was billed on the posters, but a triple heart bypass surgery meant the legendary comic did not appear. His role was taken on by Meridian TV’s Simon Perry.
Craig Mclachlan- Henry Ramsay In Neighbours and Grant Mitchell in “Home & Away
Craig played Henry Ramsay (Kylie’s brother) in Neighbours for two years from 1987 before moving to Home And Away appearing as school teacher Grant Mitchell.(1989-91)
Currently appearing as Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago”, Craig has completed the Australian run, and is currently with the show in Singapore and Hong King.
In 2007 he appeared as Caractacus Potts in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton, where he also appeared in “White Christmas” playing Bob Wallace, also appearing with it in Edinburgh Festival and in Cardiff Millennium Centre.
In 1995 he appeared on British television screens in the Sci-Fi series “Bugs” and in the film “Catherine The Great” that year with Catherine Zeta Jones and Omar Sharif. Recent films have included some in Australia and “Superfire” in the US, and the television series “McLeods Daughters” in America.
He played the lead role Danny Zuko in “Grease” in London’s West End during 1993.
Stefan plays Paul Robinson in “Neighbours”, also appearing in “Flying Doctors”, “Young Doctors” and, like Anne Charleston has appeared in a British “Soap”- “River City” for BBC Scotland. While resident here in the UK Stefan worked in all branches of the theatre and film industry, directing and producing. He toured the UK with “Whose Life Is It Anyway” , and played Mickey in “Blood Brothers”. British TV appearances also include “The Bill” and “Casualty”.
I had the pleasure of working with Stefan in “Cinderella” at The Bournemouth Pavilion in 1992, when Stefan played Buttons, directed by Carole Todd. His character was at the centre of a major story line that Christmas, and he met his demise in the series- or not, as the case was, since Paul Robinson is alive and well and I met up with Stefan last Christmas when I saw him play the Evil scheming Dandini in Wolverhampton panto, alongside The Krankies and Phantom star, Nic Greenshields.
1990-91 Babes in the Wood - Liverpool Empire.
1991-92 Aladdin - Mayflower Southampton with Danny La Rue
1992-93 Cinderella - Bournemouth
1993-94 Jack and the Beanstalk - Wimbledon
1994-95 Peter Pan - Blackpool with Patrick Mower & Tom Bright
1998-99 Aladdin - Weston Super Mare playing Abanazar (Paul Holman)
2007-08 Aladdin Aberdeen (After a nine year gap)
Neighbours Artistes: In Alphabetical Order
Paige Alcock- Nadia Hall in Neighbours
2002 Worthing Summer season - The Wizard Of Oz
Felice Arena- Marco Alessi in Neighbours
Melissa Bell- Lucy Robinson in Neighbours
1992 Torquay Princess Theatre - Cinderella with Maggie Dence
Andrew Bibby- Lance in Neighbours
2000 Gatehouse Stafford - Dick Whittington
Gayle & Gillian Blakeney- “The Twins”-Christina & Caroline Alessi in Neighbours
Gayle and Gillian( Neighbours 1990-1992) appeared in pantomime in the UK together and individually during the mid 1990’s.
Gayle & Gillian together:
1992 Empire Liverpool - Dick Whittington
1993 Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl - Cinderella
1994 Basingstoke Anvil - Cinderella
Natalie Blair-Carmilla in Neighbours
Chelsea Blake- Sharon Gates in Neighbours
Carla Bonner- Stephanie Scully in Neighbours (1999-)
Jay Bunyan- Jack Scully in Neighbours 2002-2005
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2004 Churchill Bromley - Aladdin with Karl Howman & Tudor Davies.
Nick Carrafa- Tony Romeo & Peter Hannay in Neighbours (1987-88/1999)
Josephine Clark- Jamie Lee Duggan/Allana Truman in Neighbours
Shane Connor- Phil Hoffman & Joe Scolly in Neighbours
2002 Dartford Orchard Theatre - Jack & The Beanstalk
Fiona Corke- Gail Robinson in Neighbours (1987-89 & 2005/6)
Lucinda Cowden: Melanie Pearson. Neighbours.
1992 Marlowe Theatre Canterbury - Aladdin: for Pantoni
1995 Aladdin - Little Theatre Middlesborough? (billed Lucinda Cowan?)
1997 Babes In The Wood - Theatre Royal Norwich
Bernard Curry- Luke Handley in Neighbours (1995-96)
Maggie Dence- Dorothy Burke in Neighbours (1990-93)
1992 Torquay Princess Theatre - Cinderella with Melissa Bell
Terence Donovan- Doug Willis in Neighbours & Home And Away
1994 Weymouth - Peter Pan
Jonathan Dutton - Tad in Neighbours
2001 Tameside Hippodrome, Ashton - Cinderella
Anthony Engelman- “Stonefish” in Neighbours
1996 Charter Theatre, Preston - Dick Whittington
Dan Falzon- Rick Alessi in Neighbours (1992-95)
Alan Fletcher- Dr.Karl Kennedy in Neighbours (1988 then 1994-)
Alan played a small role as Greg Cooper in 1988, and after leaving Ramsey street continued his theatre and television career in Australia and in the US. That is how a star of Neighbours once played Morgan Fairchild’s fiancé in the US hit show “The Love Boat!” He returned to Ramsey street in 1994 on a ten year contract, and is still there, but as Dr. Karl Kennedy to this day.
1999 Llandudno - Aladdin
2000 Sheffield Lyceum - Peter Pan
2002 Arena St. Albans - Jack & The Beanstalk Handbill
2004 Malvern Theatre - Aladdin
Amelia Frid- Cody in Neighbours
Kate Gorman- Sue Parker in Neighbours (1986-87)
1993 Marlowe Theatre Canterbury - Snow White with Natalie Imbruglia
Elisha Gazdowicz- Jessica Fielding In Neighbours
Richard Grieve- Sam Kratz in Neighbours 1994-2005, and Lachlan Fraser in Home & Away (1997-98)
Richard, now resident in the UK also appeared in “Emmerdale” from 2007 playing Jonny Foster. His Theatre work in the UK includes “Teen Scream” at Lincoln, tours of “Dial M For Murder” and in “Daisy Miller”.
2003 Pavilion Porthcawl - Beauty & The Beast
2004 Harlequin Redhill - Snow White (Paul Holman)
2005 Oakengates Telford - Dick Whittington
2006 Catford Theatre, Lewisham - Cinderella
2008 Camberley - Jack & The Beanstalk
Linda Hartley- Kerry Bishop in Neighbours
Patrick Harvey- Connor in Neighbours
2004 Chatham - Cinderella for Kevin Wood
Stephen Hunt- Mathew Hancock in Neighbours (2001-05/2005)
Mark Little- Joe Mangle in Neighbours
Mark Little has a successful career as both “Stand up” comic and actor here in the UK, and sells out with his show “Defending The Caveman” in London’s West End and around the UK.
1991 Sunderland Empire - Snow White
1998 Worthing Pavilion - Aladdin
1999 Komedia Brighton - Beauty & The Beast
2001 Worthing Pavilion - Jack & The Beanstalk
2004 Playhouse Sevenoaks - Wind In The Willows.
2006 Swansea Grand - Aladdin
2007 Worthing Pavilion - Aladdin
Daniel MacPherson- Joel in Neighbours
1999 Halifax Victoria - Jack & The Beanstalk
2000 Canterbury - Cinderella
Blair McDonough- Stuart Parker in Neighbours (2001-06)
Blair was a contestant in the first Big Brother Television programme in Australia. As a result of this, he was approached by Neighbours and appeared for the next five years, before locating to the UK where he has appeared in several reality style shows on TV.
2002 Marlowe Canterbury - Dick Whittington
Benjie McNair- Malcolm Kennedy in Neighbours
Appearances also in “Home & Away”
1997 Sunderland Empire - Cinderella
Maggie Millar- Rosie Hoyland in Neighbours (2002-03)
2002 Opera House York - Aladdin
Benjamin Mitchell- Cameron in Neighbours
Benjamin Mitchell appeared in an Easter production of “Beauty and The Beast” at Bognor Regis for Bruce James Productions, in addition to
Ryan Moloney- Jarrod “Toadfish” Rebecchi in Neighbours
2001 Beck Hayes - Dick Whittington with Elisha Gazdowicz
2005 Marlowe, Canterbury - Cinderella with Sheila Ferguson & Andy Scott Lee
Julie Mullins- Julie Robinson Martin in Neighbours (1992-94)
Jessica Muschamp: Sharon in Neighbours.(1998-90)
1990 Snow White - Theatre Royal Hanley With Fiona Spence (for John Farrow)
1991 Cinderella - Venue Unknown
1992 Aladdin - Harlequin Redhill with Andrew Ryan (for Kevin Wood)
Ben Nicholas- Scott “Stingray” Timmins in Neighbours (2003-06)
2006 Canterbury - Jack & The Beanstalk
2007 Stevenage Gordon Craig - Cinderella
In 2007 Ben played the Artful Dodger in “Oliver” at Chatham for “Evolution”, a role he had previously played in Australia.
2008 Stevenage Gordon Craig - Jack & The Beanstalk
Richard Norton- Appearances in Neighbours & Home & Away
1994 Barnsley Civic - Dick Whittington
Dan O’Connor- Ned Parker in “Neighbours”(2005-08)
As Daniel O’Connor-
2006 Aberdeen His Majesty's - Cinderella
Tom Oliver - Lou Carpenter in Neighbours
Hampshire born Tom Oliver is the longest serving character in “Neighbours”. He also played the reformed ex con Ken Pierce in “Prisoner- Cell Block H”.
1997 Worthing - Robinson Crusoe
Dan Paris- Drew Kirk in Neighbours
2001 Crawley Hawth - Jack & The Beanstalk
2002 Wolverhampton Grand - Snow White
2003 Swansea Grand - Cinderella
Ashley Paske- Matt in Neighbours
1992 Apollo Oxford - Aladdin with Amelia Frid (for Apollo)
Mark Raffety- Dr.Darcy in Neighbours
2002 Southsea Kings Theatre - Dick Whittington
2003 Thameside Hippodrome Ashton - Dick Whittington
2004 Princess Theatre, Torquay - Snow White
Ian Rawlings- Philip Martin in Neighbours
Rebecca Ritters- Hannah Martin in Neighbours (1992-99)
Jaime Robbie Reyne - Taj Coppin in “Neighbours”(2002-04)
Simone Robertson- Phoebe in Neighbours
Lara Sacher- Serena Bishop in Neighbours (2003-05)
Bruce Samazan- Mark Gottlieb in Neighbours(1993-95)
Kristian Schmid - Todd Landers in Neighbours.
Later appeared in remake of Tomorrow People as Adam Newman in the 1990’s.
1990 Preston Charter Theatre - Mother Goose with Linda Hartley (for John Farrow)
1993 Orchard Dartford - Dick Whittington
1994 Dick Whittington - Wycombe
Jansen Spencer - Paul McLean in Neighbours 1997-2001.
Returned for 20th Anniversary cameo in 2005.
1999-2000 Cinderella - Sheffield Lyceum as Prince Charming with Andrew Ryan
2000-2001 Snow White - Swansea Grand.
2001-02 Cinderella - His Majesty's Aberdeen with Nigel Ellacott. & Peter Robbins.
2002-03 Snow White - Hull New Theatre
Jesse Spencer- Billy Kennedy In Neighbours (1994-2000)
1998 Hastings - Peter Pan
Caitlin Stasey- Rachel Kinski in Neighbours
Jacinta Stapleton- Amy Greenwood in Neighbours (1997-2000)
Eliza Taylor Cotter- Jacinta Martin (2003) and Janae Timmins (2005-08) in Neighbours
Kym Valentine- Libby Kennedy in Neighbours
1996 Llandudno - Cinderella
1998 Beck Theatre Hayes - Snow White
2000 Reading - Cinderella
Sarah Vandenbergh- Lauren Carpenter in Neighbours
1996 Swansea Grand - Robin Hood
1997 Redhill Harlequin - Jack & The Beanstalk
Krista Vendy- Tess in Neighbours
Madeleine West- Dione Bliss in Neighbours (2000-2003)
Ian Williams- Adam Willis in Neighbours (1990-91)
Jackie Woodburne- Susan Kennedy in Neighbours and Julie Egbert in “Prisoner”
2000 Worthing - Snow White (for Hammond Prods)
Home and Away
Ray Meagher was the first Home And Away star to appear in Pantomime in ther UK, and among the first wave of Australian artistes to appear in panto. He did his first, “Snow White” in 1989, a year after the first Australian pantomime that starred Peter O’Brien, Elaine Smith and Anne Charleston. Ray co starred with Justine Clarke from Home And Away at the Barking Theatre in East London.
Other Summer Bay residents who have enjoyed a panto season in the United Kingdom include Hollywood Film Star Isla Fisher.
Artistes from Home & Away: In alphabetical order:
John Adam-Luke Cunningham in Home & Away (1994)
Craig Beemer-Bill Cunningham in Home & Away (1993)
Greg Benson: Matt Wilson in Home And Away. (1988-91 /2002)
Daniel Collopy- Josh West in Home & Away
Kimberley Cooper- Gypsy Nash in Home & Away (2002)
2002 Shrewsbury Music Hall - Sleeping Beauty (for John Spillers)
Nicholle Dickson- Bobby Simpson in Home & Away (1987-1993)
1993 Weymouth Pavilion - Cinderella with Alex Papps
Rebecca Elmaloglou-Sophie Simpson in Home & Away (1989-93 & 2002-05)
Rebecca also has three brothers, Dominic, Tony and Sebastian who have all appeared in Home & Away. Her Mother is Dame Judy Dench’s cousin!
1993 Leicester De Montford Hall - Aladdin with Sean Maguire
Stephen James King- Edward Dunglass in Home & Away
Brendan Mckensy- Duncan Stewart- Home & Away. 2001
2001 Central Theatre Chatham - Peter Pan
Ross Newton- Greg in Home & Away
Paul O’Brien- Jack Holden in Home & Away
2007 Gravesend Woodville Halls & Majestic Retford - Aladdin (Spillers)
Alex Papps- Frank Morgan in Home & Away (1988-2002) and Flying Doctors
Michael Piccirilli- Dr.James Frazer in Home & Away
2000 Fareham, Ferneham Hall - Peter Pan
Kate Richie- Sally in Home & Away
1999 Newcastle Tyne Theatre - Sleeping Beauty
2000 Croydon Ashcroft - Jack & The Beanstalk
Dee Smart- Home & Away
Fiona Spence-Celia Stewart in Home & Away 1988-90
Officer Vera Bennett in “Prisoner- Cell Block H”
Born in Great Britain in 1948 Fiona Spence emigrated to Australia when in her 20’s.
In Home And Away Fiona Spence played Celia, the sister of Ray Meagher’s character Alf Stewart.
Fiona Spence played the role of Wardress Vera Bennett in “Prisoner- Cell Block H” from 1979 until she left the series in 1981. Maggie Kirkpatrick took over as head wardress Joan Fergusson. In 1986 Ray Meagher played the corrupt Governor Ernest Craven of Blackmoor Prison in “Cell Block H”.
Prisoner- Cell Block H ran from 1979-1986. It was a hit in Australia and America, and later in the UK.There were two versions that toured the UK- The Play version (which I costumed) that toured the UK in 1989-90 and played The Dominion Theatre In London’s West End, and the later Musical Version starring Paul O’Grady’s Lily Savage alongside Bella Emberg and Maggie KirkPatrick- The Soap’s original Wardress Joan “The Freak” Fergusson. It too played a season in London’s West End at The Victoria Palace.
In the Television and stage versions Elspeth Ballantyne played Warder Meg and Fiona Spence played Warder Vera Bennett .The television series finally ended in 1986 after Eight Years and 692 episodes.
“Aussie soap star Fiona Spence is a closet glamour puss, purring to come out. But to millions of TV viewers she's vicious-tempered Vera Bennett of Prisoner: Cell Block H, or Home and Away's resident busy-body Celia Stewart. Neither role gives her any scope to shine as a clothes horse. As the spinsterish warder of Wentworth Detention Centre or the time-warped Summer Bay gossip she shows about as much fashion sense as Dame Edna
For the next
few months she's going to be serving time in her screws' uniform during a stage
tour of Britain with Cell Block H that starts tomorrow. For 42-year-old Fiona it
will be both a homecoming - she was born in Kent to an Irish mother and
Australian father - and a stage debut here. (Daily Mirror 1990)
1990 Theatre Royal Hanley - Snow White as Wicked Queen with Jessica Muschamp
Ben Steel- Jude in Home & Away 02/04
2002 Ashton Tameside Hippodrome - Snow White (NPP)
2004 Hastings White Rock - Snow White (NPP)
Emily Symons- Marilyn Chambers in ”Home & Away”
Emily Symons, born Sydney 1969 played Marilyn Chambers in “Home and Away” from 1989 for several years before leaving to live in England in 1996. She appeared for Eight years in “Emmerdale” as Barmaid Louise Appleton, and, in 2010 has returned to Summer Bay as Marilyn once again in “Home & Away”.
Engaged to Footballer Matt Le Tissier, who she met while appearing at the Mayflower Pantomime, she later married Lorenzo Smith- 2nd son of Viscount Hambleden, and descendant of the W.H.Smith Stationary Empire.They were to divorce two years later.
1991 Oxford Apollo - Cinderella with Guy Pearce
1992 Bristol Hippodrome - Jack and the Beanstalk
1993 New Theatre, Cardiff - Snow White with Marti Caine and Derek Griffiths
1997 Birmingham Hippodrome - Goldilocks with Frank Bruno and Mike Doyle
1998 Mayflower Southampton - Goldilocks with Frank Bruno
Aleetza Wood- Peta Janossi in Home & Away
Kristy Wright- Chloe in Home & Away (2000)
1999 Melton Mowbray Theatre - Peter Pan (Williams Ent. Ltd)
2000 “Stardust, “ Bardon Leicestershire - Peter Pan
The Following Artistes from Home & Away appeared in pantomime – dates & venues to be confirmed.
Josephine Clark- Allana Truman in Home & Away 2001
From “Heartbreak High “
Alex Dimitriades- Heartbreak High
Marcel Bracks-Heartbreak High
1999 Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre - Aladdin
Mario Gamma- D’Espo in Heartbreak High
Scott Jones- Heartbreak High
From “Sons And Daughters”
Danny Roberts- Sons and Daughters
This page was last updated 9th July 2014