Stefan Dennis says packing Neighbors is ‘a melancholy day’

Neighbors star Stefan Dennis says he “surprised himself” by getting incredibly emotional on the final day of filming the long-running Australian soap opera.

The actor, who played the villainous Paul Robinson, said it was “a melancholy day” as he recalled the experiences of the past 37 years, including encounters with the British royal family.

First broadcast in 1985, the show follows the lives of those who live and work in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough, with Dennis as one of the original cast members.

Friday was the last day of recording of the globally recognized soap, with the last episode airing on August 1.

On the Australian breakfast show Studio 10, Dennis said he had to keep himself “very unobtrusive” to avoid becoming “an absolute mess.”

“It’s a melancholy day for me,” he said.

“I closed the studio door behind me on my very last scene, my very last dialogue scene and… I suddenly surprised myself by getting incredibly emotional.

“I just kept to myself and went to my dressing room… so I’m going to be very discreet today. I think I’ll just be a big mess if I hang around too long.”

Dennis revealed that Diana, Princess of Wales and the Queen Mother were both big fans of Neighbors and would specifically ask the BBC for tapes to make up for missed episodes during royal engagements.

He recalled that the Queen Mother once turned down the entire cast of the American sitcom Golden Girls during a meet and greet to talk to the cast of Neighbours.

Dennis said he received a standing ovation from thousands at Wembley Stadium at a Michael Jackson concert in 1992, where he was invited into the VIP box next to the Prince of Wales.

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Dennis (right) with fellow Neighbors cast members Craig McLachlan (left) and Annie Jones (center) (Martin Keene/PA)

Fellow cast members paid tribute to the show in a specially curated video expressing their gratitude for being an “iconic part of Australian culture”.

In the final episode, fan favorites from over the years will return to the Ramsay Street cul-de-sac to say goodbye to the soap.

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, who starred in the 1980s as power couple Charlene Mitchell and Scott Robinson, were previously announced as returning to the show.

In addition to them will be Peter O’Brien who appeared in the show’s first episode as Shane Ramsay, as well as Ian Smith who played Harold Bishop, Mark Little who played Joe Mangel and Paul Keane who played Des Clarke.

Among those returning from the 00s are Chris Milligan who played Kyle Canning, Morgan Baker as Callum Rebecchi, Natalie Bassingthwaighte who played Izzy Hoyland and James Mason as Chris Pappas.

Pippa Black who played Elle Robinson and her on-screen brother Jordan Patrick Smith who played Andrew Robinson will also return.

Olympia Valance, who starred as Paige Smith in the show’s final era, will also return, alongside Jodi Anasta as Elly Conway, Zoe Cramond who played Amy Williams and Kate Kendall as Lauren Turner.

Ben Hall as Ned Willis, Olivia Junkeer who played Yashvi Rebecchi and Zima Anderson as Roxy Willis were also announced as returning.

The show is also credited with helping launch the careers of other Hollywood stars, including Margot Robbie, Liam Hemsworth, Guy Pearce, and Russell Crowe.

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