Neighbours legend to return to the show after 15 years

The return is despite the veteran actor previously saying he wanted to retire

Yasmin Vince
Monday 08 April 2024 12:48 BST
Neighbours: A New Chapter trailer

A Neighbours stalwart is to return to Ramsay Street 15 years after his departure as a regular character, it has been announced.

Fan favourite Harold Bishop, played by Ian Smith, will be back in the Australian soap and its opening titles at the age of 85.

The Tv show announced the news adding: “After 15 years of living away, the legendary Harold Bishop is returning to Erinsborough.

Neighbours returned with a new home on Amazon Freevee (Amazon Studios)

“We are thrilled to welcome Ian Smith back to the show and the opening titles, where he belongs.”

Smith first appeared on the show in 1987 as an old flame of Madge Mitchell (Anne Charleston).

His character was only supposed to be in a few episodes but ended up staying until 1991, when Harold was washed out to sea while on holiday.

In 1996, Smith returned to the show and remained until 2009.

During that time, Harold had his house burgled by a gambling-addicted girlfriend, suffered a stroke that completely altered his personality, and tried to strangle the man he blamed for the plane crash that killed his son.

The character has made brief guest appearances in the soap since his exit, but this is the first time since 2009 that Smith’s return has seemed permanent.

The veteran actor had previously told Australian programme TV Tonight that he wanted to retire.

Harold Bishop, as played by Ian Smith

Potential storylines for Harold are still unknown, though some have speculated that the actor’s previous statements about retirement and age may indicate he will be involved in plans by Terese Willis (Rebekah Elmaloglou) and Jane Harris (Annie Jones) to establish a retirement community.

Despite a non-continuous show run, Smith is the longest-serving actor on Neighbours, having first appeared 37 years ago.

The show made a shock return to screens after being cancelled in 2023.

The Australian soap was cancelled in February after Channel 5 decided to stop airing the show in the UK. When production company Fremantle was unable to find another channel to carry the programme, the show was cancelled altogether due to a lack of funding.

To mark the end of the programme, several notable actors from the show’s 36-year history returned to say goodbye, including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Margot Robbie, Holly Valance and Guy Pearce.

The final episode drew in 2.5 million viewers – a significantly higher number than usual.

However, it was then confirmed that the show has been picked up once again by Amazon Freevee.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in