Boys Costumes Depicted in Australian Television Shows: Neighbors (1985- )

Figure 1.--The Australian soap opera "Neighbors" often showed boys in their school uniforms. The character of Lance is played by Bibby Andrew. He attends a middle class state school.

Neighbours is the most important Aussie soap opera. It has also become one of the most widely followed daily soaps in Britain and indeed has proven popular around the world with new countries signing on every year. It never, however, proved popular in America, even on PBS which did carry "East Enders". Many children have been featured over the years, providing a view of changing boyswear and school uniform fashions. The series launched the careers of Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue.


Neighbors is about the families living on Ramsey St, a leafy suburb of Melbourne. The idea of course is that we all have neigbors. Reg Watson, creator of Neighbours, points out, "Love them or hate them, we've all got them: NEIGHBOURS!" Watson when he was Head of Drama for the Australian Grundy Organization devised successful serials such as The Young Doctors, Sons and Daughters, Prisoner (Cell Block H), The Resless Years, and Richmond Hill. But then Watson had the idea in 1986 based on "communication" and every day neighbors. Watson recalls this really raised the eyebrows of his colleagues and "thumbs were turned down". And even when scripts were written about three families living next door to each other, people still had their doubts about the concept which was simply about communication between parents and their children.


Fourteen years later in 2000, the Australian serial soap opera is viewed in over forty countries throughout the world. Curiously the United States is the only English-speaking country where Neighbours is unknown. It is appropriate that the program should now be featured on the Internet which was also an idea based on expanding commuinication.the same premise, communication.


A Grundy Location Scout chose a suburb of Melbourne for a new television series with the working title of One way Street. The quiet cul-de-sac Pin-Oak Court on the outskirts of the Victoria capital Melbourne was to be the residence of some of the worlds most famous families. Of course it wasn't the producers first choice as the houses were considered to be just a little too upmarket, quite a departure from its English predecessors, East Enders and Coronation Stree, but the street's ideal location outweighed this small problem. Not only was the street close to the studios where the indoor shots are filmed but it was a nice quiet out of the way street that was accessible via the rear where large production vehicles could be parked out of camera range. With the planet's sudden interest in the goings on of Ramsey Street, Pin-Oak Court became one of the most famous streets in the world.


Grundy began producing the daily soap opera in 1985 for Network 7. To everyone's surprise after only 6 months they axed it with only 170 episodes aired. Ten Network saw their chance in 1986. They picked up the show and changed the name to the now famous Neighbours. They introduced several teenage actors such as Jason Donovan, Annie Jones and Kylie Minogue. Ten also moved from a working class focus to a glossier, more affluent feel. Grundy has since continued to produce over 3000 drama packed episodes.

Worldwide appeal

Although it was shown before "prime-time", it soon won an audience of 5 million in Australia, a mamoth share of the realtively small Australian TV market. Later in 1986 the show had it's first UK screening on BBC One's daytime slot. In 1988 Neighbours was repeated everyday just before the six o'clock news on BBC. It soon became a schoolgirl favorite, but the girls compalined that because of the school schedfule that they were missing episodes. After it's move to the evening slot, Neighbours was raking in the viewers - bringing in the highest numbersever for it's time slot (up to 16 million) and it has been in the UK top ten ever since. "Neighbours" is now a global phenomenon, with the show being sold to over 40 broadcasters in over 60 countries worldwide in many different languages from Australia to Zimbabwe, the most recent being Croatia and China. The show now averages more than 120 million viewers everyday. Why it has no appeared in America is unclear to HBC. The daily drama is also famous for launching the careers of numerous breakout stars, including Jason Donovan, Kylie Minogue, Craig McLachlan, Guy Pearce, and more recently, Kimberley Davies and Natalie Imbruglia. The cast was even summoned for a Royal Command Performance after members of the British Royal Family were revealed to be loyal followers of the series!


As HBC has not seen many episodes of "Neighbors" so we have little information on the costuming. We have scene a few episodes. Perhaps readers will be able to comment here. Children are depicted in both their regular clothes and their school uniform. The local secondary school appears to have a short pants uniform with traditional grey shorts. Episodes in 2000 feature Lance played by Bibby-Andrew. He attends a fairly middle class state school. I have not seen any blazers or ties worn although occasionally they will wear a maroon jumper with their uniforms. Most of the boys at the school wear jeans with their shirts, however, the main cast members all seem to wear grey shorts, even up to school leaving age at 18. The show tends to use young adult actors, many older than their characters, for the main roles.


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Created: May 29, 2001
Last updated: 10:51 PM 4/4/2007