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The Neighbours faces behind the scene who weathered the intial storm

“He had a capability to see drama within the strange. That was his overriding philosophy for Neighbours, which on the time was in opposition to the grain of tv soaps that had been so melodramatic and excessive. He elevated suburban life to drama that captivated thousands and thousands.”

Reg Grundy understood how to use publicity to grow an audience.

Reg Grundy understood use publicity to develop an viewers.Credit score:Ben Rushton

Born in Queensland in 1926, after a quick profession as an actor Watson turned a tv government within the UK within the Fifties, working for the broadcaster ATV.

Throughout his tenure there Watson oversaw the creation of one among Britain’s most iconic cleaning soap operas, the Midlands-set Crossroads.

Returning to Australia, Watson turned head of drama at Reg Grundy Productions and oversaw the corporate’s prolific drama slate, together with The Younger Docs (1976-1983), Glenview Excessive (1977), The Stressed Years (1977-1981), Prisoner (1979-1986), Sons and Daughters (1981-1987) and Neighbours (1985-present). He additionally oversaw the US adaptation of Prisoner: Harmful Girls.

Neighbours’ authentic producer John Holmes remembered an unassuming man who had little interest in the “glitter and glamour” of showbiz, however essentially understood audiences “needed to establish with the characters they had been watching, that’s why Neighbours was so successful, individuals associated to what they had been seeing.”

Watson retired within the early Nineteen Nineties and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for providers to media in 2010.

Rivals Patricia (Rowena Wallace) and Beryl (Leila Hayes) in Reg Watson's Sons & Daughters.

Rivals Patricia (Rowena Wallace) and Beryl (Leila Hayes) in Reg Watson’s Sons & Daughters.Credit score:Fremantle Media

But it surely was largely his artistic output that helped his boss Reg Grundy develop into a multi-millionaire, promoting his empire for $400 million, an enormous leap on the times when the BBC reportedly paying £25,000 per episode for the present within the mid-Eighties.

It had already been a precarious begin for the present in its homeland. Neighbours had initially been commissioned by the Seven Community, however the broadcaster, which had reportedly paid $7 million for the primary season, dropped it when it did not ship the numbers it was used to with comparable successes from A Nation Follow, and one among Watson’s different hits, Sons and Daughters.

“I bear in mind Reg calling me up when Seven axed Neighbours and telling me to not let any of the solid signal new contracts,” Holmes recalled. “He was assured a brand new community would choose it up.”

Former Ramsay Street resident Delta Goodrem.

Former Ramsay Avenue resident Delta Goodrem.Credit score:Getty

And they also did, with Ten securing Neighbours, and overseeing the arrival of Minogue into the solid, which over time has additionally counted such worldwide luminaries as Russell Crowe, Natalie Imbruglia, Liam Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Delta Goodrem and Man Pearce.

Ten’s publicity director on the time Brian Walsh, now working Foxtel, knew he needed to make a bang to get individuals speaking about Neighbours, which was off to a sluggish begin on Ten.

“Reg was a genius who understood publicity. He informed me to establish the expertise that may assist drive the present, clearly that was Jason and Kylie.

“I nonetheless bear in mind a storyline about them having a romantic rendezvous in a motel, it was so scandalous it made the entrance web page of the Sydney papers … on the time Neighbours was doing a lot better in Melbourne than Sydney, however after that, all of it modified.

“The hysteria round these sizzling younger stars was unimaginable, we might go to purchasing centres with them, and it was like Beatlemania,” Walsh remembers.


The BBC ultimately misplaced Neighbours when rival Channel 5 – hungry for its enormous viewers – secured the 10-year rights to display screen the present for almost 300 million kilos in 2007.

It was a deal that may assure the present for one more decade, and for the type of cash tv executives in the present day might solely ever dream of.



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