Of all the stars launched by Neighbours, none shine brighter than Kylie, whose career as an international pop sensation began while she was still on the show playing tomboy mechanic Charlene Mitchell alongside her on-and off-screen boyfriend, Jason Donovan.
Naturally, no reunion would have been complete without her and Kylie admitted, “There was quite a bit of pressure for me to come back.”
Having resisted requests to reprise her star-making role over the years, the 54-year-old says the experience of returning for the show’s conclusion was a positive one.
“It was lovely and emotional. Driving into Ramsay Street was quite something,” she said.
“Firstly, where has all that time gone? Secondly, everything looks exactly the same. Thirdly, Scott, Charlene, Jane, Harold … it just came flooding back. There was a lot of talking about memories and going back in time. It felt beautiful, actually. The fact we could see each other – I haven’t seen these people … some of them for over 30 years and, you know, life passes by and we’ve all gone through different stuff. And just to kind of be face to face and say, ‘Wow, this is part of our history,’ it was great.”
When she was unable to fly into Oz to film scenes for the Neighbours finale, the Oscar-nominated actress Margot Robbie made a cameo via Zoom from Los Angeles, where she’s been busy filming the new Barbie blockbuster alongside Ryan Gosling.
Not forgetting her acting roots, she also sent 37 bottles of champagne – one for each year the show was on-air – to the cast and crew for the final day of filming.
“It’s such a family. Leaving Neighbours was really like leaving home,” she says of her time on the soap playing Donna Freedman from 2008 to 2011.
In fact, she was just 16 when she left her family home on the Gold Coast to pursue an acting career in Melbourne, scoring the life-changing role just a short time later.
“You just learn an incredible discipline and you can work really fast. You’re really conscious of everybody else’s jobs,” she said.
“It was a brilliant training ground. I used to sit down with 60 pages in my lap in a morning and just fly through it, read it once. Got it. I don’t think I could do that now.”
The Neighbours finale will air Thursday, July 28 on 10 and 10Play.