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A Walk Down Memory Aisle: 25 Top TV Weddings

Soap legends, Scott and Charlene Robinson from Neighbours caused hysteria when their TV wedding was shown on UK screens 25 years ago. For many of us, their wedding will always be the most epic of all TV weddings. However, over the years we’ve been very privileged to have attended numerous weddings where we’ve gasped, laughed and shed a tear along with the rest of the country – or world – and all from the comfort of our living rooms!

So in honour of Scott and Charlene’s 25th wedding anniversary, we take a look at 25 TV weddings that are (almost!) as memorable and which I witnessed during the days when I watched way too much television:

1. SHANE AND ANGEL PARRISH (Home And Away, 1995)

Shane (Dieter Brummer) and Angel (Melissa George) were hailed by the Aussie media as the new Scott and Charlene. I don’t think that any couple could ever be the new Scott and Charlene but they were an awesome soap twosome whose on-off antics had viewers gripped.

However, in the run up to their wedding, Angel was knocked over by Alf Stewart and was unable to walk. But come the big day, Angel was determined that she wasn’t going to be wheeled down the aisle in her wheelchair and insisted on walking towards her groom. She did just that – and viewers were moved.

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2. ROSS AND EMILY GELLER (Friends, 1998)

The words “I Ross, take thee, Rachel,” were the words every Friends’ fan desperately wanted to hear – too bad they were being said to the wrong woman! Nobody wanted to see Ross (David Schwimmer) wed his British sweetheart Emily (Helen Baxendale) as everyone knew that Ross belonged with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston.) And it looked as though fans were going to get their wish as Rachel flew into London to stop the wedding – only to have a change of heart when she saw Ross at the alter and instead wished him well. The wedding went ahead despite Ross calling Emily ‘Rachel’ although naturally the marriage didn’t last – but viewers had to wait until the last ever series of Friends to see Rachel get her man.

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3. KEVIN AND SALLY WEBSTER (Coronation Street, 1986)

They were known as love’s young dream and they were couple who lived happily ever after – until that awful Natalie Horrocks came along and got her claws into Kevin (Michael Le Vell.)

Sally (Sally Dynevor) did away with the tradition of a white wedding gown and I remember her showing Hilda Ogden her peach coloured wedding dress before the wedding and twirling around her living room while Hilda sat there in silence (very unusual for her!) What was most poignant was that the night before the wedding, Sally was stood in the doorway, looking out on to the street with a dreamy expression on her face, claiming that she couldn’t be happier. If she knew then what we all know now…

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4. FRANK MORGAN AND BOBBY SIMPSON (Home And Away, 1989)

Bobby (Nicolle Dickson) loved Frank (Alex Papps) but Frank was besotted with Roo. Frank eventually realised that Roo was not the woman for him and finally fell for Bobby – and Home And Away fans cheered their hearts out – including me! This was without a doubt one of my favourite weddings as I loved Frank and Bobby as a couple. At the time, being so young, I couldn’t understand why Bobby would wear a dress that had black in it; wasn’t full length, or why she didn’t wear a veil. Now I think her look rocks because it’s so unique and doesn’t look dated despite being more than 20 years ago.

Sadly, they’d barely finished the wedding cake before Frank decided that he was in love with Roo after all and the two ran off to New York where they eventually got married – leaving Bobby heartbroken. But fickle Frank proved he had a real inability to make up his mind and returned to Summer Bay to win Bobby back just as she was starting a relationship with single dad Greg Marshall. Bobby, feisty girl that she was, told Frank just where to go. So he did!

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4. BOBBY AND PAMELA EWING (Dallas, 1986)

I never did like Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) getting together with Jenna Wade – even if she was Mrs. Elvis Presley! So naturally I was delighted when he got back together with his ex-wife, Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal) and they started planning their second wedding. However, just minutes before she was due to walk down the aisle, Pam overheard Bobby’s brother, Ray announce that Jenna was pregnant – with Bobby’s child. Pam was devastated but the couple were rock solid and Pam became Mrs. Ewing for the second time.

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5. CHANDLER BING AND MONICA GELLAR (Friends, 2001)

Once commitment-phobe Chandler (Matthew Perry) realised that Monica (Courtney Cox) was the woman for him, there was no stopping him in rushing to propose – and Monica was only too happy to whip out the wedding file she’d created in her teens! However, on the day of the wedding, it looked as though Chandler had started to have second thoughts and done a runner, and the gang had no choice but to break the news to Monica. One of the most hilarious scenes ever was when Rachel began to tell Monica, “We can’t find Chandler…” before noticing that Phoebe was gesturing to her that all was well and not to say anything before Rachel backtracked by saying, “…Chandler’s vest. We can’t find Chandler’s vest.” Great move Rachel!

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So the bride and groom made it down the aisle; viewers met Chandler’s warring parents; Joey married his best friends while dressed as an army officer and viewers discovered that Rachel was pregnant. But who was the father?

6. RODNEY AND CASSANDRA TROTTER (Only Fools And Horses, 1989)

If ever there was a couple who were chalk and cheese, it was Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Cassandra (Gwyneth Strong) but somehow they worked. The wedding episode was quite touching as it showed the deep bond between the brothers Rodney and Del rather than focusing solely on their comic capers. Who could forget Del taking care off his wounds after taking a violent bashing so that Rodney could get the money to pay for the wedding? Or the tearful look that Rodney exchanged with the brother who raised him just before he and Cassandra departed for their honeymoon. I remember watching this and feeling very sorry for lonely Del. Thank goodness Raquel came along when she did!

The episode thankfully ended on a comic note with Rodney forgetting that he lived with Cassandra and not Del. Amazing episode.

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7. HAROLD AND MADGE BISHOP (Neighbours, 1988)

It had taken more than thirty years for Harold (Ian Smith) to be reunited with his high school sweetheart Madge (Anne Charleston) but even then their journey to the alter had been anything but smooth with rows, break-ups and an engagement ring that found its way to the bottom of Lassiter’s Lake! But then, Madge’s fiery temper was one of the things that Harold loved about her and there was no denying, that despite their differences, this was a couple who belonged together.

Harold’s mini-me son, David, made an appearance for the wedding and Harold shocked everyone by announcing that he wanted a bucks party. However the menfolk of Ramsay Street had to endure the most boring bucks party ever. It was hilarious when Scott suggested that Harold put some music on. “Great idea!” Harold exclaimed. “Er, what’s this?” someone asked. “Mozart,” Harold announced. Cue a great deal of grumbling.

But the wedding was well worth the wait: Henry gave his mum away; Charlene made a beautiful bridesmaid; David thought he had a chance with the stunning Jane Harris, and Madge finally became Mrs. Bishop.

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8. JEFF AND FALLON COLBY (Dynasty, 1986)

Could there ever be a more on-again-off-again couple than Jeff and Fallon? But through it all you just knew they belonged together. And so did they! Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin and later Emma Samms)  ran out on Jeff (John James) before their wedding only to resurface a year later as amnesia sufferer Randall Adams – who had just become his cousin Miles’s new  bride!

A battle for Fallon’s affections began between the two men. Jeff won – and Fallon remarried him.  What I loved about this wedding – apart from Fallon choosing Jeff – was that she did away with tradition by opting for a pink gown thus starting a trend. This was great in the eyes of a little primary school age girl who was obsessed with pink and I was determined to follow Fallon’s lead and get wed in pink when my time came (I didn’t!) Though if Fallon’s wicked stepmother-in-law had had her way, she would have married Jeff wearing a persimmon coloured gown (I didn’t have a clue what colour persimmon was!)

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9. RICKY AND BIANCA BUTCHER (Eastenders, 1997)

Ricky (Sid Owen) had already been married before to Phil and Grant’s little sister Sam but this was Bianca’s (Patsy Palmer) first wedding and she was determined to go all out.

I remember watching this episode with my family and we couldn’t stop laughing. Fearing the wrath of Bianca, there was a mad race to get Ricky to the church on time after the stag party mistakenly thought that they had ended up in France. Bianca couldn’t understand why her wedding car was doing continuous circles around the church but all was well when Ricky finally turned up and made an honest woman of Miss Jackson.

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10. MARK GOTTLIEB AND ANNALISE HARTMAN (Neighbours, 1994)

Despite promises to love, honour and obey, many of the TV marriages listed here didn’t last or at least endured extremely stormy periods. Luckily Mark (Bruce Samazan) and Annalise (Kimberly Davis) decided to quit while they were ahead by calling off the wedding while Annalise was halfway down the aisle. Mark suddenly decided that he wanted to be a man of the cloth and told Annalise that he couldn’t go through with it. Meanwhile Annalise had been having doubts about her impending marriage so was secretly relieved – although she still made Mark feel guilty and played the victim.

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11. IAN AND CINDY BEALE (Eastenders, 1989)

Now here’s a union that makes people wonder “whatever were they thinking?” I remember a friend commenting well before their wedding, “that Cindy’s a little b***h. She’s just using Ian to make that other one jealous.” By ‘that other one’ she meant of course Simon Wicks – Cindy’s one true love and the man who was going to be the catalyst in the demise of Ian and Cindy’s marriage. I’m sure it was obvious to viewers at the time that Cindy didn’t love Ian but I wasn’t old enough to see the signs! Unfortunately it was Cindy who turned Ian from Mr. Super-Nice to a cross between Mr. Nasty and Mr. Pillock.

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12.JOE MANGEL AND KERRY BISHOP (Neighbours, 1990)

Again, another chalk and cheese couple who were made for each other. Their romance had many ups and downs but what was really sweet was the way in which they accepted each other’s children and blended their families so seamlessly. Kerry (Linda Hartley) ever-the-non-conformist wanted her wedding to have a slightly Indian vibe and take place in a butterfly house. One funny moment was when the celebrant asked if anyone had any objections and Harold had had his hand raised. It turned out he was just trying to shoo away a butterfly that had landed on his head!

Their’s was supposed to have been a double wedding as they should have gotten married alongside their friends Henry Ramsay and Bronwyn Davies. However, Bronwyn’s father wasn’t convinced that Henry was the right man for his daughter and put pressure on her to postpone. Bronwyn gave in, devastating Henry in the process. He then became Joe’s (Mark Little) best man and kept giving Bronwyn heartbroken glances throughout the service.

Just as Scott and Charlene had their song during the service, Joe and Kerry had Lynn Hamilton’s In Your Arms which was just as beautiful as Angry Anderson’s Suddenly. The song lyrics combined with Joe and Kerry’s joy as well as Henry and Bronwyn’s pain made this a very poignant episode.

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13. FRANK AND PAT BUTCHER (Eastenders, 1989)

Frank (Mike Reid) and Pat (Pam St. Clement) had loved each other over a thirty year period but life, marriages to other people and children had kept them apart for many years – until Frank’s wife June passed away and he was free to be with the woman he truly loved. They got married and celebrated with a huge street party in typical East End style. Sadly the marriage wasn’t to last but one thing that did was their love for each other. Pat and Frank’s is a sad but true love story.

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14. HUGO AND ALICE HORTON (The Vicar of Dibley, 1998)

Alice Tinker may not be every man’s dream woman but Hugo Horton was besotted with the verger – much to the disdain of his father, David Horton who couldn’t stand the dim (though sweet) Alice. However, Hugo finally stood up to his father and defended his true love and the couple went on to marry. Alice wed Hugo in a what-is-she-wearing dress that was so typical of her. Who could forget that switch-it-on-and-watch-it-light-up headdress?

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15. DES AND DAPHNE CLARKE (Neighbours, 1986)

There aren’t many men who’d want to marry the stripper at a buck’s party. There aren’t many women who’d want to marry the man for whom they were hired to strip. But amidst the most unlikeliest of starts, Des and Daphne fell in love. In true soap style, there were hiccups along the way to the alter, especially Daphne’s later engagement to Shane Ramsay. However, Daphne realised that her heart belonged to Des and went on to marry him. Des and Daphne’s is usually considered by many to be the first Neighbours’ wedding but it isn’t – Paul Robinson beat them to it when he married his first wife, Terri.

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16. PRINCE MICHAEL OF MOLDOVIA AND AMANDA CARRINGTON (Dynasty, 1985)

What is it with those Carrington girls? Can’t they have a simple family wedding without all the drama? Blake Carrington’s younger daughter, Amanda (Catherine Oxenberg) proved that anything her older sister Fallon could do, she could do one step better. Not only did she bag herself a prince (Michael Praed) but her wedding provided one of the biggest soap cliff-hangers of all time. While the wedding was underway, a group of terrorists stormed the chapel and opened fire. It appeared that everyone had been gunned down although viewers had to wait for the new season to find out who had been killed.

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17. JOHN WORTHINGTON AND NELL MANGEL (Neighbours, 1988)

“What’s a nice man like John Worthington doing with Nell Mangel?” asked Madge Bishop.

Indeed viewers were asking the same question. Who on earth could love an interfering, malicious, gossipy busybody like Mrs. Mangel? But it appeared that nice Mr. Worthington decided to take a chance on Mrs. Mangel – even after that hilarious incident where a face-pack wearing Mrs. Mangel answered the door to her date John and pretended to be Nell’s twin sister Belle! However, John saw through the lie and still thought that Nell Mangle was worth taking a chance on.

Their marriage marked the couple’s departure from the show as they went to live in England. And in a move that surprised the neighbours – and viewers – Madge and Nell kissed and made up just before the Worthingtons headed off to the airport.

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18. IAN AND MELANIE HEALEY, BARRY AND NATALIE EVANS (Eastenders, 1999)

As the whole world eagerly awaited the new millennium, Eastenders decided to celebrate with a double wedding. However, Melanie Healey (Tamzin Outhwaite) wasn’t in the mood to celebrate as what viewers already knew suddenly began to dawn on her – she had no idea what she was doing with Ian Beale! Unfortunately, Ian (Adam Woodyatt) had already cottoned on to the fact that Mel was getting cold feet, so in a bid to make her go through with the wedding, he lied and said that his daughter was suffering from cancer. A low move even for him!

But after the wedding, fellow new bride Natalie (Lucy Speed) accidentally let the cat out of the bag and revealed that Lucy was in perfect health. After a furious bust-up with Ian, Mel walked out on him in what must have been the shortest marriage in soap.

But Natalie and Barry didn’t fare so well either as they also went their separate ways a few years later after the birth of their son Jack. Clearly not a lucky wedding date!

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19. JOE AND MELANIE MANGEL (Neighbours, 1991)

Neighbours fans were saddened when pregnant Kerry Bishop was killed by a stray bullet leaving Joe a distraught widower. So they rejoiced when Joe (Mark Little)  found happiness with his wacky lodger Melanie Pearson (Lucinda Cowden) who was Erinsborough’s answer to Alice Tinker.

There was a slight hitch when the happy couple fell out after Joe discovered that Melanie had once had a fling with her boss, Paul Robinson. However he soon got over it and the wedding was back on track. And although Joe feared the worst regarding Melanie’s wedding gown, the bride stunned everyone by walking down the aisle in a beautiful, traditional, champagne-coloured gown.

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20. BEN AND MEG EVANS, MICHAEL AND VANESSA BOURNE (Sunset Beach, 1999)

It may have been a short lived soap but it made a big impact. When this Channel 5 soap finally ended, it went out on a high and featured a double wedding for two couples who viewers couldn’t wait to see make it to the alter.

Although this was Michael and Vanessa’s (Sherrie Saum) first wedding, it was the second time for Ben (Clive Roberts) and Meg (Susan Ward) as their first was interrupted by the appearance of Ben’s first wife, Maria. This time everything went without a hitch – except fans were upset that their favourite wacky soap was no more.

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21. STEPHEN AND PHOEBE GOTTLIEB (Neighbours, 1993)

Phoebe (Simone Robertson) was heartbroken when her beloved boyfriend Todd was killed in a road accident – just as she was expecting their baby. But Todd played an unlikely matchmaker as Phoebe met the man she was going to marry while visiting Todd’s grave. Stephen (Lochie Daddo) and Phoebe fell in love and got married just before baby Hope arrived.

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22. ALEX AND SUE TATHAM (Blind Date, 1991)

Many years may have passed, and I may only have been a child at the time but I remember this couple so well! For everyone who thought that Blind Date was a fix, Alex and Sue Tatham proved everyone wrong by being the first Blind Date contestants to marry after meeting on the show. Before them, Blind Date did not have any real success stories so naturally the show’s host Cilla Black and the rest of the show’s crew would have been delighted with the result. After Alex and Sue, another two couples went on to marry. Sue and Alex’s wedding was watched as part of a Blind Date special by more than 17 million viewers, with the couple being slightly upstaged by Cilla’s famous hat!

And for those who thought that the marriage would never last, the Tathams are still together, have two children and celebrated their silver wedding anniversary this year.

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23. BRAD AND BETH WILLIS (Neighbours, 1993)

It took two attempts for Brad (Scott Michaelson) and Beth (Natalie Imbruglia) to make it to the alter and they were successfully wed after their second attempt! Wedding number one ended in disaster after Beth suspected Brad of fooling around with bridesmaid Lauren behind her back. She was right and walked out halfway through the ceremony. And despite Brad continuing his relationship with Lauren, Beth wasn’t about to give up on him so easily and fought to win back Brad. She succeeded and the happy couple left Ramsay Street after their wedding to start a new life away from Erinsborough.

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24. GRANT AND SHARON MITCHELL (Eastenders, 1991)

Who would have thought that Walford’s hard man could be such a softie? Grant (Ross Kemp) had planned their wedding in secret even doing the unforgivable and choosing Sharon’s (Letitia Dean) wedding outfit! Sharon was furious and promptly refused to go through with the wedding – until best friend Michelle Fowler talked her around. So before you could say ‘Sharongate’ the happy couple were wed and Sharon was destined to hear the infamous ‘you’re a Mitchell’ line until she ditched Grant for a new life in America.

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25. PRINCE CHARLES AND LADY DIANA (1981)

OK, this televised wedding was not part of a scriptwriter’s plot but Charles and Di’s story had more ups and down, ins and outs, twists and turns than your average soap opera. Believe it or not, their wedding is one of my earliest memories. Although it was billed as a fairy-tale, the marriage sadly did not last but their wedding is without a doubt one of the most famous and still talked about weddings of the royal family.

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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in TV Shows

 

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Happy Anniversary Scott And Charlene: 25 Years Since THAT Wedding…

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My goodness; how time flies…

Neighbours’ Scott and Charlene Robinson celebrate their silver wedding anniversary? No way! Well apparently they just have. November 8th marked 25 years since that wedding episode was aired on UK screens in what was the show’s 523rd episode, watched by 20 million avid Neighbours’ fans. If that doesn’t make you feel old, I don’t know what will! TV weddings have come and gone but Scott and Charlene’s screen nuptials is without a doubt the most iconic and the most enduring in soap history.

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I remember it as though it were yesterday…

The slightly nervous but dashing groom; handsome groomsmen, Paul and Mike; mother-of-the-bride, Madge got her hat out; Nell Mangle making eyes at Harold Bishop; pretty-in-pink bridesmaids Jane Harris and Lucy Robinson… and lets not forget Charlene in that dress! In a gown that rival’s Lady Di’s in terms of memorability, Charlene’s wedding dress didn’t disappoint. It was very full on 80s: a huge skirt, sheer gigot sleeves with Chantilly lace, high Edwardian-style neckline, the organza, the tulle, the rose detail not to mention the dress taking on a slight peachy-pink hue. This dress was busier than the bride’s mother with so much going on. And that’s before we get to the 1980s gypsophilia in her hair.  All that was missing was the 100 metre train! It may seem a little dated now but at the time, I bet many real-life brides-to-be took inspiration from Charlene’s gown and there’s no denying that outdated or not, it’s still beautiful.

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As UK viewers were 18 months behind episodes in Australia, fans already knew that Scott and Charlene had got hitched; saw the dress, and we knew who was in the wedding party due to British newspapers and magazines delighting in revealing every detail about the wedding which was hugely anticipated by the media to become the wedding of the year. The were wrong – it went on to become the wedding of a lifetime.  But the coming together of this storyline was devised for less than romantic reasons: apparently viewers back in the 80s weren’t cool about seeing an unmarried couple living together (oh how times have changed!) But had it not been for these complaints, we wouldn’t have witnessed the greatest TV wedding of all time.

Scott and Charlene: two of the hottest characters in Neighbours

Scott and Charlene: two of the hottest characters in Neighbours

 

To say that Neighbours was huge back in the 1980s is a bit like saying that Australia is a bit on the warm side! Neighbours-mania had struck England harder than any meteorite could and two of the show’s biggest stars were… the bride and groom themselves, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. In fact it’s arguably due to Kylie’s pop career that the success of the show skyrocketed. Was there a girl anywhere who didn’t want to copy Kylie’s perm (the ‘Rachel’ cut of the eighties) and marry Jason Donovan? Was there a boy who didn’t want to have Donovan’s surf hunk looks in the hope of catching a Kylie lookalike for himself? I didn’t think so!

As the fans remember Kylie and Jason: performing Especially For You

As the fans remember Kylie and Jason: performing Especially For You

 

It was also well-documented that Kylie and Jason were a real-life couple would have delighted fans and left them heartbroken in equal measure (I was definitely in the heartbroken camp and couldn’t understand why Jason wouldn’t wait for me to grow up!) But whereas Scott and Charlene are still happily married and living in ‘Brizzy’ with two kids, Kylie and Jason didn’t last the course, although they are still friends and delighted fans with a one-off musical performance last year.

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When I watched it as a kid, I was just in awe of seeing ‘Kylie and Jason’ getting married and admiring the all-important dress but it’s only when I watched it again when I was much older that I realised just how moving it was: a young couple overcoming the disapproval of their families who feared they were too young to commit; their closest friends and family gathered to witness the impending nuptials; Charlene’s walk down the aisle with her brother, Henry; the way the couple gazed at each other as they said their vows; tears from the mother of the bride, Madge Ramsay… and who could forget Angry Anderson’s Suddenly that played as Scott and Charlene said their vows? That song has become a classic and will forever be synonymous with the wedding episode.

 

Aussie rocker, Angry Anderson

Aussie rocker, Angry Anderson

 

 

You have to watch it just to understand how brilliantly awesome it was in a classic 80s kind of way. There’ll never be another soap wedding like it.

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Happy anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Robinson!

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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Childhood Legends, Our Idols, TV Shows

 

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Comfort Food#11: Good Old Rice Pudding!

Image from cookingwithalison.com

Image from cookingwithalison.com

 

I love rice pudding – immensely! As a small child, I was quite fussy when it came to food and didn’t really eat it then, but I did get through bowlfuls of the stuff when I was in my teens. It got me through GCSEs, A levels, two degrees, heartbreak and hunger pains – especially when I couldn’t be bothered to cook. Unfortunately,  I was hopeless at trying to make it myself; my one attempt was a bit of a disaster so I stuck mainly with Ambrosia’s tinned rice pudding. Or Marks and Spencer’s if I wanted to push the boat out!  And the shop bought stuff is still as equally delightful as the home made variety.

 

Image from afridgefulloffood.typepad.com

Image from afridgefulloffood.typepad.com

And then I don’t know why but rice pudding just disappeared from my life! I mean I still indulged in the odd tin of Ambrosia but it wasn’t like before when I really guzzled the stuff. I can’t quite remember what happened to my rice pudding addiction. I can only assume it was because my sweet tooth which is in serious danger of overdosing on sugar was tempted away from this simple and humble pudding by more fanciful desserts. It just didn’t stand a chance in a world of salted caramel and tropical fruit flavours!

 

It took Les Dennis’ appearance on Celebrity Masterchef to remind me of how much I’d once loved rice pudding. I wondered if it was still as delicious as I remembered it to be. I mentioned it to Hubby who couldn’t remember ever tasting a rice pudding even once. This comes as no surprise as he’s a fussier eater than I ever was!

Pulut hitam from Malaysia Image from mommycookin.blogspot.com

Pulut hitam from Malaysia
Image from mommycookin.blogspot.com

 

Only one way to find out. So the next day I took myself off to M&S and bought a large tub of it for myself. Forty minutes after taking it out of the oven, I dug in. It was like nutmeg-laced, creamy heaven on a spoon! It was delicious, warm and comforting… everything a rice pudding should be. They don’t call it comfort food for nothing and it really hit the spot. I wondered why and how I’d gone so long without it. And this classic nursery pud is perfect now that the cold, dark nights of winter are drawing closer.

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Everyone remembers rice pudding from their school days. Bland milky slop with a blob of strawberry jam in the middle. the best thing about it was stirring the jam into the rice pudding so that it turned pink. Even then I don’t think I took more than a few mouthfuls before confining the lot to the slop bucket. I’m sure this memory has stayed with many people over the years which explains why it may not be everyone’s favourite. Rice pudding has been around since Victorian times but even then it was considered economical, bland, ordinary fare served to infants and invalids. Another common dislike about rice pudding especially baked rice pudding, is the lovely skin that forms on top. Definitely not a firm favourite with me but I know that for some people, it’s considered to be the best bit.

A better looking version of school dinner rice pudding! Image from palattable.blogspot.com

A better looking version of school dinner rice pudding! Image from palattable.blogspot.com

 

However, skin or no skin, rice pudding these days is anything but bland and boring and has come a long way. Cooks are very inventive these days when it comes to rice pudding. Different varieties of rice can be used instead of the classic pudding rice. It can be cooked on a hob or baked in the oven. Egg yolks can be added to give it a more custard-like flavour and consistency. And then there are the million and one ways in which you can flavour your rice pudding. The traditionalists may prefer to stick to nutmeg although vanilla seems to be quite common as well. Bay leaves, lemon zest, cinnamon, dried fruit, candied peel and brandy are also becoming quite popular. In fact I came across a recipe which contained brandy-soaked raisins and was then topped with a meringue before being baked. Definitely sounds like my kind of rice pudding! And I absolutely love Les Dennis’ idea of using mascarpone which is something I’d never heard of but it sounds delicious. All these different ways  of cooking rice pudding means that no two puddings are the same and should help eradicate the image of gloopy school-dinner rice pudding.

Kheer from India. Image from bluejeangourmet.wordpress.com

Kheer from India. Image from bluejeangourmet.wordpress.com

 

And let’s not forget that rice pudding is virtually universal with so many countries having their own version of this dish. My favourite comes from Malaysia and is known as pulut hitam. It is made using a purple variety of rice. It is flavoured with coconut and a fragrant leaf called pandan. Truly scrumptious. I like the fact that countries around the world are very adventurous with their flavourings using rosewater, saffron, pistachios, ginger, anise and date syrup. It all sounds very exotic and inspiring in giving us new ideas for flavourings.

Baked rice pudding. Image from  www.evernewrecipes.com

Baked rice pudding. Image from http://www.evernewrecipes.com

 

I’m so glad I’ve become reacquainted with rice pudding. Now as we’re having cold, wet weather, I like nothing more than curling up in front of a telly with a good movie and a bowl of yummy, hot rice pudding. I think it has something of the cornflake factor – you really do forget how great they taste! So here’s a recipe for rice pudding which sounds scrummy: spiced orange rice pudding. With Christmas fast approaching, I thought it sounded very appropriate. Hopefully after trying this you’ll never suffer the trauma of another school dinner nightmare again!

Spiced Orange Rice Pudding

Image from co-operativefood.co.uk

Image from co-operativefood.co.uk

 

Ingredients

  • 150g basmati rice
  • 1 litre skimmed milk
  • 250ml single cream
  • 75g caster sugar
  • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • You will need a lightly buttered oven-proof dish.

Recipe method

Pre-heat your oven to 160C/gas mark 3.

Pop the milk, cream, caster sugar, orange juice and vanilla into a saucepan and gently bring to the boil over a low heat.

Meanwhile pour the rice into the buttered oven dish along with the nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and orange zest, fold the spices into the rice.

Pour the hot sweet milky mixture over the rice, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon after 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes until most of the liquid has absorbed into the rice.

Leave to cool slightly and serve with a dollop of your favourite preserve. If you like a crispy skin on your rice pudding you can always pop the pudding under a hot grill with a little dusting of icing sugar until it browns.

Serve with your favourite preserve. Enjoy!

gingham-apron-pie-lady2

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Nostalgia Tastes Like This!, Recipes

 

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