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.
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but at the time, I bet many real-life brides-to-be took inspiration from Charlene’s gown and there’s no denying that outdated or not, it’s still beautiful.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Happy anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Robinson!