24 January 2009

Neighbours: '80s Tales From Ramsay Street - Part 1

Mrs Mangel (Vivean Gray) as she appeared in a classic "Neighbours" opening sequence - on the look-out for granddaughter Jane (Annie Jones) and any juicy items of gossip!

Mrs Mangel enjoyed having Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) as a lodger and was, secretly, jealous of his relationship with "that Ramsay woman". In this scene, Mrs Mangel, in a shameful lapse from her usual lady-like manner, has just whacked Madge (Anne Charleston) with a rolled-up newspaper, been whacked in return, and burst into tears. Onlookers are Madge's son, Henry (Craig McLachlan) and Harold Bishop - both aghast.

Mrs M. was finally carried away by brave Englishman John Worthington. He married the old trout and brought her to live in England. Weren't we lucky?! Ramsay Street was never the same. Taking Nell's place as resident Mangel was her son, Joe (Mark Little).

Henry Mitchell/Ramsay was an "ex-crim" (gaol bird) but when he arrived in Ramsay Street we quickly discovered that he was really a good hearted lad, just given to crazy schemes and whacko ideas. Henry was a gardener for a time and sought true love, but the path of romance was strewn with boulders. He had a tough time of it before meeting the right girly - one Bronwyn Davies (Rachel Friend).

Danny Ramsay (David Clencie) was in the show from the start and was one of the mighty Ramsays of Ramsay Street. Or WAS he? It was soon revealed that Danny's father was NOT loud-mouthed head-of-household Max Ramsay at all. Max was memorably played by the late Francis Bell.

Scott Robinson - skate boarder, trainee journalist, mullet head, boyfriend, and then husband, of Charlene...

Hilary Robinson (Anne Scott-Pendlebury) was an interfering cousin of the Ramsay Street Robinsons who sometimes visited and stirred up trouble. Nosey, prim, proper, and highly correct at all times in manner, Hilary is seen here with Gail Robinson (Fiona Corke). The prime snooper has just stumbled upon the fact that Paul and Gail have separate bedrooms, but the couple manage to put her off the scent about their marriage of convenience.

Pretty in candlewick? Charlene (Kylie Minogue), seen here on the morning of her wedding, is all set to be a beautiful bride.

When you weren't watching the Ramsay Street goings-on on the telly, you could relive them in book form. These hardback editions of two of the Carl Ruhen novels were published in the UK by the Leisure Circle Ltd in 1988. Zany doctor Clive Gibbons (Geoff Paine) is featured on the cover of "Unsolved Crimes" (left) - remember the golden days of his chicken and gorilla-gram service? With him is studious coffee shop employee Mike Young, played by the English actor Guy Pearce. "Family Matters" shows the Robinson family, with the original Lucy (front), played by Kylie Flinker.

Madge at the Waterhole in 1988 - the olde English milkmaid look. Or something.

Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver) was in town (for the first time during the series) to woo his childhood sweetheart Madge and wind-up his old adversary Harold...

... or "Jelly-belly", as Lou liked to call him.

But Lou needed to be wary - after some speedy instruction from Tony Romeo (Nick Carrafa), Harold knew karate! Or so he said.

A quick tussle, a lucky punch, and wallop - Lou went staggering backwards - straight into the path of Ramsay Street's 1980s horror bag Mrs Mangel, then fell to the ground, out cold. Madge rushed to the rescue whilst Mrs Mangel squawked: "Mr Bishop - a gentleman like you!"

Harold briefly basked in his victory...

... but nobody was impressed, quite the reverse. Lassiter's assistant manager Gail Robinson offered Lou a shoulder pad to cry on and was very disappointed with Harold. Never mind - Harold won Madge's hand in the end.

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