Filming of Neighbours scenes with Guy Pearce and Annie Jones took place in February in the UK.
Executive producer Jason Herbison told TV Tonight how scenes were shot ahead of production in Melbourne in April and kept secret from media.
“When the news of the show’s return was announced, one of the big questions was, what will happen with Mike and Jane?: he explains.
“Fortunately, Guy was very committed to seeing the storyline through and absolutely wanted to honour their relationship and their romance, and the fact that the show had ended, with Mike and Jane together buying a house. So we came up with a storyline.
“It was the very first time the cameras rolled for the new series of Neighbours and it was actually in the UK, back in February. We shot for a couple of days with with Mike and Annie at a beautiful estate in Surrey.”
Pearce was open to scenes which revisited the Mike & Jane storylines after his appearance in the 2022 finale resonated so well with viewers.
The show’s unexpected revival meant scenes would need to pick up where the two were last seen given the practicalities of Pearce’s other work commitments.
Herbison credits Pearce for being so accommodating.
“He’s incredibly generous and very invested in the characters and their story. As he himself said, it was very emotional for him to return to the show. He’s always spoken fondly of his time on Neighbours. With this unexpected situation, he definitely didn’t hesitate to come in and see the storyline through. I think the viewers understand that Guy’s on the other side of the world and he’s very busy actor. He’s probably not going to be on the ground here week in, week out in Ramsay Street in our next series.
“But I think where we do land with Mike & Jane is a very elegant way to see them again, and honour the characters and also, sort of, set up for the future.
“It was very, very special. We were shooting at this English manor house in Surrey. It was very, very cold but it was just magical. I wrote a storyline which will play out over a number of episodes. It was just very, very special to be there with the two of them and our British crew.”
Mike Young’s screen daughter Sam (Henrietta Graham), also returns to the revived series.
According to Herbison, the secret filming across two days managed to stay under wraps from media for 7 months.
“We’ve shown we can keep some things under wraps. Other things not!” he laughs.
“We were very discreet about it. Guy even had a suggestion of shooting outside of London. I think he very quite rightly thought that we should get away from the crowds. We stayed at a quintessential British hotel out in the countryside and then shot at this amazing old house and property. We were there on our own. It was us and the birds with the odd overhead plane flying by. We kept it very quiet!”
What does it mean for Mike’s character moving forward? Does Herbison rule Pearce in or out in for future episodes?
“We definitely don’t rule out. It may not be the last you see of him, but we’ll have to let that unfold.”
Neighbours returns 4:30pm Monday September 18 on 10 (Sept 25 on Prime Video).