Neighbours twist: “We also have the unique opportunity to go back in time”

Neighbours twist: “We also have the unique opportunity to go back in time”

EXCLUSIVE:

Neighbours fans yesterday were reeling from the unexpected union of Toadie (Ryan Moloney) and Terese (Rebekah Elmaloglou).

It wildly contrasted the 2022 finale in which Toadie married Melanie (Lucinda Cowden) and Terese had rekindled with Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis).

The Fremantle team has been at pains to keep the twist under wraps until broadcast. Now that it is out in the open, Executive Producer Jason Herbison answered these questions for TVT.

With a two year time leap, he hints at “going back in time” to show fans more.

What’s behind the pairing of Terese and Toadie and how did you land on this?
JH: In doing the two year time jump, I wanted to reward the audience with a truly surprising twist. It’s very possible that two unexpected characters could fall in love during that time frame and it would make total sense if you’d seen it play out. The difference is, you haven’t seen it play out – so now we ask you to keep watching and discover how it happened. I wanted an OMG moment to kick off the new chapter and Toadie and Terese were perfect. I love that they’ve never looked twice at each other in that way. But it’s not just there for shock value – there is a deep and complex back story that underpins it. We always work hard to ground everything and ensure stories are true to character.

How did Ryan and Rebekah react to the idea?
JH: Bek screamed so loud that they probably heard her at Home and Away! But it was a great scream – she very quickly got excited and saw the possibilities. Ryan took a minute to digest it but he also saw how it could have happened. As it turns out, they have terrific chemistry and have given it their all. I never once thought to pair them in the past but there have been many times in this season where I’ve thought – why didn’t I think of this before? I will give one cryptic tease for the future: trackie dacks.

Will fans learn what happened between the four characters at the centre of the twist?
JH: Absolutely. It’s a massive story locomotive with cause and effect for many characters. We also have the unique opportunity to go back in time – what did happen during those two years?

Are there any concerns fans may not take to the idea?
JH: I’ve learned over the years that you can’t please every fan. In fact, what our audience wants and enjoys varies wildly, depending what facebook post or twitter feed you happen to read. For example, there were people who loved Paul and Terese getting back together in the finale, yet there were others who didn’t. Some people loved Toadie and Melanie as a couple, others felt the wedding was rushed. Like every storyline, I expect there to be fierce debate. Our audience research constantly tells us that viewers want to be surprised and I think this story does that in spades. It can also be true to life. I’ve had many instances where I’ve learned people are together and gone – wow, I never saw that one coming!

He added, “One of the hardest things in in my job is you can’t please everyone. We have such a broad audience, some of them have been with the show for 37 years and want something that reminds them of 37 years ago. We have newer members of the audience, we have people that have joined the show a year ago.

“At the end of the day, I just have to go with my instincts of what I think is a great comeback for the show, trying to deliver something for everyone…. with what I think is a great kicking-off point and a great hook.”

Neighbours continues 4:30pm Mondays – Thursdays on 10 (Sept 25 on Prime Video).