ENTERTAINMENT
19/03/2020 4:31 PM AEDT

Neighbours' 35th Anniversary: 10 Batsh*t Storylines That We Promise Aren't Made Up

As the Aussie soap celebrates 35 years on air, we're looking back at the times things got absolutely wild on Ramsay Street.

Considering it’s set in a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburbs of Melbourne, you might have thought Neighbours took a slower approach when it comes to drama.

Not so. 

In fact, Ramsay Street has seen its fair share of absolutely batshit crazy storylines over the years. 

Among the usual affairs, domestic disputes and hatches, matches and dispatches, there have been some moments that make even Footballers Wives look tame

In celebration of the Aussie soap’s 35th anniversary, we’re looking back at the most ridiculous of the lot...

1. The plane crash

During the mid-2000s, Neighbours storylines got rather heightened, with one particular plot to celebrate the 20th anniversary proving to be divisive among fans. 

It saw Lassiters owner Paul Robinson charter a joy flight to Tasmania in honour of the hotel’s 20th birthday, with many Ramsay Street residents on board.

Network 10
The Bishop family was killed off in the Neighbours plane crash

However, disaster was awaiting them, as a mystery assailant had planted a bomb on board. 

After it went off mid-flight, it caused the plane to crash into the Bass Strait, leaving the likes of Paul, Izzy Hoyland (Natalie Bassingthwaighte), Elle Robinson (Pippa Black) and Susan Kinski’s (Jackie Woodburne) lives in danger. 

It killed all three members of Harold Bishop’s family, with son David, daughter in-law Liljana and granddaughter Serena all missing at sea with their bodies never recovered. 

The disaster prompted mild-mannered Christian Harold to attempt to strangle Paul, blaming him for his family’s death.

Network 10
Harold attempted to strangle Paul

It was later revealed that Paul’s evil son Robert was actually responsible for the bomb, as he had been seeking revenge on his father for abandoning him as a child. 

He had spent months exacting his plan while in Erinsborough, posing as his twin Cameron, who he had put in a coma to stop him from foiling his plans. 

2. Steph and Toadie’s sham marriage

There had been an attraction between mechanics Steph Scully (Carla Bonner) and Lucas Fitzgerald (Scott Major) for years, but when it finally looked like they were about to get together in 2009, Steph caught best friend Libby Kennedy (Kym Valentine) kissing him, following a breakdown in her marriage to his brother Dan (Brett Tucker). 

Hurt, Steph ended up having sex with Dan and later discovered she was pregnant with his child, leaving her worried about how the truth would destroy her friendship with Libby. 

Network 10
Steph and Toadie staged a fake relationship after she fell pregnant by her best friend's husband

She confessed the truth to best mate and ex-fiancé Toadie Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney), who agreed to help by faking a relationship with her and telling their friends and family the baby was his.

Toadie suggested the pair get married to make their lie look more convincing, but their wedding upset his ex-girlfriend Sonya Mitchell (Eve Morey), with Steph later letting her in on the secret. 

However, after Dan was involved in a motorbike accident, Steph confessed the truth to him, but the conversation was recorded by dastardly Paul Robinson, who then exposed the sham by playing the recording in the pub to all the locals, including Libby.  

The fallout was the catalyst for Steph’s first departure from the show, which saw her suffer from post natal depression and end up in prison after knocking down local lad Ringo Brown (Sam Clark) on her motorbike and killing him. 

3. Fake Dee

Network 10
Madeline West played two characters at the same time in 2019

Every Neighbours fan remembers how tragic bride Dee Bliss (Madeline West) seemingly met a watery grave on her wedding day when husband Toadie accidentally drove their car off a cliff in 2003.

Nearly 14 years later, “Dee” was back on Ramsay Street, having returned from the dead, claiming to have suffered amnesia after the accident.   

However, it turned out she was actually a Dee look-a-like called Andrea Somers who was trying to con Toadie out of his life savings. 

Her true identity was revealed after Toadie had given into his resurfaced feelings for Dee and slept with her in a London hotel, as his horrified wife Sonya accidentally watched on via Skype.

Channel 5
"Dee" returned to Ramsay Street in 2017, but was actually a con woman called Andrea

It was later revealed that Andrea was pregnant from her encounter with Toadie and gave birth to a son, but was sent to a psychiatric ward after suffering a mental breakdown. 

Months later, Andrea’s mother arrived in Erinsborough posing as a nanny called Alice, embedding herself in the Rebecchi household with a plot of getting rid of Sonya in the belief it would bring Toadie and Andrea together.

Alice was exposed after attempting to kill Sonya, who ended up dying for real months later after being diagnosed with cervical cancer. 

Network 10
Andrea's mother posed as a nanny and tried to kill Sonya

But in another complicated twist, Madeleine then ended up playing two characters at the same time in 2019, when Dee really did return from the dead (she’d been living covertly up the coast as a woman called Karen for 16 years after witnessing a gang murder) for a clifftop showdown with Andrea. 

It was later revealed the two were actually twin sisters separated at birth by a misguided nun. 

Network 10
Dee and Andrea were finally brought face-to-face

4. Finn Kelly

Finn Kelly arrived in Erinsborough as the former flame of Susan’s niece Elly Conway (Jodie Ansta), becoming a teacher at the local high school. However, it quickly emerged he was hiding a sinister side. 

Network 10
Finn Kelly has made multiple appearances since 2017

Plotting to win Elly back and oust Susan as principal, he groomed pupil Xanthe Canning (Lilly Van der Meer) into helping him. He interfered with Susan’s MS medication, leading to her hospitalisation and his promotion. 

When his true colours were exposed, he went on the run before later being arrested. But months later, he was back on the show out for revenge against Elly and Susan.

Posing as a disabled man called Patrick, he was revealed as the boyfriend of Elly’s sister Bea (Bonnie Anderson) who had no idea of his real identity. 

Network 10
Finn returned dating Elly's sister Bea

After a number of weeks laying the groundwork, he lured Elly, Susan and Bea into a shipping container, locking them in and leaving them for dead, before disappearing again. 

Months later, he returned again when Bea found him hiding out at a cabin. After Susan and Elly rushed to her aid, the women had a clifftop confrontation with him and Susan ended up pushing him off the edge in self defence, leaving him in a coma.  

After it was later revealed Finn had planted canisters of cyanide in the school air vents, in an attempt to kill all the staff and pupils, Susan came close to smothering him in hospital. But when he woke from his coma, Finn was suffering from amnesia, believing himself to be 19 years old. He was also a different character, and did not remember various traumas that had turned him into the twisted man he was previously. 

Network 10
Susan tried to smother Finn

He escaped prison when evidence was lost in a police fire, and was then invited to live at the Kennedy household, with the family believing he was no longer a threat to society. 

Following this, he continued to live on Ramsay Street for a number of months, embedding himself in the community, and even embarking on a relationship with Bea. 

Sadly, memories of his evil self began to resurface when he experienced growing feelings towards Elly, placing him in inner conflict as he wrestled with his two personalities. But the 35th anniversary episodes will see him no longer able to suppress his former self, as he exacts revenge when a group of locals head to a remote island to celebrate Elly’s birthday, with three characters set to be killed off... 

5. Susan’s amnesia

Amnesia had been used as a plot device on Neighbours countless times before Finn Kelly (it famously explained Harold Bishop’s five-year absence after he was believed to have been washed out to sea), with Susan Kennedy experiencing it herself back in 2002.

A kitchen accident saw her slip on some split milk, with her coming round believing it was 1972 and the night before her 16th birthday. 

 

Struggling to accept her family, her surroundings and even the way she looked, Susan set off in pursuit of finding her teenage boyfriend having told Karl that she didn’t like him. 

After months of therapy, slowly some small memories started to return, and she fell in love with Karl once again. 

As the pair married again in front of their family and neighbours, Susan’s memory returned and she was able to recite her original wedding vows.

6. Libby’s transformation  

Network 10
Kym Valentine (left) and Michala Banas both played Libby in 2008

After actor Kym Valentine had to take an extended period of time off due to health issues in 2008, bosses were left panicking as the character was central to a number of plots that were unfolding at the time. 

But rather than place them on hold, they recast the character with McLeod’s Daughters star Michala Banas taking over the role while Kym recovered. 

The final episode before the Christmas break that year saw Libby as one of several characters involved in a school rafting expedition. The cliffhanger saw the character going under the water, as played by Michala, with Libby then resurfacing as Kym when the show returned in the new year.

7. Bouncer’s dream 

One of Neighbours’ most surreal scenes ever saw beloved Ramsay Street pooch Bouncer taking centre stage, as viewers entered his mind during a dream sequence.

It saw the Golden Labrador dreaming that he’d married Border Collie Rosie, who lived with Clarrie McLachlan’s (Frederick Parslow) next door.

During an interview, Anne Charleston (who played Madge Bishop) said that the “whole cast was mortified” about the storyline at the time. 

“It reduced it to a three-year-old’s programme. It was very strange,” she said.  

8. Callum’s parentage

In 2008, producers had planned for Toadie to adopt a child from Indonesia, but changed their minds and decided to introduce a young tearaway for him to look after instead. 

Soon after, 10-year-old Callum was adopted by Toadie after his gran, who had looked after him since he was six, decided she was no longer capable of caring for him.

Network 10
Toadie and Callum

The following year, Toadie and Callum adopted a Labrador puppy that needed to be trained as a guide dog, which introduced dog trainer Sonya Mitchell, who Toadie embarked on a relationship with. 

After a few bumps in the road, Sonya and Toadie were happy and settled when her sister Jade turned up, threatening to expose a secret from her past. 

It was later revealed that Sonya was actually Callum’s mother, who had abandoned him as she battled alcoholism and drug addiction.

This came as a huge surprise to fans, as there had been no clues pointing to Sonya’s real identity when she first arrived on the show – in fact, some character history had to be hastily rewritten so the plot could work, suggesting the development had not always been planned.

9. The balloon crash

Recently-released criminal Jacka Hills was on the warpath after Ned Willis (Ben Hall) slept with his wife Regan, and set about taking revenge against him and his family in 2016. 

Network 10
2016 saw Ramsay Street residents involved in a balloon crash

His plan was to sabotage the gas canisters on a hot air balloon his step-mum, Lauren Turner (Kate Kendall), sisters Piper Willis (Mavornee Hazel) and Paige Smith (Olympia Valance) and ex-girlfriend Elly Conway were set to enjoy a ride on. However, Regan also boarded the flight at the last moment.

The balloon crashed mid-flight, leaving the women fighting for their lives. 

After bailing out of the balloon early, Paige was found by love interest, priest Jack Callaghan (Andrew Morley), suffering from hypothermia and taken to in a nearby shed to warm up – and warm up they did, as they ended up having sex and conceiving a baby. 

Network 10
Jack and Paige had sex in a shed amid all the drama

As some background, Jack and Paige’s relationship had been rather complicated prior to this, as she’d met him as a handsome stranger just moments before a gas explosion ripped through Lassiters Hotel, which killed her half-brother.

Jack was left with amnesia (of course, this is Neighbours after all), not knowing his identity. Paige had helped him through trying to regain his memory, but was stunned when he later remembered he was a priest and put a stop to their growing attraction. 

10. The tornado

A tornado ripped through Erinsborough in 2014, with several key characters placed in the centre of the action.

Long-standing character Lou Carpenter’s (Tom Oliver) life was in danger after the winds caused the roof of the coffee shop to collapse on him, leading to Susan Kennedy having to perform an emergency tracheotomy with the aid of her husband, Dr Karl, on the other end of the phone.