Well, I said yesterday I had nothing for N, no televisual feast of a memory to look back on, but I must have been thinking of another letter, because I so do have something for N and always have had!
A TV Show I’ve blogged about before in a different context actually. Yes today N is for…
My earliest memory of watching Neighbours (a daytime soap opera from the land Down Under) would have been during a lunchtime slot when I was off school. (It used to air at lunchtime initially before a repeat at 5:35pm was introduced in 1988 on the advice of the then controller of the BBC’s daughter!) I’m not sure why I was off school, but I have a feeling it may have been that I was ‘sick’. I would have been around 12/13 years of age and I know it was lunchtime rather than teatime as there was no one else in the house. My siblings were at school, perhaps my mum was out with my then toddler brother (possibly picking him up from pre-school) and my dad was at work, and I was watching Neighbours in my mum and dad’s bedroom. At the time they’d not long decorated their room – maybe only a couple of years previously and they had a really (to my mind at the time) plush grey carpet. (This was the 1980s!) I think they had pink curtains and basically the colour scheme of the room was very pink and grey – very ’80s indeed. The newish small portable colour TV was in their room at the time I seem to recall, although that eventually became the main TV, it certainly had by 1990, because I remember us huddled around the World Cup watching it. All this is very hazy and subject to my shocking memory of course, but once again, I’m sure my mum will set me right. (You’d think I’d do my research prior to these posts, wouldn’t you? But where would be the fun in that?!)
Anyway, this may not have been the first time I’d watched Neighbours, but it is certainly my most memorable time for believing it was when I started. I was lay on the bed, snuggled up enjoying that lovely early afternoon peace and quiet time, knowing really you should be in school doing Science or something, but instead you stumble upon daytime soap operas whilst ill. (Or pretending to be. I hated school at the time and got bullied a lot so I think I faked illness a lot. Certainly I had poor attendance in my first few years of secondary school) Anyway this soap opera was a new one on me. (Sons and Daughters had already been found as it was on mid afternoon, probably around getting home from school time) I guess this was around 1987/1988 based on where I was and the characters who were on at the time. All I know is I became hooked on Neighbours like I’d never been hooked on anything else and at the time there was only one specific reason: Guy Pearce.
Oh my goodness, I think it was instant crush love at first sight! Yes, evidently 13 was when the teenage hormones really kicked in. Guy Pearce was definitely my first real life human celebrity crush. (Mark from Battle of the Planets does not count being as he was a cartoon character.) I became utterly obsessed. For those of you who don’t know, Guy Pearce played Mike Young in the soap. Mike rode a motorbike, wore a leather jacket and was generally a bit of a loner/slight mis-fit. Just my type! Haha! My sister had a crush on Jason Donovan (as I think did most girls) however – never one for being conventional – I went for Guy Pearce. My sister could never understand it and said he had a weird mouth. I like weird! I think even on his days in Neighbours he was a little rough around the edges and I suppose that’s what I liked too. I was always obsessed with the story-lines he had with potential love interests – Jane, Bronwyn and that girl in the wheelchair whose name I can’t recall. But only because I used to fantasize (as only teenage girls do) that they were me! Hahaha! I wasn’t jealous of them. Nope, not at all!
I was devastated when he left Neighbours, though luckily he moved on to rival Aussie soap, Home and Away, for a little while a year or so later (playing a teacher who has a love interest with one of his students, but then died! Oh woe was me!) Anyway, that gave me a final fix, before I eventually grew out of my crush for him and developed a few new ones!
I collected as many magazine articles on him as I could possibly find, and posters from magazines. I had one poster from a magazine interview I especially remember which I actually used to kiss at night before I went to sleep! Hahaha! (Not that anyone knew because although, by that time, I shared a room with only my sister and as she was on the top bunk and I on the bottom, she’d never have seen! Anyway, in the picture Guy (my husband to be) was wearing a jade green t-shirt (my favourite colour – how did he know?!) and was set against a grey backdrop (very ’80s again) He wore a small hooped earring, which my mum always used to say was ‘poofy’ (different times, people, different times, don’t judge), but I quite liked it! (Mainly because I liked everything about him. He could do no wrong!)
The thing I liked most about him though were his arms! Yes, that’s right I said arms. He often posed with them folded, this poster I used to kiss goodnight was a classic arms folded pose – and I’m not surprised – he was pretty solid. He had the nicest forearms I’ve ever seen on a man, then or since. That was down to the fact he had been an amateur body-builder and fencer so I assume he kept very fit. And those arms were, of course, him being an Aussie, beautifully tanned. Although actually he wasn’t an Aussie exactly because he was born in Ely in Cambridgeshire, England a fact I have retained in my odd brain and a fact which only served to give my 14 year old self hope he would return to the mother country to marry me. (He’s only 8 years older than me – it was perfectly possible and an October birthday so naturally again – perfect!) His mum was a teacher (another fact I gleaned from my copious reading around the subject of HIM at the time), although my decision to become one had been cemented long before the crush took hold! In the interview he was talking about making tacos, and there was a photo shoot around the theme. First time I’d ever heard of tacos. I thought they were so exotic, though to this day have never tried them!
The jade green t-shirt poster was a close second to this one: which I used to gaze at constantly – no need to ask why! I think possibly it was a sticker in the Neighbours sticker album (yes, there was one) although I don’t know whether either myself or my sister owned one. It could possibly have been our friend two doors down. Being an only child she seemed to get more cooler stuff then we did. saying that, I did get the Neighbours board game for Christmas in 1988 or 1989!
At some point during the ‘obsession years’ myself and my sister went through with Neighbours (I mean we did love it for other reasons than Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce, i.e – the characters, the story-lines, the comedic moments, the sunshine aspirational suburban lifestyle so far removed from our own version of suburbia) my mum actually tried banning Neighbours for a short time. I can’t remember how long the ‘ban’ lasted – probably only a day, though to us it might as well have been a month, because we just couldn’t miss an episode. Anyway, we put posters and notes up all around the house, pleading with her to allow us to watch it again. I think one just said ‘Please, please, please, please, please”etc…etc! Not the greatest persuasive argument. She did relent actually, much to our surprise and delight. Proof, kids, you can wear your parents down with nagging, (just don’t tell my 7 year old that!) although I’m pretty sure we may have sold our souls in order to get our precious Neighbours back on!
I’d say I watched Neighbours religiously from around 1987/88 (the classic Kylie and Jason years) up until around about 1993, although I still caught it on and off for quite a few years after that. But for me it was never the same as those early days with Guy Pearce! My favourite characters were the Mangles (I loved Mrs Mangle and Joe Mangle) plus I liked Henry Ramsay as he was ridiculous. I also loved to hate Paul Robinson and liked watching the young character’s like Charlene, Scott, Jane and of course, Mike.
In 1991, when I was 15 and a half, we moved from our Edwardian terraced house, where I’d spent most of my childhood, further out into the suburbs to a cul-de-sac with much more modern houses on the street. I think they’d have only been 15 years old themselves at the time, so seemed very modern in comparison to where we’d come from. It had central heating for a start, a garage and no pantry! When I first saw the road and the house, it felt like moving to Ramsay Street to me and my sister! Unfortunately the street didn’t contain a Mike Young for me, and the house was nowhere near as spacious as those on Ramsay Street. Ho hum. Still, it was pretty cool at the time and it did feel like an adventure, as though we’d temporarily stepped into our TV screen. Until the novelty wore off of course, much like my teenage crushes.
So seems I did have something to say for N (and what’s more I’ve spent a large proportion of the afternoon looking at pictures of Guy Pearce! Awesome!)
Thanks as ever, for reading, (some of you may even have been gawping too!) We’re heading fast down the second half of the alphabet now. Tomorrow’s definitely will be a rabbit out of the hat affair for O. Catch you then! 🙂