Neighbours yesterday unveiled its new-look backyards (as first revealed by TV Tonight), part of a million dollar makeover by FremantleMedia Australia.
Cast were joined by Fremantle CEO Ian Hogg, TEN Drama execs Rick Maier, Fremantle Drama Exec Jo Porter, Producers Richard Jasek & Alan Hardy, and media.
Producers have built 3 full-size backyards and rears of Ramsay Street households Numbers 22, 26 and 32. This gives producers year-long access to spaces that were limited due to tenants living in the location at Pin Oak Court.
“Neighbours is all about families and communities. At the centre of that is the Great Australian Dream, our homes, our backyards and our BBQs,” said Hogg.
“We’ve taken the homes of Ramsay Street and we’ve relocated them a couple of hundred metres down the road. What that does is allow us to sets.
“It’s probably the biggest change to Neighbours that I can remember in a very, very long time. It’s a big investment and I know for the writers it gives them greater flexibility and ultimately these programmes are about great stories and great casts.”
Hogg also announced another sale to Danish broadcaster DR on tops of its extensive territorial deals already in place.
Rick Maier said the Nunawading site was now the biggest backlot in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We’ve worked on shows at Movie World, Docklands, FOX. There’s nothing like this,” he said.
“We’re very grateful, Channel Five is very grateful and we’ll see the return on air with the fabulous production values of this show.”
Maier also said that the 28 year history of the show puts it within the DNA
“You cannot walk around in TV and not bump into someone who’s been through this show.
“It’s not just culturally overseas, it’s within the DNA of the Australian film & TV business.”
The homes are “half-houses,” only photogenic from the rear. In the case of one house it proved near impossible to match 30 year old bricks, and each one had to be hand-painted. Cameras will also need to avoid shots of the former 0-10 building (also known as Wentworth Detention Centre) and transmission tower.
But these are impressive-looking spaces that will greatly facilitate future storylines.
The first appearance of the backyard sets will hit screens in May.