7 scandals behind the scenes of Australian soap operas

Neighbors‘ Harold will return for the final episode before the show’s cancellation. (Channel 5)

There’s been a (mild) screen scandal in Australian veteran soap operas Neighbors and At home and awaybut that never quite matched the scandals that played out off-screen…

Neighbors is canceled after being dropped by channel 5

Harold, Charlene and Scott are back.  (Fremantle)

Harold, Charlene and Scott are back. (Fremantle)

The biggest scandal of all came when Neighbors found itself canceled after 37 years on screen, as UK broadcaster Channel 5 decided to drop it from its programming. There has been a flurry of activity to try and save the beloved soap opera, but no other UK broadcaster is secure, Neighbors just couldn’t afford to continue and filmed its final episode in June 2022. The finale included cameos from former stars Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce. Channel 5 head of programming Ben Frow was asked by Radio Times if he could have invested the money in the soap to save it and replied: ‘Yes. Or I could spend the money on other things, which I decided to do. I can better pass the Neighbors money on British broadcasts.

Read more: Kylie and Jason reissue “Especially For You” to mark the end of Neighbors

Alan Dale Gets Fired – Neighbors

Alan Dale played Jim Robinson from the start.  (Neighbors)

Alan Dale played Jim Robinson from the start. (Neighbors)

As Erinsborough patriarch Jim Robinson, Alan Dale was a fixture on Ramsay Street. Until he was unceremoniously fired and his character written out with a heart attack after eight years. This was apparently after the show’s management overheard him complaining to a co-star about the show’s salary, which at the time was said to be $600 a week. “I kind of cracked up on the fact that when we started doing Neighbors [in 1985]we were paid the same price as when I was doing The young doctors [which he starred in from 1979-1983]“, he told TV Week. He continued to make it big in the US, on shows like CO and 24and movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldierso maybe it was a fluke.

Dieter Brummer vs. Melissa George – Home and Away

On screen, Dieter Brummer’s Shane and Melissa George’s Angel were teenage lovers. Offscreen, not so much. The couple hated each other and he says he asked the show’s producers to kill off his character so he wouldn’t have to deal with his diva behavior anymore. “Mel was incredibly ambitious from the start,” he told Woman’s Day. “I think she wanted to be the next Kylie Minogue. She was a big fan and she aspired to be a big star, just like Kylie. I don’t think she had much time for the casting of At home and away.” Dieter also courted scandal. He was charged with assault in 2012, after getting into a fight with bouncers in 2012 outside a party at the Logie Awards party.

Read more: The Most Married Soap Characters on TV

Shane Connor’s Drug Shame – Neighbors

Shane Connor played the role of Joe Scully.  (YouTube/Neighbors)

Shane Connor played the role of Joe Scully. (YouTube/Neighbors)

Connor played Joe Scully in Neighbors (seen above with his on-screen family) for four years, but was fired in 2003 after written and verbal warnings from producers about his drug use. They claimed his problem with amphetamines was at the root of alleged aggressive behavior on set, falling asleep on the job, absenteeism and filming delays. Connor admitted to using drugs, but denied behaving aggressively or unprofessionally, taking Grundy Television to court for wrongful termination and loss of income. He was awarded damages of over £84,000 in 2005.

Jay Laga’aia and Alleged Racism – Home and Away

Jay Laga'aia at the ANZAC Day Dawn service at Dee Why, Sydney

Jay Laga’aia has spoken out against the removal of his character. (Getty)

New Zealand actor Jay Laga’aia has been dropped from his role as At home and away‘s Rev Elijah Johnson in 2012, but railed against producers, saying he was a victim of racism. He took to Twitter, lambasting the writers, saying, “As someone who lost their job on HA because they couldn’t write two ethnicities that weren’t together, I would like the chance to practice my craft freely. The ‘two ethnicities’ remark is believed to relate to him and longtime actor Ada Nicodemou, who is Greek Cypriot. “Jay’s comments are offensive,” a Channel 7 spokesperson said in retaliation. “We have a lot of respect for Jay and his work on At home and away over the past two years. It is insulting to suggest that At home and away is racist.

Rob Mammone “spoke the truth” – Home and Away

Rob Mammone played Sid Walker.  (Channel 5/YouTube)

Rob Mammone played Sid Walker. (Channel 5/YouTube)

Matrix Reloaded and Matrix revolutions star Rob Mammone played local doctor Sid Walker in At home and away from 2010 to 2013, but was written out, including after he publicly criticized the show on Twitter for handling a cancer story regarding his on-screen son-in-law. He claimed he was forced to rewrite some of his own scenes to make them more believable. He told fans he was fired for “speaking too often for the truth”.

When Brad sued Flick for breach of contract – Neighbors

Australian soap star Holly Valance clings to her notes as she leaves the Supreme Court followed by a member of her legal team in Sydney September 17, 2003. Valance is being sued by her former manager Scott Michaelson, who claims having discovered the former Neighbors TV soap opera star as an aspiring 15-year-old actress.  Michaelson is suing 20-year-old Valance, alleging breach of contract and lost opportunity after he was dumped as manager when Valance began a career as a pop singer.  REUTERS/Will Burgess pp03090090 WB

The case ended up in court. (Reuters)

Brad Willis was the handsome surfer played by Scott Michaelson in Neighbors, who in real life became the manager of Holly Valance, who played Flick Scully on the show, embarking on her budding pop and modeling career. He even pocketed her role in the soap opera. However, he sued her when she let him go 15 months before the end of his contract. Michaelson alleged that while he was at a solarium convention (obviously), she courted record companies in London without him and got a record deal. The video for her single “Kiss Kiss” was even shown in court. Michaelson won the case and was awarded substantial damages.

Watch: Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan reunite on Neighbors Position