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Home & Away V Neighbours

By Alex Wiggan

A couple of days ago we played a game of ‘Say what?’ which featured three classic TV shows. One of the shows we featured was Australian soap opera, Home & Away. During the game we had to recall the lyrics to the opening credits of Home & Away (we did quite well) and this got us all a bit nostalgic for the time when Aussie soaps ruled the airwaves.

So today on the Honcho-SFX blog we thought we’d rewind the clock a little to a time when Home & Away and Neighbours were not only part of most peoples’ daily schedules (**cough** they still are), but when both shows were smash hits. A time when Scott and Charlene’s wedding was the TV event of the year.

Yep, we’ve gone all nostalgic again.

But today’s blog post isn’t just any old nostalgic blog post; today we’re pitting the two soaps against each other in the ultimate battle of the Australian TV melodrama. But who will win?

Forget Batman V Superman. This is Home & Away V Neighbours.

Let the battle commence.


Home & Away opening credits

The theme tune

Let’s ease our way in with the theme tunes for both Home & Away and Neighbours; which if you grew up during the ’80s & ’90s should be pretty iconic regardless of which soap wins out.

The Neighbours tune (“Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…”) was composed by Tony Hatch, with lyrics by Jackie Trent. The Home & Away theme (“You and I belong together…”) was written & composed by Mike Perjanik. Both tunes played out over the opening & closing credits and both were accompanied by clips of the gorgeous cast frolicking in the Australian heat.

Hmm… so which one is better?

It’s a tough one as both tunes invoke nostalgic memories and both are classics in their own right. BUT… If we have to declare one a winner (and we do), Home & Away edges past Neighbours simply because the H&A tune is just so lovely. Oh it really is.

The romance… the passion… the fact it’s a ballad… all great reasons as to why Home & Away nabs the first point.

Winner: Home & Away


Ramsay Street Neighbours

Erinsborough V Summerbay

For this next round, we’re talking location, location, location. Which is best? Erinsborough or Summer Bay?

Now of course both soaps are filmed and set in Australia, so for this round we’ve had to break it down into the two distinct locations: Erinsborough (Neighbours) and Summer Bay (Home & Away). Both are fictional locations and both have a pretty high crime rate, but one is surely better than the other, right?

Hmm… Beats us? On the one hand we’ve got Erinsborough which has been beset by fires, car accidents, corrupt mayor’s, medical malpractice and Mrs. Mangel; and on the other hand we’ve got Summer Bay which has had to contend with a siege, boating accidents, shootings, car crashes and… er… Bobby’s ghost coming out of a fridge?!

Jeez this one is a tough call. Can we flip a coin? No? Oh.

Well, Summer Bay has a gorgeous beach and a cheap-as-chips caravan park, but we’ve got to go with Erinsborough. Not only is Erinsborough an anagram of Neighbours (see what they did), but the residents of Ramsay Street are very friendly and regularly play games of cricket in the middle of the street. You wouldn’t get that in Summer Bay.

Winner: Neighbours


Alf Home & Away

Legendary status

For this next round we’re looking purely at those characters who have achieved legendary status by appearing in their respective shows… FOREVER. Or at least, it feels like forever.

For this round, we’re talking about long-running characters who are still in the show, as opposed to legendary characters who left decades ago. So we won’t be weighing up the legendary status of Jim Robinson V Donald Fisher; instead we’re keeping things quite simple.

Neighbours: Karl & Susan Kennedy, Paul Robinson, Toadie and (from time-to-time) Lou & Harold.

Home & Away: Alf, Irene, Leah and (from time-to-time) Sally.

Hmm… Another tough one. Let’s look up a few facts.

**Looks up some details**

Strewth! Actor Ray Meagher has played Alf Stewart for 28 years, making Alf the longest running cast member in Home & Away. Technically, actor Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson) is the longest running cast member across the two soaps, as he’s been with Neighbours from the start, but as Stefan quit the show in 1992 and didn’t return until 2004, Ray Meagher has clocked up more years. Well done Ray and Alf. Well done.

Winner: Home & Away



In the real world, when you die, you die – there’s no coming back; you’re brown bread. In Soap Land, when you die it is merely a temporary thing. A hiatus if you will.

Over the years, numerous cast members from both soaps, have returned from beyond the grave; often as part of a storyline related to another cast member. Noah’s ghostly return in Home & Away was designed to help Hayley move into the grieving process, while Madge’s resurrection on Neighbours was introduced to help out a slightly confused, Harold. All good resurrections and all worthy of our time. However, our all-time favourite after-life experience has to be Ailsa’s ever-so-weird, ever-so-slightly-evil reappearance in Home & Away.

Here’s the premise: Ailsa had been dead for years, yet all of a sudden Alf begins to see his deceased wife. Had she really returned from beyond the grave?

Erm… no.

The reason for Ailsa’s return was actually due to an undiagnosed brain tumour. The tumour had caused Alf to see and hear Ailsa on a daily basis and the more time he spent reunited with his wife, the more he wanted to continue living that illusion. It even reached a point where Ailsa tried to convince Alf to ignore medical help! Now if that isn’t the greatest resurrection ever, then we don’t know what is!

Winner: Home & Away


Bouncers dream Neighbours

Greatest moment… ever!

We don’t need to weigh up any arguments on this one as we already have a clear winner. And if you’re a long time soap fan, you should already know what this moment is too.

No, we’re not talking about Scott and Charlene’s wedding; we are of course talking about the episode of Neighbours where Bouncer the dog had a dream – and we got to see the whole mind bending thing!

Sorry Home & Away, you don’t even have an episode that comes close. Perhaps if we’d been given an insight into the mind of Dag Dog, things would have been different.

Anyway, there will never be anything as insane as Bouncer’s dream. It was even more bizarre than the time the Pet Shop Boys randomly turned up on Ramsay Street.

Winner: Neighbours


Margot Robbie Neighbours

Star power

Over the years, Neighbours and Home & Away have both boasted some serious talent. So for this final round, we weigh up the star power of each soap.

Neighbours has launched the careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Holly Valance, Delta Goodrem, Natalie Imbruglia, Alan Dale, Jessie Spencer, Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe (sort of), Craig McLachlan and Guy Pearce! It’s also made legends out of Alan Fletcher (Karl Kennedy), Ian Smith (Harold Bishop), Anne Haddy (Helen Daniels) and Anne Charleston (Madge Bishop).

Home & Away, meanwhile, has featured a cast that at one point has included Chris Hemsworth, Dannii Minogue, Julian McMahon, Isla Fisher, Heath Ledger, Melissa George, Luke Mitchell, Ryan Kwanten, Craig McLachlan and Guy Pearce! It’s also made legends out of Ray Meagher (Alf Stewart), Lynne McGranger (Irene Roberts) and Kate Ritchie (Sally Fletcher).

Hmm… Both shows have included a Minogue, both have showcased the talents of Craig McLachlan and Guy Pearce and both have boasted some of Hollywood’s hottest stars. So do we go with the show that thrust Harley Quinn and Jor-El into our lives, or do with go with the show that gave us Thor, the Joker and… er… Doctor Doom?

OK, let’s forget about Julian McMahon’s Doctor Doom.

Again, this is a very tough call. You know, we’re going to have to go with Neighbours, simply for Kylie, Margot and Russell.

Winner: Neighbours


Scott and Charlene

Oh dear, we seem to have reached a tie. This calls for a bonus round.


For this decider round it is pure and simple – which show has been on the air the longest?

Home & Away made its debut on 17th January 1988 (28 years).

Neighbours made its debut on 18th March 1985 (31 years) and is Australia’s longest running drama series.

Winner: Neighbours


So with a score of 4 – 3 the winner in the battle of Home & Away V Neighbours, goes to the residents of Ramsay Street! Well done to Neighbours.

Thanks for all the great memories and for bringing Lou Carpenter into our lives. We still haven’t forgiven you for killing off Todd Landers, but we’re willing to look past it on this occasion.




About the author: Alex Wiggan has written blog posts for Honcho-SFX blog since October 2014. He likes writing, eating pizza and watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sometimes in that order.


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