‘Heartbroken’ Neighbours fans farewell show

Each night, Divya Nandha finishes cooking dinner by 6.30pm, ignores her phone (although everyone who knows her already knows not to call) and settles down on her couch in Sale, in Victoria’s south-east.

The mother and former nurse, who lives with her husband, Rakesh, has built her evening routine around Neighbours, the soap she first fell in love with from the other side of the globe.

Long-term Neighbours fan Divya Nandha visited the set of her favourite show in May, when she heard it was coming to an end.Credit:Facebook

On Thursday, she’ll be among the millions of fans around the world tuning in for the last time.

And she wants to watch it undisturbed.

“Nobody is allowed to call, you know. I will not answer my phone and no one can disturb me,” she said.

The family environment and relatability of the show kept her watching, but Nandha said she preferred the older storylines.

“It could just be any of us, and it just looked so sunny and beautiful,” she said.

Nandha said she had loved watching the show with her children.

“When my daughter was born, every time the Neighbours [theme] music came on, you could see her reaction, and she would just stop and she would listen to it,” she said.

“If she was crying, she would stop and listen.”

Neighbours fans Kalina Lauer, Antony McManus, Belinda Price and Anthony Wayne will farewell the show at an airing of the last episode in Federation Square, Melbourne, on Thursday.Credit:The Age

Nandha and her family moved to Victoria in 2001, and she and her daughter kept watching the show together for years.

She said she won’t know what to do with herself when the show ends.

“I am going to be totally heartbroken, but I’ll probably sit by myself and watch it, and see if my husband can get home early, so we can watch it together,” she said.

During a recent trip to the UK, Nandha recorded the show and watched three episodes a day on her return.

Scott (Jason Donovan) and Charlene (Kylie Minogue) are returning to Ramsay Street for the finale.Credit:Network 10

Welshman Ian Golden is visiting Australia and is planning to head to a vineyard featured in the show for his 11th wedding anniversary on August 6.

He and his wife will spend their anniversary at the Panton Hill Winery, 45 minutes north-west of Melbourne, which was the setting for one of the characters who bought a vineyard.

“We’ve been to the Neighbours set before, and to the street, which I’m sure we’ll take a drive to again this time,” Golden said of his plans in Melbourne.

Other fans, such as Anthony Wayne, will farewell the show at Melbourne’s Federation Square, which is holding a public screening of the finale on Thursday.

Wayne started watching the show regularly when more LGBTQ characters were introduced and representation of people with disabilities increased.

Neighbours has been very progressive and has been a place of diversity where everyone is welcome,” he said.

He started watching every episode without fail and was even inspired to become an organ donor because of a recent storyline.

“The storylines often create awareness on important issues and send out a powerful message of acceptance and inclusion,” he said.

Some of the most famous Neighbours graduates (clockwise, from top left): Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Delta Goodrem, Guy Pearce, Margot Robbie and Natalie Imbruglia.Credit:Matt Davidson

The real estate agent said he was sad to be saying goodbye to the characters, who have become like family.

“At the same time, I really want to sort of find a way to celebrate the last 37 years of it being part of Melbourne,” he said.

He said he was looking forward to watching the finale at Federation Square and sharing the experience with like-minded fans.

“I wouldn’t want to sit at home by myself,” he said. “When you’re with an audience, you’re sharing those emotions; you know, laughing, celebrating and crying all together.

“There’s something really special about having a shared experience like that.”

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