Picks and Pans Review: Viewer's Choice
EVER WONDER WHAT THE QUEEN IS DOING TONIGHT OVER IN JOLLY OLD ENGLAND? Probably watching Neighbours. The Queen Mum is so enamored of this Australian soap opera that a few years ago she flew the cast to London for a command performance. The half-hour serial about three households on a suburban cul-de-sac, a smash in its own country as well as in England, is also reportedly a favorite of Princess Di's. Recently stations in Los Angeles and New York City began showing the soap. If it does well, you can expect to see it in your vicinity too.
The show stars Alan Dale and Barbara Billingsley—look-alike Anne Haddy; it also helped launch the careers of singers Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. With its blend of middle-class turmoil, humor and romance played out by a handsome, youth-freighted cast, Neighbours most closely resembles a downscale version of our own Santa Barbara. While American soaps are popular the world over, imported sudsers—EastEnders, for instance—haven't caught on here. The casual charm of this Aussie entry, though, is habit-forming. Two out of three monarchs agree.