Monday, 23 April 2012

Everybody needs good Neighbours - part 1

I took so many photos on my trip to Melbourne last month, I have never had enough time to sit down and post them up... so need to get this out of the way before my big trip to America this week.
While in Melbourne, I went on the Official Neighbours Tour, because it was a show I grew up with in the 80s, and I like "behind the scenes" or "backlot" tours, because it feels like you are part of the TV universe.
It's just so surreal, being so familiar and surrounded by props and settings that you know are fake, and yet, there they are... real enough to touch.

So it was actually last year that I found out about the Official Neighbours Tour, thanks to the commercials on Network 10 (not of the Tour itself, but of some radio personalities interviewing foreigners on the Tour). Since I go down the the Annual Toy & Hobby Trade Fair in Melbourne each year, I made a mental note to do this. It was just annoying that I only found out about it a matter of weeks after last year's trip to Melbourne, so would have to wait a whole year until I could do it.
Even more frustrating - when I looked up the Tour online, and found the office/starting point of the Tour (where the bus departs), it was like, right where I had been staying each year when I go down there for the Toy Fair. Literally, 20 meters away from one hotel I had stayed at two years ago, and about 100 meters away from the other hotel I was at last year. I mean, I know I've walked passed the office each of those years, and sat outside eateries across the road to it, and NOT ONCE did I ever notice the big "Neighbours Tour" signage...
The office is for various Victorian Tours, but their feature one is the Neighbours Tour, and I never once realised, in the three preceding years I was "living" on that block, that the Neighbours Tour existed.
I can only assume that it was only new there since last year, otherwise I should have seen it on a previous year, and signed up to it.

Ah well, after getting over the "OMG I am such an idiot" moment, a month out from my trip to Melbourne this year I booked a seat on the Neighbours Tour.
But since they had two different daytime tours (weekdays only goes to the street - weekends go to the street AND studios), I wanted... sorry, I HAD to go on the weekend tour, as the street itself didn't sound that interesting (if I really wanted to, I could just go to it myself - access to the studios was only possible through the Official Tour).

However, the Toy Fair this year was in the middle of the week instead of the weekend (typical - of all years I could benefit from being down there on a weekend, the Toy Fair suddenly changes its traditional schedule to not include the weekend).  Fortunately I hadn't yet booked airfares or accommodation, but I did have to change the dates I got off from work, as I was moving the entire trip forward by one day.

So yes, my whole trip was adjusted to suit the ability of me going on this tour, before the Toyfair started on Tuesday.. which was better than extending the trip from Tuesday to the following weekend.

When the time came, and I arrived in Melbourne on Sunday 4th of March, I checked into the hotel, changed and dashed around the corner with just minutes to spare to check in at the Tour Office.
The Bus pulled up and the dozen of us waiting hopped on.
The tour begins by driving out to the actual School they used during the 80s & 90s as Erinsborough High, but could no longer film there after a Law was brought into Victoria that prohibited unauthorised filming of children under 16 (and it would be too time consuming to gain permission from every student's parent).
As such, I didn't take any photos.

The next stop was at the Studios, which will be shown in Part Two.

Then we ended up at the Street itself. 
Ramsey Street, Erinsborough.
Otherwise known in the real world as Pinoak Court, Vermont South.

Our Tourguide, leading us up to the middle of the cul-de-sac.

This street was chosen for it being next to a park and adjoining carpark, which the studio could use for all their vehicles and equipment when filming scenes there.

The "street" itself is very small, with only 6 houses on it, as you can see in the photos I took (or even on the show itself), and yet, the house numbers on the show go from 22 to 32.
All six houses are used on the show (the exteriors are used, not interiors - that's done at the Studios), and each of the owners are paid a hefty sum for their permission to film on their properties... right up to their doorways and garages.
Of those 6 houses, 3 are owned by investors (due to their value for being on the worldwide famous show - which will never depreciate now, even if the show ends). And one of those are now being rented by the Studio to store props and equipment. So the Studio is paying the owner to use the property on screen, AND, paying the owners to rent it back from them to use.

Number 22 (on the show)

Number 24.

Number 26 (the house the Studio now rents, which is why we were allowed to go right into the property/garage)
Number 28

Number 30.

And, Number 32.

And then looking back down the street.

From inside the garage of Number 26 (the house the studio is currently renting from the owner).

An interesting thing to note, the street is patrolled by security now 24 hours a day, and is closed off after dark (to stop people doing burn-outs, and breaking into properties, or stalkers looking for show characters while they are drunk - yes, we were told some amusing stories by the tour guide).
The show is earning so much from its foreign sales, than its domestic ratings (we saw it get moved to a channel that has less ratings here), they can afford spend more on things like constant security.

After about half an hour there, for all the people to get photos taken in front of the "famous" houses, or the street sign, we boarded the bus and were driven back to the City (where the Tour Office was).

The only issue I had with the tour is that the Website claimed/suggested that there would be at least one Neighbours Star on the tour... but maybe that was just the Weekday tours, when filming was taking place.
Other than that, it was worth the 60-something dollars, as I got to see a lot of things I remembered from when I last watched Neighbours as a kid, and a few of the things I see on the commercials these days for the current episodes.
It is definitely recommended, for any Aussie Child of the 80s... as very few of us escaped the decade without being drawn into something from that show at one time or another.

Next... part two - the Studio photos (it has a lot more photos, so I wanted to have all the text/story in this smaller half to even out the two posts a little).

No comments:

Post a Comment