Alan Fletcher, who portrays Dr. Karl Kennedy on Neighbours, has teased the “top secret” ending to the Australian soap after fans were crushed earlier this year when it was announced that the programme would be ending after 37 years.
After it was reported that Kylie Minogue and her on-screen love interest Jason Donovan will return to the serial that made them famous as Charlene and Scott Robinson for its final episode, more details have emerged.
Despite almost 67,000 signatures on an online petition, Neighbours, which airs on Channel 5 in the UK, will be cancelled permanently on Monday, August 1.
Fletcher, 65, who has played the role for 27 years, said he expects “some great surprises” when they film the finale since TV executives plan to bring back popular characters.
“A lot of the characters have passed away,” he told The Standard, “so they would have to come back in ghost form – the performers haven’t passed away, but the characters have.” For example, Anne Charleston, who played Madge Bishop.
“Harold [Bishop, played by Ian Smith] is returning, which is fantastic, but there are so many more – I’d love to see some of the Kennedy children return.”
Mark Little will reprise his role as legendary character Joe Mangal, which will no doubt please Fletcher, who stated, “I was always a tremendous Joe Mangal fan.” “I think he perfectly summed up Neighbours.”
Peter O’Brien, who portrayed Shane Ramsay in the first episode, will also return, as will Paul Keane, who played Des Clarke, Melissa Bell, who played Lucy Robinson, and Lesley Baker, who played Angie Rebecchi.
While Fletcher will not be having the full-fledged Kennedy family reunion he had hoped for, Benjamin McNair, who plays his onscreen son Malcolm Kennedy, will be.
After show bosses disputed a rumour that Erinsborough was about to be blown up, he admitted that even the TV cast had been kept in the dark about the soap’s finale.
“I have to admit, they’re keeping everything top secret.” “When I walk into the green room to finish the last four weeks of the show, I’m expecting some big surprises,” Fletcher remarked.
“Everyone has been voting on different ideas and laughing, but it’s all kept under wraps.”
“The ink on the final episode has practically just dry, and we have no idea how it will end, but I’m confident that whatever happens, it will be a big celebration of 37 years of a wonderful programme.”
While his time on the programme is coming to an end, Fletcher expressed his thanks for the opportunity to be a part of the cult hit.
He described his feelings as “immense joy and appreciation.”
“Actors rarely stay in the same job for more than 27 years. The beauty of working on Neighbours for me has been that I have worked nearly every day for the past 27 years doing what I love and in the craft that I love. As a result, it’s a tremendous blessing.”
Fans in the UK will get some solace in September when he tours with his stage performance The Doctor Will See You Now – The Life and Times of Dr Karl Kennedy.
“It’s an interview-based show, and my lovely wife [Jennifer Hansen], a journalist, interviews me, and she knows me better than anyone on the earth, so she doesn’t let me get away with anything.”
“I’m hoping for a lot of laughs.” I’ve got some incredible footage and loads of amazing stories from my 27 years on Neighbours.”
Fletcher’s latest track, Sorry Is The Word, a beautiful duet with Neighbours co-star Alyce Platt, marks his first step into Country and Americana music.
He’s no new to the music industry, having previously worked with rock band Waiting Room on two albums and a single.
The band has toured the United Kingdom 10 times in eight years, performing to sold-out audiences, and has had a weekly residency in Melbourne for the past 12 years.
This is a new phase for him, since his debut solo album Dispatches is due to be released later this year.
“Story telling is at the centre of what I want to do,” he stated of his new music, “and [Country and Americana] are the greatest to do that in, in my opinion.” I believe that people will be astonished.”
Fletcher will headline The Bedford in London on July 4 and the Camden Club on July 5, with further shows to be announced in due course.
The track Sorry Is The Word by Alan Fletcher is now available. Dispatches, his first solo album, will be released in 2022.