Daniel MacPherson, a former Neighbours actor, has expressed his regret about the show’s cancellation after 37 years on the air.
After weeks of speculation over the show’s future, Channel 10 confirmed on Thursday that Neighbours will be canceled after its main backer, UK broadcaster Channel 5, indicated they would not renew their contract.
The show’s production firm, Fremantle, was unable to acquire a new UK broadcaster, and the last sequences will be shot in June.
Daniel, who played Joel Samuels from 1998 to 2002, paid tribute to the show that launched his acting career on Twitter.
“Now I know there are some pretty important happenings going on both here in Australia and around the world right now, that certainly need our attention. But I’m gonna pour a wee drink in honor of the show that gave me my start,” he said.
Daniel reminisced on how he got his role on the serial, revealing that he auditioned after discovering an acting manager when he was just 16 years old.
“I left to go back to school… I never thought much about it again and HSC was coming up later that year. The night before my 2nd last HSC exam, I get a call saying they’d written me role-playing.. well.. myself. ?,” Daniel shared.
Daniel traveled from Sydney to Melbourne three months later, at the age of 17, to begin filming scenes for the soap that would subsequently propel him to national renown.
“I knew nothing. NOTHING. [Neighbours actor] Andrew Bibby asked me what I’d done before (meaning what acting work) and I answered “triathlons” with a smile,” Daniel revealed, adding that he shared many similarities with his character Joel.
“I spent most of my time in Melbourne from 17 to 21 running around in Speedos, or some form of Lycra. With various versions of basically a blonde perm (and nipple ring – since departed) but slowly I learnt a bit about acting. Toadfish Lance & Joel almost got a spin off – no s–t.”
The 41-year-old then went on to thank his co-stars on Neighbours for teaching him the ropes when he first joined the cast.
“Ann Charleston taught me that if I arrive on my call time, I’m late (still use that on to this day), Tom Oliver taught me not to sit in his chair the greenroom. Ian Smith taught me plenty. What a gent. He was a good father figure for a few of us youngsters,” he said.
“I say I grew up in Sydney, but because of Neighbours I did my ‘growing up’ in Melbourne, and eventually London. It set me off on an adventure that is still going to this day, 25 years later.”
Daniel said that he tried to leave the show after nearly four years as Joel, but was persuaded not to by the executives.
“I was pulled into an office by the producer and the [executive producer] and in a last ditch effort to keep me, they told me I should stay to work on my craft, that I wasn’t a good enough actor to go out and make it in the ‘real’ world,” Daniel said.
“25 years later, I still remember sitting in that office, being told by two old guys that I wasn’t gonna make it. Little did they know they were sparking up a fire that would become the adventure of a lifetime. Thank you gents. Truly.”
Daniel went on to thank the crew for their hard work over the years: “You were the foundation of that place and its longevity. Thank you all. To the generations that went ahead of us. You paved a way for us in Aus, London & LA… thank u.”
The Logie Award winner also expressed gratitude to Neighbours fans around the world for rallying in recent weeks to keep the show afloat.
“To the fans – all over the world – I can’t tell you that adventures that have come from being on a show aired for years in 76 countries (at the time) that made for some of the most incredible memories of my life – and I’m pretty sure many of the cast alumni will say the same,” he said.