Less than two months after its termination, Neighbours has confirmed the casting of the show’s first non-binary character.
Kathleen Ebbs, who identifies as non-binary and queer, is slated to join the cast of the show, which will premiere on 10play on May 10.
On Thursday, they announced their casting in an Instagram post, saying they were “stoked” to play Asher Nesmith.
Kathleen joked in a separate Instagram Story on Thursday that many of her pals had been asking why they were in Melbourne.
‘Now y’all can finally know why I’ve been hiding out in Melbourne. Coming for you Ramsey [sic] Street!’ they added.
Kathleen also spoke more about the significance of portraying Neighbours’ first non-binary character, admitting it had been ‘very emotional’.
‘In all seriousness being the first non-binary character to appear on Neighbours has been a very emotional thing for me,’ they continued.
‘A part of me feels the pressure but beyond that I am so grateful that @neighbours choose [sic] me to be that representation for young queer people and educate an audience of our existence. Because we do in fact, EXIST!’
They added: ‘Note: NB [non-binary] people are so different in their expression of gender and what that means to them.
‘Asher is one version of what it means to be gender diverse. I brought what I could to the character on the marker of how I view my own gender diversity.’
Kathleen also complimented Neighbours for being “in the forefront of LGBT storytelling on television,” noting that the show “not only celebrates but normalises our presence.”
‘This has been an important move for the rest of the television landscape in taking us seriously not only as artists but as people,’ they added.
The long-running soap’s production would be halted owing to budget concerns, according to a tweet posted in March.
‘We are so sorry to say that after nearly 37 years and almost 9,000 episodes broadcast we have to confirm that Neighbours will cease production in June,’ they wrote.
‘Following the loss of our key broadcast partner in the UK and despite an extensive search for alternative funding, we simply have no option but to rest the show.
‘To our amazing, loyal fans, we know this is a huge disappointment, as it is to all of us on the team. We thank you for all your messages and support and promise to end the show on an incredible high. From here on, we are celebrating Neighbours.’
In a statement to Australian media at the time, Network 10 acknowledged that ending the series had been a “tough decision.”
‘Today, Fremantle revealed that Neighbours will end production in June, following over 37 years and approximately 9,000 episodes,’ a representative for the network said.
‘This tough choice was made after an unsuccessful search for an alternate UK broadcast partner.’
They went on to say that the show would ‘not air on 10 Peach after September 2022,’ thereby ending its decades-long run.
Kathleen was critical of the Australian government for not doing more to aid with the approaching termination of the cherished TV series.
‘This government not only doesn’t prioritise the arts but we have seen doesn’t even care about the lives of queer people on an everyday level,’ they wrote.
‘Of course they didn’t step in to help the longest-running TV show in this country. One that not only provides so many jobs, and is such an important institution for young actors, creators, writers, etc., but puts queer storylines and representation at the forefront.’
They added simply: ‘It’s a real loss.’
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