Recently on this diary I was rather critical of Neighbours for being all about lesbianism and incest and, in essence, nothing like as good as it used to be.
How delightful, then, to accidentally find myself watching it at lunchtime yesterday and to discover that the production team appear to have taken my criticisms on board; for the episode in question was absolutely bloody brilliant from start to finish, to the extent that it might have come from the glory days of the late 80s. It contained a jilting at the altar, no less than three apparent deaths, a woman discovered to have seemingly smothered her Grandfather to death with a pillow when in fact she didn’t, the return of an old character and the coffee shop burning down, taking Lou’s pub with it as it combusted.
It has been over a decade and a half since the coffee shop (in those days Daphne’s coffee shop, of course) burned down. That time, the cliffhanger was the coffee shop exploding with Des inside it; I was enraged when my parents wouldn’t let me watch the following episode because we were halfway through watching Monte Carlo or Bust! (a very mediocre film, as I remember) so I missed the spectacle of Harold daringly rescuing Des and had to make do with a picture of it in the Radio Times.
Yesterday’s episode more than made of for my fifteen years of regret. If anything, it was a better fire than the last one, coming in the midst of so many other improbably melodramatic events and being apparently deliberate (whereas the last fire only started because Sharon was foolishly trying a cigarette and didn’t put it out properly). And this time rather than rescuing anyone Harold possibly caused a man to be killed by making him go back for Madge’s recipe book! Brilliant!
And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, who should wander on and have a grim look at the fire but Paul Robinson, ex-manager of Lassiters and general bigamist from the oft-mentioned glory days of the 1980s!
I was so excited that I nearly dropped my cup-a-soup.