‘Neighbours’ veteran Stefan Dennis may have seen young and old co-stars from Kylie Minogue to Alan Dale depart Ramsay Street and make their fortunes, but the actor who’s played Paul Robinson since the very first episode has no intention of following them.
“People keep saying, why don’t you go and jump on the American train?” he tells HuffPostUK. “But I’ve got a young family, I couldn’t uproot them.
“I’m not stupid. I’ve got a dream job, I live in a pretty nice city in Australia with a gorgeous family. Why would I want to walk away from that?
“I’ve done that before. We all do think the grass is greener, and occasionally it is, but often it’s not, it can be a bit yellower. “
Of all those who’ve gone on to do well in TV, film and music over in Hollywood and Europe, Stefan claims to have recognised the X Factor in three young castmates in particular, and it’s not Kylie nor Russell Crowe he’s talking about.
“There are three people I’ve thought, If they don’t have a phenomenal career, there’s something drastically wrong,” he says. “Margot Robbie, most definitely. Ashleigh Brewer (Kate Ramsay) is now hitting the big time in America (‘The Bold and the Beautiful’). The other one is Pippa Black, and I’m upset she hasn’t cracked it there yet.
“I don’t think I ever looked at Kylie or Jason (Donovan) back in the day and realised they’d go far, but more recently, I’ve had a different way of thinking. Suddenly I’m not the young one in the show alongside these people, I’m one of the more senior members.”
With Stefan’s seniority has come his fair share of dramatic storylines – eight weddings, five marriages, one missing leg. Despite all this, he’s convinced he has a pretty easy job – “It’s emotionally demanding, but it makes me laugh when people say it’s hard. It isn’t at all.
“What’s harder is coming here to do panto,” he reveals, as one of the many ‘Neighbours’ stars much in demand around these parts come Christmas-time. “That’s enormously draining, you have to be switched on all the time, and rehearsal time is so short. Compared with all that, Erinsborough's a breeze.”
Finally, Stefan’s favourite Paul Robinson storyline in his long history on Ramsay Street? “I can’t think of one particular plot,” he decides, “but that whole period, what I call the Izzy years (co-starring with Natalie Bassingthwaighte) – they were delicious fun.”
What about in general?
“Pretty much any scene that had the three magic ingredients – Henry Ramsay (Craig McLachlan), Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) and Joe Mangel (Mark Little). What’s not to like?”
'Neighbours' celebrates turning 30 years old this week, with some special reunion appearances by old cast members on Channel 5.