These days if a soap wants to pull in big ratings they have to go all out with a big disaster. Neighbours did exactly that two weeks ago, blowing up Lassiters and killing off Josh Willis with a pole through his lung and Doug Willis with a bump to the head during Hotel Death Trap Week. However, back in the eighties, television was quite different and it was a simple uneventful wedding between two childhood sweethearts that pulled in a blockbuster 20 million viewers in the UK for Neighbours.
It all began 30 years ago on April 17 1986, when feisty tomboy Charlene Mitchell (Kylie Minogue) made her dramatic entrance on Neighbours, punching future husband Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan) after being mistaken for a burglar. From that moment on, the whole nation was hooked on their romantic rollercoaster, right up until they decided to get married.
With 20 million people watching, it felt like everyone was talking about the wedding of Scott and Charlene and my family and I were no exception. The wedding was a prestigious affair in my household with all of us glued to the screens in silence as Charlene walked down the aisle in that giant lacy dress looking like a knitted doll you'd find on top of a toilet roll.
Copyright Channel 5. Scott and Charlene's wedding attracted 20 million viewers in the UK
I was mesmerised watching my two idols marry in a fantasy fairytale ceremony, but one awkward moment had me hiding behind my cushion in sheer embarrassment. The kiss. Milliseconds after being declared husband and wife, Scott and Charlene began devouring each other like two hungry lions pulling apart their latest kill. Even watching it now I have to look away when it comes to that moment, hoping that a disapproving Mrs Mangel will throw a bucket of cold water over the hot and steamy newlyweds.
The wedding is such a big part of my childhood that it will almost certainly have influence over my future wedding. The wedding's theme song 'Suddenly' by Angry Anderson, the song that has those that know it lip-synching and air-grabbing for their lives, is non-negotiable for the ceremony. I also love the idea of having a reception back at home with a huge buffet surrounded by family, friends and neighbours (if I knew any of them of course). However, I won't go as far as growing a mullet and wearing a taffeta dress, I do have some restraint. With the finer details planned, I just need to find that elusive someone to get married to...
Nearly thirty years on, what do the kids of today think of the wedding? Will they be using it as inspiration for their own weddings far off into the future? Well that's what Ricky Boleto from CBBC's Newsround set-out to discover and it was the 'shaggy' hairstyles that came under fire. The critical 10-year-olds threw shade at the episode with comments like, 'At a wedding nowadays you wouldn't have your hair that messy' and 'did they have barbers in those days?'
Clearly these kids haven't been to East London recently. And if fashion trends continue to be recycled like they are, they'll all be sporting the same 'shaggy' hairstyles at their own weddings in twenty years time.
It looks like Neighbours is also looking to the past for inspiration, as thirty years on since Charlene's arrival, her first scene is being recycled for actress Sarah Ellen who makes her Neighbours debut this week. Sarah will play Madison Robinson, daughter of Scott and Charlene. Just like her mum she is mistaken for a burglar and ends up punching the wannabe vigilante trying to stop her.
With her Neighbours journey starting out just like her mum's, is Madison destined to find her childhood sweetheart on Ramsay Street and marry? Let's hope it's not exactly the same as Charlene's story, because that would mean marrying the man she punched, her brother. But the big question is, if she does get married, will she be wearing her mum's hand-me-down giant white lacy dress?
'Neighbours' airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5.'