NEIGHBOURS, everybody needs good neighbours, with a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend…

After 37 years, that familiar theme tune will soon be no more because time has been called on the Australian soap opera that introduced fresh-faced Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, otherwise known as Charlene and Scott.

And while that momentous piece of showbiz news might be devastating for some, I won’t be shedding any tears because, quite frankly, it brings back too many painful memories.

You see, when Christopher, the first of our four kids, was born in 1990, he was a terrible crier. As first-time parents, we were at the end of our tether, and the only way to placate him was to play the Neighbours theme tune.

I can only assume that, while I was at work, his mum had watched a lot of daytime telly during her pregnancy, and that Neighbours was a particular favourite.

As a result, Christopher had got addicted to the soothing theme tune while he was in the womb.

Many's the time, in a desperate bid to get him off to sleep, either me or my wife would have to burst into a rendition of that irritatingly catchy song. Sometimes, we'd perform a very tired duet.

Understandably, my wife would plead for a complete break from both the crying and the theme tune, and, so, I’d find myself driving round Darlington with Christopher in his baby-seat, and a recording of Neighbours playing on repeat on a cassette.

Over time, I worked out that, on average, it took eight plays of the song to get him to stop crying and another three to make him nod off. Then, just as I’d pull up outside the house at 2am and turn the music off, he’d immediately start bawling again.

This went on for at least a year, so it’s anyone’s guess how many times I had to either sing it or listen to it. Indeed, I don’t know how much Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent made in royalties for writing the bloody thing, but it’ll have been nowhere near how much I spent on petrol.

So, there it is. Neighbours will be broadcast for the final time in June. It may well be a sad moment for many – but not for me.

I simply ask for a little understanding…of why I’ve grown to hate the theme tune so much that, if it happens to be played on the radio, I break out in a cold sweat, shake uncontrollably, start to dribble, and have to switch it off.

It was never the perfect blend for me. But, funnily enough, Christopher – now a dad himself – still loves it.


DID you know? The Australian suburb where Neighbours is set was originally going to be called Erinsfield but was changed to Erinsborough because it’s a loose anagram of Neighbours.


IT was a great pleasure to be asked to speak to Hartlepool Tangent the other day. Great company and good food at the Twisted Ginger.

Thank you to one of the members, Anne Gale, a retired teacher, for telling me about the difficulty she once had with a naughty boy called Jack.

“Sit down, Jack!” she told him when he started misbehaving. However, the boy continued doing as he pleased.

“Jack, please sit down,” she repeated in a louder voice, but still to no avail.

“SIT!” she ended up shouting – and a little girl at the back of the class added: “Good dog.”