Neighbours: Ramsay Street homeowner hopes for heritage status

A Ramsay Street lover from Yorkshire who owns two properties on the renowned Australian street is supporting a proposal to award it heritage status.

The announcement that the long-running TV opera will end after 37 years left Andrew Whitney “devastated.”

Mr Whitney, a native of Melbourne who now resides in York, is backing a council move to designate “Hollywood Down Under” as a heritage asset site.

He explained, “It’s a 37-year-old film set, so course it should be maintained.”

Toadie ‘Toadfish’ Rebecchi and Paul Robinson have lived in the 46-year-old entrepreneur’s houses, which also served as the setting for Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell’s growing love.

Mr Whitney, a self-described “big admirer” of the show, said he put “a good million dollars” (about £550,000) into Pin Oak Court, Vermont South, where the show has been taped since 1985.

“When Neighbours stops, I’ll still own two lovely properties on a lovely street, but a couple of hundred cast and crew workers will be out of work,” he remarked.

“I wish we could persuade Fremantle [Neighbours’ production firm] to sell the show to a TV subscription service.”

The soap, which has helped establish the careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Guy Pierce, and Margot Robbie among others in Hollywood and music, will conclude this summer.

Following the revelation that UK broadcaster Channel 5 was canceling the show, leaving a financing vacuum after nearly 9,000 broadcast episodes, the soap’s producers made the announcement.

The set is in a part of Melbourne that is under the jurisdiction of Whitehorse City Council, which is now preparing a report to seek heritage preservation because to its international cultural significance.

“Of course it has to be heritage listed, it’s a living film set and it’s Hollywood Down Under,” said Mr Whitney, who bought 6 Pin Oak Court in 1998 and 3 Pin Oak Court in 2013.

Neighbours was initially broadcast in Australia on BBC One in 1986, and was set and filmed in Melbourne.

“It shouldn’t really be about what happens to the houses on Ramsay Street; we should be asking how do we keep these folks working,” Mr Whitney said.

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