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While last night’s Neighbours finally proved to be an emotional ratings blockbuster with fans, reality has today begun to sink in for the millions of loyalists who stayed glued to their screens for nearly four decades.
There is a solemn mood across Australia and the UK today, as the soap opera’s generational audiences make peace with the fact that after nearly 9,000 episodes, 68 deaths, 63 births – Ramsay Street will be on our screens no more.
However, while the plot twists and incest of Erinsborough might be coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that this is the last we will see of the Neighbours universe.
In partnership with Paramount+ and Screen QLD, the iconic TV programme’s producers can today reveal that an immediate spin-off series has been announced, and is set to begin shooting in Queensland this summer.
Titled ‘Tropical Toadfish’ – the new series focuses on Neighbours fan favourite Jarrod ‘Toadfish’ Rebecchi – and will follow his mid life transformation from a happily married suburban solicitor to a divorced bikie lawyer, living above Hides Hotel in the Far North Queensland city of Cairns.
As a character, Toadie was initially introduced to audiences troubled teenager and a “class clown” with a glorious curly mullet in the mid-1990s.
However, after an impressive purple patch after high school, Toadfish found himself chasing tail all the way to law school – eventually qualifying as a lawyer and eventually pivoting into a respected community leader within Erinsborough. Three times married, Toadie is remembered as one of the great pantsmen of Australian TV.
And with today’s announcement, it seems the rooting will continue.
Episode One ‘Tropical Toadfish’ begins in Melbourne airport, where we see an emotionally battered Toadie skipping town after his fourth divorce – which was triggered by revelations that he had committed infidelities with a group of several promo girls after a boys trip to Summernats.
With his entire family and greater Erinsborough community turning against him, the 43-year-old heads North and finds a new job working as the legal representative for an Outlaw Bikie gang in Far North Queensland.
Throughout the series, Toadie’s fashion changes dramatically, eventually adopting a Queensland ‘White Shoe Brigade’ aesthetic, with linen suits and gold chains.
Executive Producer, Billy Shakespeare says Tropical Toadfish will be more of a crime thriller than its predecessor soap opera, and he hopes fans are excited to join their writing team “on a journey of gunplay, courtroom drama, car chases, and of course – Toadie’s unbridled sexual appetite.”