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Neighbours stars who got their unlikely big breaks from the soap – from Gladiator actor to Strictly heartthrob

A number of its youthful starlets went on to become household names, ranging from Hollywood A-listers to pop music sensations, most notably on-screen sweethearts Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.

Despite the fact that the show, which first aired on BBC1 in 1986, served as a springboard for new talent, it has now been cancelled for good, with no channel picking it up since Channel 5 cancelled it.

High filming costs and an estimated £5 million gap in advertising revenue were cited as reasons for the split by Channel 5 and Fremantle Media.

We take a look back at the performers who went on to have huge careers after appearing on Ramsay Street.

Russell Crowe

In 1987, the 57-year-old Gladiator actor appeared on the popular serial for four episodes as released convict Kenny Larkin, who was hellbent on avenging his former cellmate.

Russell admitted that he was hesitant to sign up for the show because he thought the plot was “awful,” and that he nearly passed it up.

After reading one scene in which Kenny assaulted rival Henry Ramsay before Scott tried to break it up and Charlene clung to his back and choked him, everything changed.

Russell had three minor roles in television programmes prior to Neighbours, two of which were uncredited, according to IMBD.

He landed a succession of career-defining roles after leaving the show, including L.A. Confidential, Gladiator, and A Beautiful Mind.

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie is now well-known for her roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as Suicide Squad, The Wolf of Wall Street, and I, Tonya, yet she was virtually unknown in 2008.

She starred as Donna Brown in Neighbours for three years till 2011, following which she received her first American role in Pan Am, a flight thriller.

The actress, 31, has gone on to get three BAFTA nods for her roles as Queen Elizabeth I, murder victim Sharon Tate, and a Fox News employee in the United States.

Dave Bautista

Dave Bautista, 53, of Guardians of the Galaxy fame, is another Neighbours veteran who has made it big on the other side of the Atlantic.

He transitioned to acting after years as a WWE wrestler, using his last name, courtesy to a cameo on the Australian soap.

He interacted with real-life wrestling fans Toadie and Callum during his 2009 appearance.

The role may have aided him in landing major roles in James Bond films such as Spectre and Blade Runner 2049, as well as the Marvel franchise, including the Avengers films.

Natalie Imbruglia

Natalie, 47, played sex abuse survivor Beth Brennan on Neighbours for two years till 1994, before embarking on a musical career that won her 10 million album sales.

By leaving Erinsborough, she had a few acting roles, but she rose to fame as a singer after singing the 1994 Danish song Torn in 1998.

The song went to number one on the charts and became her most popular hit from her seven albums.

Liam Hemsworth

The hunky Hemsworth brothers are no strangers to the Australian serial, with Luke making his debut as Nathan Tyson in 2001 and his brother following suit shortly after.

Liam, 32, played Josh Taylor, an athletic paraplegic who fell in love with Bridget Parker after she became paralysed on one side of her body due to a car accident in 2007.

He’s now gone on to star in TV shows, most notably the sci-fi fantasy picture Westworld, and in Marvel films as ‘Thor Actor,’ imitating his brother Chris.

Holly Valance

Holly Valance, 38, is most known for her infectious Noughties song Kiss Kiss, but she was also a regular on Neighbours before her musical success.

She joined the cast as Felicity ‘Flick’ Scully in 1999 when she was 16 years old and stayed on the show until 2002.

Holly returned to Ramsay Street three years later to repeat her role for one episode before moving on to music, where she had three number one singles.

She has dabbled in acting on several occasions, including in the film Taken, the American prison drama Prison Break, and as a participant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. She is currently married to Nick Candy, a wealthy British businessman and Tory fundraiser.

Guy Pearce

Guy, a 54-year-old English singer and actor, had his breakthrough in 1986’s Neighbours as disturbed kid Mike Young, who was abused by his father.

He was on the show for three years before starring alongside another former Neighbours star Russell Crowe in L.A. Confidential, which earned him critical praise.

Guy has since appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Memento, The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech, Prometheus, Alien Covenant, and Iron Man 3 as well as Christopher Nolan’s Memento.

Delta Goodrem

Delta, now 37, signed her first recording contract when she was 15 years old, but it wasn’t until she played Nina Tucker in Neighbours that she was able to break through.

From 2002 through 2005, she was a regular on the serial, and she went on to release songs including Born To Try, Innocent Eyes, and Lost Without You.

She was engaged to Brian McFadden until their engagement broke in 2011, and she began seeing Nick Jonas a month later. Since 2017, she’s been married to musician Matthew Copley.

Jesse Spencer

Jesse, 42, had a few roles before landing the role of Bill Kennedy in Neighbours, but his career never appeared to take off before his 11-year run on the Australian serial.

He played Triton Jr in an episode of Hercules, played Neal in the film Uptown Girls, and even voiced Flynt in a video for Action Man toys, but he never became a great name.

He got the part of Dr. Robert Chase in Hugh Laurie’s medical drama House because to Neighbours, which he featured in from 2004 until 2012.

From 2014 till last year, his main part was Matthew Casey in an emergency services drama series called Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Fire.

Adelaide Kane

While the excellent production crew of Neighbours scouted several of the cast members, Adelaide acquired her part in a slightly different way.

She was cast in the sitcom after winning a magazine competition, and she played Lolly Allen for 45 episodes in 2007.

She went on to play Ethan Hawke’s daughter in the 2014 horror film The Purge and has had other recurrent TV appearances since leaving the show.

Adelaide, 31, has acted in shows such as Teen Wolf, Power Rangers, Reign, and Once Upon A Time, where she played Cinderella’s step-sister.

Alan Dale

Alan, 74, was a founding member of the Neighbours group, playing patriarch Jim Robinson from 1985 until 1993.

However, after leaving the show, the actor failed to obtain work in Australia because of his soap character’s continual typecasting.

Thankfully, Alan relocated to America, where he was cast in major television shows such as 24, The O.C., Lost, and Ugly Betty.

Bella Heathcote

Bella, now 34, played Amanda Fowler in the drama for ten episodes in 2009 and has been quite busy in Hollywood since then.

She starred opposite Johnny Depp in the films Dark Shadows, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, and Fifty Shades Darker in 2017.

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