Everybody needs good Neighbours... especially in their football team

STAR PLAYER Guy Pearce, right, at Waterlooville FC in 1991 with Steve Pearson, below
STAR PLAYER Guy Pearce, right, at Waterlooville FC in 1991 with Steve Pearson, below
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IT’S been an Aussie institution on our TV screen for 30 years.

But one of Neighbours’ early stars once left the small screen behind to grace the football field in Waterlooville.

Guy Pearce – who played Mike Young in the Aussie soap before achieving fame in Hollywood – joined fellow Neighbours actors Stefan Dennis, who still plays Paul Robinson, and Fiona Corke, his then on-screen wife Gail, to take part in a charity match at Waterlooville FC.

The 1991 game in aid of Mencap was organised by a team of fundraisers including Steve Pearson.

On the day the Neighbours actors formed a team with media all-stars from news organisations across the south including 
The News and Wave 105 to play against an ex-Pompey XI. The veteran team included Colin Sullivan, Peter Ellis, Keith Blackburn, John Phillips and Pat Neil.

Now, with Neighbours this week celebrating its 30th anniversary, organiser Steve has recalled the visit.

He said: ‘I think the ex-Pompey players won something like 6-4 as they had more players than we did and were obviously professionals.’

Steve said that both Guy and Stefan donned their football boots to give as good as they got.

‘I remember that Guy was good as he said that he played Aussie rules football at school,’ said Steve. ‘He was very fast and fit.’

The organisers decided to get Neighbours stars involved when the show was at the height of its popularity.

‘It certainly pulled in the crowd as we sold around 1,000 tickets which was brilliant,’ added Steve.

‘I’m not sure how much we raised on the day but I can remember it being 
in the hundreds.’

After the match, players and guests had a reception at Warners Holiday Camp in Hayling Island.

Pearce has enjoyed a successful post-Neighbours career, including starring in Hollywood films including Memento and LA Confidential.

Neighbours facts

- Since Neighbours launched in 1985 it has been watched in more than 60 countries.

- If you were to watch all the episodes back to back it would take you 147 days.

- The wedding of Scott and Charlene (Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue) in November 1988 was watched by 19.6 million people in the UK.

- There have been 15 births, 34 deaths and 41 marriages in the 30 years.

- Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy) has filmed more episodes – close to 5,000 – than any other actress on the show.

- Ramsay Street is an actual street called Pin Oak Court in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.