In a massive week of Neighbours, not only does Natalie Bassingthwaighte makes her long-awaited return as bad-girl Izzy, old favourites Andrew Bibby and Blair McDonough are back as Lance and Stu.
The boys appear in Tuesday night's movie-length episode as guests at Toadie's (Ryan Moloney) belated 21st birthday party. And the event's 1990s theme meant Andrew and Blair spend much of their cameo wearing Teletubbies suits.
"[They were] very hot and ridiculous," Blair, 36, says of wearing the costume. "But when we're back and it's just us guys doing it, it feels normal so it was a bit of fun and we enjoyed ourselves."
However Andrew's three kids found the idea a bit confusing. "I brought a photo home of daddy dressed up as a Teletubby and they kind of thought that was a bit sacrilegious," Andrew, 37, laughs.
"[They asked] 'why would I be doing that, where are the real Teletubbies, what have I done with the Teletubby's head?' so there was a bit of explaining to do."
Despite the costumes, both Andrew and Blair were thrilled to come back for the special episode. While Blair has continued acting since leaving Neighbours in 2006, Andrew has moved on to a career as a paramedic in Sydney.
"You've got to put a lot of time and energy and sacrifice a lot of things, pursuing opportunities and making yourself available [to be an actor]," he explains. "I'd done that for 15 years and I just ran out of energy for that. I don't pursue the work anymore, occasionally there's something that pops up like this one with Neighbours and I will happily take that on."
But even though he's no longer on TV, Andrew still gets recognised as Lance "at least once a week". Most people think they know him from high school not realising they watched him every weeknight on Neighbours.
While Andrew isn't one to promote his previous career he doesn't mind talking about it, especially if it's one of his patients. "I think about it like this," he explains. "If I'm on the job and people want to have a chat about me being on Neighbours it means it's not a life and death situation so that's good."
Returning to Neighbours for the special episode wasn't just about revisiting their beloved characters for Andrew and Blair. It was also an opportunity to catch up with their good mate Ryan Moloney.
"He's such an iconic worker," Blair says. "He's been there so long it's lovely for him to have a bit of old fresh air come back in and reminisce a bit."
Andrew adds, "Getting back on set with him, I don't think we missed a beat. It was always a great easy working relationship with Ryan. I find him very funny, he's very professional and really inspiring to work with."
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Australian Women's WeeklyJan 23, 2020