TV

Remembering Scott and Charlene's iconic Neighbours wedding

Celebrating 31 years since Australia's favourite TV couple tied the knot.

By Thomas Mitchell
Scott (Jason Donovan) and Charlene (Kylie Minogue)

The first thing that strikes you is Scott's hair.

High, mighty, a little unruly – a mullet perfect for 
a 1980s TV marriage. Then you notice Charlene's dress. Dramatic sleeves, too many flowers, all the frills.

We're talking about "the wedding of 
the century" the moment Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan) and Charlene Mitchell (Kylie Minogue) got hitched.

It's been 31 years since Neighbours fans held their breath as their favourite couple walked down the aisle.

When it aired on July 1, 1987, it was billed as the TV event of the year. 
Next week, another historic wedding episode is set to air.

In a heartwarming episode of Neighbours, Aaron (Matt Wilson) and David (Takaya Honda) will tie the knot in the first same-sex marriage to air on Australian television since last year's YES vote.

To celebrate the upcoming episode, TV WEEK relives the magic from another special day on Neighbours.

The hype

After Scott and Charlene got engaged – in a gutter, no less 
– the countdown was on for 
the couple's wedding.

"The build-
up was amazing – something we've never seen before," Jason Herbison, the current executive producer of Neighbours, says.

Fans followed Jason 
and Kylie, whose love on screen was rumoured to 
be mirrored in real life, everywhere they went.

Scott and Charlene were Australia's golden couple.
Scott and Charlene were Australia's golden couple.

"They did a nationwide tour; they were megastars," Jason laughs. "They went to shopping centres, performed together in front of screaming fans – it was all-consuming."

Neighbours was a phenomenon in the 1980s. The show's popularity peaked with Scott and Charlene's wedding, as two million Australians watched the event unfold.

When the episode aired in 
the UK in November 1988, 
19.6 million people tuned in 
– the nation's third-most-watched program that year.

Not bad for a couple of star-crossed lovers from Erinsborough.

The wedding made the cover of TV WEEK in June 1987.
The wedding made the cover of TV WEEK in June 1987.

The dress

Every Neighbours wedding is defined by the dress. But none is more memorable than the one Charlene wore on her big day.

"It was perfect for the time," Nicholas Wakerley, the show's costume designer, recalls.

"There was a lot going on – 
frilly details, waistbands with flowers, chantilly lace. It was the '80s summed 
up in one fabulous mess.

"I know Reg Watson [Neighbours' creator] wanted the wedding to be 
like a fairy-tale. They really did that 
with the dress."

The wedding party: Guy Pearce, Annie Jones, Jason, Kylie, Craig McLachlan and Sasha Close.
The wedding party: Guy Pearce, Annie Jones, Jason, Kylie, Craig McLachlan and Sasha Close.

Choosing the right frock for such 
a big occasion is no small feat.

"A lot goes in to picking the right 
dress for the character," Nicholas explains. "You're being pushed and pulled in so many directions. 
But Charlene was young and cool 
and so was that dress – at the time."

The original dress was purchased 
from a small boutique, Isis Of Melbourne. It was then worked into the script, with Charlene noticing it in a shop window before Scott surprised his bride-to-be 
by buying it for her.

The dress has since become an iconic part of Australian TV history and is currently on display at the Tasmanian Museum And Art Gallery.

Congratulating the happy couple!
Congratulating the happy couple!

The song

No reminiscing about Scott and Charlene's wedding would be complete without reliving the event's theme song.

Kylie hand-picked the nostalgic power ballad "Suddenly" by rocker Angry Anderson. It became an instant classic.

"Kylie had been given a bunch of other songs – more well-known songs," Anderson, 69, recalls.

"But she reckons the moment she heard 'Suddenly', 
she knew it 
was the one."

Scott and Charlene getting ready to cut the cake.
Scott and Charlene getting ready to cut the cake.

The song rocketed up 
the charts, boosting the Aussie rock singer's fame.

"I went to the UK after it had aired, and it was crazy," he says.

"People were coming up, getting photos. Everyone knew every word. It was surreal "

In 1988, the track reached number three in the UK. Just ahead in second spot were Kylie and Jason with their duet "Especially For You".

Wedded bliss.
Wedded bliss.

The church

There was no shortage of locations 
at which to film the wedding.

But the producers settled on the Holy Trinity Anglican Church (above inset) in Doncaster, a suburb of Melbourne.After the success of the episode, it became a hotspot for tourists, and hosted several other weddings of Neighbours couples.

"We've been back there a few times, although it's undergone renovations since Scott and Charlene's wedding," Jason Herbison says.

"It's a favourite place for us to film. We've shot several weddings there, including Harold [Ian Smith] and Madge [Anne Charleston]; Libby Kennedy [Kym Valentine] and Drew Kirk [Dan Paris]; and Vanessa Villante [Alin Sumarwata] and Lucas Fitzgerald [Scott Major]."

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