Ramsay Street is gearing up for the wedding of the year with the first legal same sex marriage on Aussie television to air this evening.
David Tanaka (Takaya Honda) and Aaron Brennan (Matt Wilson) will tie the knot in the emotionally charged episode, married by the one and only, Magda Szubanski.
In an exclusive chat with Now to Love, actor Takaya Honda shares why this is such a significant episode and his hopes for future episodes.
For Japanese/Australian actor Takaya, the step in this direction also showcased a sense of cultural diversity, as the wedding brings together those of two different cultures.
"Once upon a time, the fact we are an interracial couple would have been the headline story," he says.
"In this instance, being the first same-sex marriage in Aussie television history means that there won't have to be other 'firsts' with this. Hopefully it becomes part of the mainstream, and we will no longer have to talk about it being a same-sex marriage, it just becomes a marriage.""To be part of something that can create significant cultural change is in itself greatly significant and I am so proud of that."
Takaya's road to Neighbours and commercial network television had not been easy as there were simply no roles to audition for.
To get a role on the hit TV show was significant for the 30-year-old and to be cast as a regular cast member and playing a half-Japanese character was even more exciting."On top of that, to be playing a character that isn't solely representative of their backgrounds and that heritage defines them in totality, it was a character that did exist as a an individual and that's in the same way as David being gay, he's never reduced on the show to being a gay character or a doctor or Japanese heritage, he's allowed to be all of those things, because that's what it is to be human, especially on Australian screens."
"Anyone who looks like me growing up won't ever think that the industry itself is reluctant against them being a part of it because there's a lot that the multicultural society in Australia can add to our TV screens that we should make more of. The stories are there and they are really interesting."
Similarly, Magda had the same experience signing on to do the episode.
In 1987, the comedian watched the landmark wedding episode between Scott and Charlene take place.
"During filming, she told us about watching the episode and thinking she'd never be able to get represented," Takaya said. "So now to be able to look back at that moment and be a part of a milestone that recognises her ability to get married, that was really special."
"Magda is iconic and at the top of comedy in Australia," he said fondly. "And on top of that she's at the forefront of the marriage equality movement. This was really the perfect storyline for her to get involved."
In the episode, Magda plays an eccentric stranger at The Waterhole who offers to step in as their celebrant when Susan (Jackie Woodburne) cancels. And with no other options, the grooms agree.
"She's larger than life," Magda, 57, told TV WEEK of her character. "But there are many shades to her."
We can't wait to see it!