The makers of Neighbours have announced that two of the soap’s most beloved characters, Madge and Harold Bishop, will return to the show to mark its 30th anniversary, ITV reports.
Their return is particularly surprising given that Madge Bishop died on screen in 2001 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
It is not yet clear how the pair will reappear, though the long-running soap has previous experience of surreal interludes, particularly the infamous ‘Bouncer’s dream’ scene, which went deep into the dog’s subconscious mind. Harold also experienced his own dream sequence, in which he became the Earl of Doon of Scotland and the rest of the cast became peasants grovelling at his feet.
“It was an immediate yes when I was invited to return for the 30th anniversary, I wouldn’t have missed it and I’m thrilled with the way their story unfolds,” says Anne Charleston, who played Madge.
This will not be the first time the couple have made a dramatic reappearance in the programme. In 1991, Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) was presumed dead after he was swept out to sea while walking on a coastal path. He returned to Erinsborough five years later, when Helen Daniels discovered him working in a Salvation Army shop, suffering from amnesia.
The creators of the show say Charleston and Smith are the first in a “number of celebrated past cast members” to return to the programme for its anniversary in March next year. They are currently filming their scenes at the studio in Melbourne.
Charleston joined the soap in 1986 as the mother of Kylie Minogue’s character Charlene. Speculation that the pop star may also appear in the programme were denied by the singer earlier this year. “It’s just not happening,” she told ITV.