When we think of Australia’s greatest exports, alongside Steve Irwin, cold pints of Fosters, and Hugh Jackman, there sits two titans of television: Home and Away and Neighbours. These Aussie soaps have been keeping us Brits entertained for decades – and have become as important to our TV schedules as Blue Peter and This Morning.

But which is the better Aussie soap – Home and Away or Neighbours? There’s only one way to find out; let’s break down each soap, to take a look at their highlights!

Expect blood as Home and Away battles it out with Neighbours.

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Home and Away

alf-stewart
Image: ©Seven Productions

OK, let’s kick off with Home and Away, which has been in production since 1988.

The theme tune

Let’s start with something pretty iconic – Home and Away’s theme tune! Home and Away has a FANTASTIC theme tune.

The theme (You and I belong together…) was written & composed by Mike Perjanik and is as good today as it was back during Home and Away’s peak (aka the ‘90s).

You won’t find a better soap theme on the telly! And you can name as many soap themes as you like, but you’ll not beat this one.

Location

Up next is the location of Summer Bay, which has surf, sea, sand… and a caravan park that practically the whole town has lived in.

You also want murder, gang violence, car crashes, gambling, and a good ol’ fashioned Aussie BBQ? Well, you can have all these things and more in Summer Bay, and still find time for a chat with Irene.

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Bobby’s ghost

One of the most iconic moments of Home and Away’s entire history is the moment when Bobby’s ghost came out of a fridge!

A ghost… out of a fridge!

AMAZING!

Even if you don’t know who Bobby is, just think about the idea of a deceased character returning to the soap… via a fridge.

You don’t get TV like this anymore. You also don’t get many fridge ghosts.

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Ailsa’s ghost

Want something better than Bobby’s ghost? How about the ghost of Ailsa Stewart, haunting husband Alf?!

OK, so technically Ailsa wasn’t a ghost, there was something a little more sinister going on here. Ailsa’s resurrection was actually due to an undiagnosed brain tumour.

The tumour caused Alf to see and hear his dead wife, and the more time they spent together, the more he wanted to continue living the illusion. It even reached a point where Ailsa tried to convince Alf to ignore medical help, simply so they could be together… forever… if you know what I mean.

Strewth!

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Legendary characters

Don ‘Flathead’ Fisher, Marilyn, Pippa, Sally, Irene, Leah, Dag Dog… oh, I could go on. Of course, no mention of legendary characters would be complete without another nod to Alf Stewart.

Actor Ray Meagher has played Alf Stewart since pretty much the dawn of time, making Alf the longest running cast member in Home and Away history.

Stone the flamin’ crows!

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Star power

And finally, over the years Home and Away has provided a platform for some top acting talent to emerge, including Chris Hemsworth, Heath Ledger, Dannii Minogue, Julian McMahon, Isla Fisher, Melissa George, Luke Mitchell, Ryan Kwanten, Craig McLachlan and Guy Pearce! Not bad going, ay?

Hmm… Home and Away seems to have this in the bag! Is there really any point in looking at what Neighbours has to offer?

Really?

Oh, alright then.

*Whispers*

Like it’ll make a difference…

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Neighbours

Paul Robinson
Image: ©Freemantle

Onto Neighbours then, which has been on the air since the Jurassic era. Maybe even longer.

Let’s see what it has to offer.

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The theme tune

The Neighbours tune (Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…) might not be as good as the Home and Away tune, but it’s still pretty iconic, right?

Composed by Tony Hatch, with lyrics by Jackie Trent, the Neighbours theme captures the essence of the show, which is great! Plus for many it reminds them of bunking off school and going to their nan’s to watch Neighbours at lunchtime.

Location

I’ll make this very, very simple: Erinsborough (the fictional setting of the show) is an anagram of Neighbours. The writers added a couple of extra letters, but…

That is PURE GENIUS!

This anagram is actually much better idea than just calling your beach town Summer Bay.

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Scott and Charlene’s wedding

Where were you when Scott and Charlene got married? I bet you can remember it like it was yesterday.

Not only was Scott and Charlene’s wedding a truly iconic moment in Neighbours’ history, it was also one of the most iconic moments in ‘80s pop culture history!

The hair, the cheesy romance, the dulcet tones of Angry Anderson’s ‘Suddenly’ playing over scenes of Madge getting all emotional… what more could anyone ask for?

Oh, and a gazillion Brits tuned in to watch the nuptials. OK, so it wasn’t a gazillion, but it was almost 20 million viewers, which is simply incredible.

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Bouncer’s dream

Putting aside Scott and Charlene’s wedding for one moment, arguably the greatest TV moment ever (certainly in Neighbours’ history) was when Bouncer the dog had a dream – and we got to see the whole mind-bending thing!

Yep, Neighbours had a plot about a dog and his dream.

As storylines go, Bouncer’s dream was even more bizarre than the time the Pet Shop Boys randomly turned up on Ramsay Street.

Or the time that Toadie had sex with a woman who claimed to be his dead ex-wife…

…and then that awkward sex session was streamed live on a webcam to his then current wife…

…who has since died!

This was an actual storyline. Seriously, it really happened.

I’m not making it up.

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Legendary characters

As with Home and Away, Neighbours has some proper legends, from Helen Daniels and Harold Bishop to Lou Carpenter, Karl and Susan Kennedy, Sheila, Toadie, Mrs. Mangle, Scott and Charlene and of course Paul Robinson.

Paul actor (and one-time singer) Stefan Dennis is the show’s longest running cast member having been with Neighbours from the start (albeit with a break between 1992 and 2004). This makes him soap royalty.

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Star power

And finally, Neighbours has launched the careers of many famous Aussies, including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Margot Robbie, Holly Valance, Delta Goodrem, Natalie Imbruglia, Alan Dale, Jessie Spencer, Russell Crowe (sort of), Craig McLachlan and Guy Pearce! What a cast!

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Hmm… so which soap is better?

Damned if I know. One soap gave us a fridge ghost and Heath Ledger, and the other soap gave us a dreaming dog and Margot Robbie!

It’s up to you to decide which is best. I’m watching both.

If you’re a fan of Neighbours, then you might like to know that select episodes have been released on DVD. Including the iconic episode of Scott and Charlene’s wedding.

And for the 30th anniversary of Neighbours, way back when, the show released Neighbours: The Stars Reunite, where actors past and present discussed the show. The DVD can be purchased on Amazon UK, where it is usually reasonably priced.

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Disclaimer: I earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

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