Neighbors have had a lot of Scottish actors over the years – how many do you remember?

As the fate of much loved Aussie soap Neighbors lies in doubt after more than 30 years on UK telly, we wanted to pay a very Scottish tribute to the show.

Channel 5 have confirmed the teatime favorite will stop airing on the channel this year and cast members are currently having meetings regarding its fate as other broadcasters weigh up the options of hosting it.

Everyone from Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan to Russell Crow and Liam Hemsworth have appeared on it, but did you know the wealth of Scots talents who have appeared on the antipodean drama?

Here are some of the most memorable Scots:

1. Neighbors star Bonnie Anderson, who played Ramsay Street’s car mechanic Bea Nilsson until last year, has a Scottish granny from Galashiels.

Talking of her grandmother Catherine Lee, Bonnie said: “My grandmother and grandfather emigrated to Australia. My aunts and my uncle on my mother’s side were all born in Scotland but, unluckily for my mother, she was born in Australia.

Bonnie Anderson is one of our secret Scots on Neighbors

“My granny’s maiden name was Medine. She lived in the Borders.

“She used to try to teach me Scottish country dancing. She did the sword dance and had many stories about being a champion.

“Grandpa’s last name was Lee and he grew up in Beith so we pride ourselves on being Scottish. His mum was a cabaret singer in Scotland.

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“My granny always says proudly that I’m an Aussie with some Scottish blood running through my veins and my mum named me after the Scottish word, Bonnie.”

2. Largs born Elaine Smith who played Daphne Lawrence from 1985-88 in the show, was born here in Scotland.

She left Largs as a baby when her parents Archie and Jean Smith emigrated to Rhodesia.

Elaine Smith who played Daphne Clarke
Elaine Smith who played Daphne Clarke/Lawrence on Neighbors

Later the family spent some time in South Africa before moving to Australia.

She latterly played Grace Carter in Home and Away.

3. Margot Robbie who is now a Hollywood star after playing Donna Freedman in Neighbors was born in 1990 in Dalby, Queensland, Australia.

But did you know her dad is of Scottish decent? Her mother, Sarie Kessler, is a physiotherapist, but her father, is Doug Robbie.

Margot Robbie’s dad is of Scots heritage

Doug’s family are descendants of Clan Donnachaidh, or Clan Robertson, and his brothers Cameron and Lachlan were given uber-Scottish names.

She admits she’s not looked into her ancestry as much as she would like to but during Mary Queen of Scots filming in Scotland she was delighted at the prospect of wearing a kilt.

4. Scotsman Jordan Smith moved to Australia’s Brisbane in 2003 when he was thirteen years old – and from 2009-2013 become a household name playing established family member Andrew Robinson in the long-running soap opera Neighbours.

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Jordan, who was born in Fife, had his character’s backstory changed to accommodate his Scottish accent. He was originally meant to be brought up in Brazil, but when producers heard him they omitted that.

He has left now and in 2020 he played William in the HBO series Lovecraft Country

5. Kaiya Jones (born 19 March 1996) is a Scottish-born Australian actress best known for playing the role of Sophie Ramsay.

She was born in Glasgow and her mother is from Coltness.

Kaiya was in the soap from 2009 to 2013 and her character was created as part of a new generation of the Ramsay family, along with her brother Harry (Will Moore) and sister Kate (Ashleigh Brewer)

She said of her time on Ramsay street: “Filming neighbors is so much fun. I just love my job and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. The cast and crew are so kind and lovely. They are practically my second family now. They’re also very patient.” [[

6. Former Ayrshire fishmonger Paul Ireland, from Ardrossan, arrived in Ramsay Street to play a top police detective.

Paul’s first big role was as Renton in the stage version of Trainspotting. The show took him from London to Australia, where he met his wife Thea.

In April 2011, I have gained the role of Superintendent Duncan Hayes in Neighbours.

He was was initially cast to play the role for thirteen episodes. but in 2013, he made a return appearance as Duncan Hayes.

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Paul said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Neighbours. It’s a great show and a terrific opportunity.”

Stefan Dennis spent a lot of time in Scotland as filmed in River City

And just as a side note: Stefan Dennis is an Australian actor and singer who plays the role of cold-hearted and ruthless businessman Paul Robinson.

I have parted Neighbors in 1993, but returned in 2004 and has played Paul Robinson ever since.

During his time away from Neighbors he was a cast member of Scottish soap opera River City and was regularly seen around the hotspots of Glasgow enjoying parties with his wife.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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