Page last updated at 07:47 GMT, Friday, 1 May 2009 08:47 UK

Harold bows out of Ramsay Street

Harold Bishop (Ian Smith)
Ian Smith said he wants to travel more now he has left the show

Neighbours' longest-standing character Harold Bishop will leave British screens for the final time later - 22 years after his first appearance.

Actor Ian Smith, 70, joined the Australian soap in 1987 and became a firm favourite with fans of the show, before being written out in 1991.

In 1996, Harold made one of the great soap comebacks and returned suffering from amnesia after an accident at sea.

Friday's episode will see his friends reminisce over his time on the street.

Smith told Australian TV channel Ten the reason he wanted to leave was to travel more.

"We're going to fly off the twig before we drop off it," he said.

He said the discovery of the show by an international audience in the 1980s was a "wonderful, exciting time" for the cast.

Bumbling Harold, who has already left the show in Australia, has been one of the soap's most loved characters.

Last year, the soap moved from BBC One to Five in the UK.

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