This week marks the 20th anniversary of soap opera Neighbours. To mark the event, Magazine readers have been nominating their favourite obscure characters - here are 20 of the best suggestions.
1. Mr Udagawa, the legendary Japanese businessman who seemed to spend his entire career visiting Paul Robinson at Lassiter's. The part of Mr Udagawa did not call for huge dialogue, but it was nonetheless played with a kind of brooding yet dignified menace. It's a great pity that Mr Udagawa was not asked back for the 20th anniversary celebrations, as it would have been nice to see how his career has progressed since those Erinsborough-obsessed days of the late 1980s."
Ian Kelly, Southampton
2. Josh, who was a friend of Todd's. All I can remember is that something happened to cause him to lose his sight and then he tried to pinch Todd's girlfriend.
Caroline, Woking, Surrey
3. How's about Wayne Duncan? He lived at the Robinson house, went out with Gabby Willis for a while and could open "stubbies" using only the fold between his upper arm and forearm. What a guy.
Sam Smyth, Leeds
4. Hilary, Jim's cousin - perpetually bitchy and irascible - got on everyone's nerves and was hugely funny. Appeared sporadically in the late 80s. She wasn't based in Erinsborough but somehow got Jim and Beverly together -as if Dr Bev would ever have been a friend of such an old witch!!
Matt Stephenson, Salford
5. I'd like to nominate Claire Girard, who was the naughty French exchange student staying with Madge and Harold. She got Hannah into lots of trouble and in true Neighbours style repented and became impeccably behaved before returning to France.
Beverley Phillips, Chamonix, France
6. Tony Romeo. Pronounced "Ro-may-oh". I can't remember anything else about the man apart from his name, and the way he pronounced it.
Michael Hall, Croydon, UK
7. Glen Donnelly: Jim's son that he fathered during a fling in Vietnam. Now not acknowledged as one of his children.
Laura Sleep , London
8. The American basketball player called Drew who followed Cody Willis back from the US in order to get an arranged marriage so he could run for president or something bizarre. Great character because he had the most implausible story.
9. 'Postman' who appeared only once for a brief few seconds, looked incredulous and was played by none other than Clive James. You would have thought a postie would have been a bit more svelte but Neighbours and Reality are not commonly associated. Nice one Clive
Scott, Aberdeen, UK
10. It's got to be Marleen Kratz, the mother of Lou Carpenter's late wife Cheryl Stark. Reason? For heading off on a three month cruise in the mid-1990s, never to be seen or spoken of again..
Tom Calvert, Hamstreet, UK
11. Des Clarke's mother Eileen, played by the late Myra de Groot. I remember the episode when they went to church and she sung so loudly and out of tune that the rest of the congregation stopped singing, but she ploughed on regardless. It was hysterical.
12. My favourite obscure character was Len Mangle (Mrs Mangle's husband) who never actually appeared on screen. Mrs Mangle and other characters would always have to talk to him off camera and continually come up with new reasons of why we never got to see him. Stroke of genius.
Alan, Glasgow, Scotland
13. Who can forget (apart from everyone I ask) Frank Darcy, the one-eyed artistic companion of Helen Daniels. They went for many a romantic trip to the fantastically named Bungle Bungle mountain range.
14. My nomination for favourite but obscure Neighbours character: Maria. Am I the only one to remember her? She was married to Max. Who you may ask? Max was Madge's brother. Perhaps I've nominated two obscure characters.
Jon Sheehan, London, UK
15. I liked Eddie Buckingham, played by Bob La Castra. He was an English stand-up comedian who lived with the Bishops for a while. No real explanation was given to why he arrived or, indeed, why he left.
Michael Rhodes, South Normanton, Derbyshire
(What happened to Bob La Castra? He became a Gold Coast City councillor)
16. I would have to nominate Brett Stark for his weird semi-crush on Helen Daniels and their doing t'ai chi together on the lawn (not a euphemism by the way). Or Lauren Carpenter's horse, the fabulously-monikered Chukka Mental, who nearly drove her and Brad Willis apart.
17. I'd like to nominate Vikram as my favourite obscure character from Neighbours. He worked in the gift shop at Lassiter's when Julie Martin ran it. He was always friendly, but the closest he ever got to a storyline involved his younger sister being sent away to India.
18. I remember Joe Mangel visiting a farm and finding some dotty old lady called Mary who was obsessed with her 'chooks'. Somehow she ended up living in Joe's house.
Richard Shelton, Blackwood, Wales
19. The bumbling Kelvin. Everyone thought he was a real nerd until Melanie (the one with THAT laugh) snogged him and found he had a hidden talent.
Toby Smith, Guildford, UK
20. A character called Teabag, I remember that Hannah Martin had some trouble with him or something because she kept going to the skate park where he hung out. The only reason I particularly liked him was because me and my mates all fancied him, although his part was short lived, I think he was only it for a couple of weeks.
Thanks to all those who made nominations, especially the many who suggested Dr Clive Gibbons, whose popularity disqualified him by indicating he lacked sufficient obscurity.
Add your comments on this story, using the form below.
How could nobody mention Colin? One of Ramsey Streets comedy greats. He worked in Phil's shop for a while and fell for the stuningly good looks of Marlene Kratz. If he's not random enough, how about his twin brother - Alf
PLEASE, for God's sake all of you, GET SOME THERAPY!! Move on, it's over! Just let it go!
Dr. Clive Gibbons, Southampton
What about Terry, Paul's first wife. She was on the show until it moved channel in OZ. She tried to shoot Paul as I remember...I'm sure that was used in another soap before. The other one that people don't seem to Remember was the original Scott. Before Jason Donovan took over he was play by Darius Perkins.
Daniel Faulkner, Plymouth
Personally i think Bouncer the Labrador should get a mention, he was only ever walked to the end of the street and back but sometimes his acting was better than the rest of the cast !
Claire, Whitley Bay
I would like to nominate whole family as obscure neighbours characters. Does anyone else remember The Lims, an Oriental family who moved into the street for about three weeks? I don't remember much else about them, except that the daughter was always in trouble for going against her parents wishes, and that the father was called Raymond.
Kenny Larkin aka Russell Crowe! Appeared in Neighbours as a petty thief for a couple of episodes, lived with Henry
Number 19- Kelvin. I think there may be an Aussie soap cross-over confusion happening here. I thought that that story was from Home and Away, in which the actress who played Melanie also appeared. However, it may be me that is confused!
I have the most obscure character they ever had was a six foot Red Indian statue I think called Frank. It used to belong to Rick Alessi's brother before they gave it to Lou Carpenter where it propped up his used car business before Lou took it to the Watering Hole pub with him.
Chris Irving, London
The most memorable small-part moment for me was David Bishop's first foray into Neighbours. He was introduced to Pru Watkins at Lassiters by Henry, and tried to deliver a rap:
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Pru, but it was worth the wait, 'cause I'm a real cool dud. er dude!"
Chris, Boston, USA
It has to be Basil, the original Ramsay Street dog. I will never forget when he fell off the pier and the original nasal-voiced Lucy Robinson ran to Mike (played by now-famous Hollywood actor Guy Pearce) for help, screaming "Bike! Bike! Basil's fallen in the water!". If I have my Neighbours history correct, Basil was replaced by Bouncer.
Max Wurr, Stanmore, UK
What about Alex Carter. I remember Shane Ramsey drove a girl back from a wedding and he had a crash. He escaped with minor injuries, but she was killed. Alex Carter stopped and gave him brandy to drink. As you can expect, the cops breathalyse Shane and do him for causing death through drink-driving. He then tries to find Alex Carter to provide him with an alibi. Just days before his trial, they find Alex Carter and all is saved. Alex gets a job in Lassiters bar and is hailed a hero, until Katy (brother of Todd) witnesses him burgling a house. He says if she grasses on him he will kill her parents, so she is really scared of him. She has the guts to tell Uncle Jim eventually and all the Neighbours heavy boys go after Alex Carter and he gets his comeuppance.
Matt, Hull, England
Bouncer the labrador, he even had a dream in one episode. Ok he wasn't obscure but he deserves a mention!
Paul, Guildford, UK
Does anybody remember Scouse who randomly turned up playing drums in Stonefish's living room? Obviously a backpacker who managed to blag himself five minutes of fame!!!
What about Dave Gorman?!
Jamie, Sheffield, UK
I once saw the actor who played Josh (Todd's friend) coming off a train at Bond St. underground station. I said "Are you Josh from Neighbours?" He replied "No mate!", in a broad Ozzie accent. But he looked secretly pleased that someone had recognised him.
Martin , England
Ha! Tea-bag, yeah I remember hannah martin was obsessed with him wasnt she? who was the bloke that used to run the shop? he wore glasses and was a bit of a geek. Used to love to hate him!
andrew curran, northallerton
I had no idea so many people watched neighbours!
Clive, was my favourite. He had ginger hair, lived at Lou's old place and was always a real gentleman.
I remember a Christmas special where he was in a boxing match and he got knocked out, and he had a dream about santa, and all the other people from the street were Christmas characters! I saw him in an Australian film about a year ago, and he hasn't changed a bit!
Celeste Miles, LONDON
Does anyone remember Vince, the male chauvanist who lived with the girls at number 30? His comment 'get rid of your 'saddle bags' and i might just take ya down to the beach'! was a classic.
Chris Fysh, London, UK
Who can forget(!) Chris Lowe from the Pet Shop Boys and his cameo.Driving up the street and asking for directions to a music studio nearby.
Wow, I really had forgotton all of these people, actually I barely remembered half the people who were on the 20th Anniversary show and I don't think I have missed an show in many years, although the state of my memory may be more to blame, or that I was 3 when the show started!
I'm disappointed nobody mentioned Gladys O'Grady. Whenever a stock 'old lady' was required - for instance, to sit on a park bench and deliver one line; to be a patient at the surgery and be seen out by Dr. Kennedy at the beginning of a scene; to discover that Darcy Tyler had fallen down the stairs; and even to judge a best-kept street competition, the redoubtable Mrs. O'Grady was called upon. Look out for her in future episodes!
Len Mangel did appear on screen some years later, when he had a romance with Helen Daniels.
James Burlton, Blandford Forum, Dorset, UK
I really loved Summer's friend- Lisa. She had a funny American accent and made even Summer look like the girl-next-door. Sad she will no longer be in it, now Summer's gone...
Jo Walford, Exeter
As much as I disappoint myself by being pedantic about Neighbours, I have to say that Brett Stark was not an obscure character! He and his sister, Dannii, were in the show for a good few years and both appeared in the recent 20th anniversary episode.
There have been all manner of secondary characters work in 'The Coffee Shop' over the years. I vote for all of them!
Paul Johnson, Seoul, South Korea
Mr Udagawa is not obscure! We all grew up with him. Although I have no idea how Lassiter's did international business with only one filing cabinet!
Maybe that's why Mr Udagawa needed to visit so often - they kept losing the paperwork.
Douglas McJannet, London
Does anyone remember Harold's son visiting in the Charlene/Scott days. He was such a geek and yet fancied one of the Neighbours regulars. I can't remember his name but Henry tried to make him a bit cooler at one stage with hilarious consequences. He was told to say that he was a really cool 'dude' but when he said it it came out as; 'Hi babeI'm a really cool DUD.' Well it was funny at the time.
barbara simpson, manchester
If there's still time, I'd like to nominate Noelen - Joe Mangels ex-wife (little Tobys' mother).
Graeme Mulvaney, coventry, uk
I would like to nominate Clive Gibbons - the Doctor who had the multi coloured car called Bertha. He was a nice and smart guy but still cool with that mad car !!
PD, Middlesex, UK
Dr Clive, of course.
He was really ace.
Kevin, Edinburgh, Scotland
Hilary and Marlene are hardly obscure, as they appeared on the 20th anniversary episode.
The most obscure character has to be the original Mrs. Mangel. She lived in that house all on her own, with hardly a friend and behaved like a completely stuck up and upper class. The portrait done of Mrs. Mangel is still the most scary painting that I have ever seen in my life. Futhermore, I liked the constrast in personalities between Mrs. Mangel and her son Joe Mangel, pure comic genius.
bob erino, Frankfurt, Germany
To Jon Sheehan of London: At last a kindred spirit! You are not alone in remembering Max and Maria. They were in the very first episodes. Max was a carpenter or some such and they lived in the house that Madge and Harold eventually moved in to. None of my friends believe they existed so Im glad someone else remembers them!
What about Mim? Also known as Dorothy something-or-another. She was good. Headteacher at Erinsborough and foster mother to Phoebe...and a few others.
Katharine, Accrington, Lancashire
Len Mangle did EVENTUALLY appear, Helen bumped into him at an art show or something, years after he'd left Mrs Mangle and she'd moved away. I vaguely remember Helen nearly married him, but that may be wrong.
Matt, Cardiff UK
Bradley Sutton. Introduced to Neighbours just to be killed as part of Jim Robinson's road safety campaign.
Can anyone point me to an online nighbours family tree? If there isn't one it would be a great project for someone to do. Let's start with the Robinsons. Jim, father of Paul (married 3 times), Scott, Lucy (played by at least 3 actresses) ans another sibling. Mother in Law, Helen who has daughters Rosemary.....
Maybe not such a good idea after all.
Don Tod, Antibes, France
The lovely Serendipity Gottlieb. I can't remember anything about "Ren" except 1) she was the sister of a priest, 2) she was gorgeous and 3)the actress that played her, Raelee Hill, now plays a fish-based lifeform in Farscape.
Has everyone forgotten the cameo appearance by Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys? He asked Helen Daniels directions to a recording studio, if I remember correctly.
Nick Midgley, London, UK.
It has to be Bronwyn. Sharon's sister. Which hot-blooded 10 yr old boy did not fancy Bronwyn? I think she married Henry. And am even surer she never had a profound storyline (then again, who does??!). Bring back Bronwyn I say. We miss you.
Chris, London, UK
What about Zee? He was a hippy biker who went out with Gabby Willis.
A cool list, but I'm really surprised that neither Skinner (a bad guy who Todd met in the arcade) nor Nick Page (a graffiti artist who made good) managed to make the list!
Craig Robinson, Bridgend, UK
I think there was once a character called Lizzie Bryan. She was a rather stern reporter for the Erinsborough News and, rather unfortunately, had the same name as me. I was only 12 at the time and it was most embarrassing.
Lizzie Bryan, Wales
One of Joe Mangel's girlfriends, Melanie I think her name was. She had a shocking laugh - sounded like she was choking to death.
Its got to be Tom Ramsey, Max and Madge's brother who turned up in the late 80's. Forever in overalls with a cuppa in his hand. That guy was a legend !
Neil Isherwood, Bournemouth
I have to put a mention in not for Colin (I think that was the really nerdy old guys name), but for his evil twin. Now there was an implausible, American stryline. And I'm sure the only way to distiguish them was by a little evil goatee
Paul Duckamnton, Glasgow
What about the ever-present "other" coffee shop worker? I can't even remember her name, but it always seemed anyone who worked there could take a day off and she'd cover. She must have done more shifts than the rest of them put together the poor girl!
Benji Robertson, Southampton, UK
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