Stefan Dennis interview | Evening Standard
tefan Dennis says he enjoyed catching up with Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan when they returned to film the last ever episode of Neighbours, even if the circumstances were bittersweet.
The cult Australian soap is coming to an end after 37 years on air on July 29 and Minogue and Donovan are among the list of past cast members who will be heading back to Ramsay Street to help the show bow out in style.
They played Charlene Ramsay and Scott Robinson respectively and despite both leaving over three decades ago, remain firm fan favourite characters.
Dennis, 63, who has played villainous, six-times-married Paul Robinson on and off since the very first episode in 1985 told The Standard: “It was absolutely brilliant catching up with Kylie, we had a great time. Also catching up with Jason but I had seen him a few times over the last few years. More recently because of his daughter Jemma [Donovan] playing my granddaughter in the show. So we’ve seen and spoken to each other a few times.”
The soap stalwart currently holds the record as the longest-serving character in Australian TV history however things could have been very different as he admits he was initially hesitatant about accepting the role, believing that Neighbours would be cancelled after a few months.
Happy that his agent manged to convince him otherwise, he conceded: “Absolutely surreal things have happened in my life because of this hysteria, this phenomenon that is behind the juggernaut of Neighbours.”
Among them was getting to rub shoulders with British royalty including Princess Margaret and the The Queen Mother who were self-confessed huge Neighbours fans and used to have taped episodes sent to them when they were on royal tours so they didn’t miss out.
He was also told that he was Princess Diana’s “favourite actor,” but sadly they were never to meet.
Over the years Paul has tried to poison Erinsborough’s drinking waterways, set fire to Lassiters resulting in the death of Gus Cleary, not to mention attempted to bulldoze Ramsay Street and everything in it. And yet, still he remains.
“I’m astounded that the people of Ramsay Street and the community stick by Paul,” Dennis agrees.
“They all hate him, but they love him at the same time. It’s like oh my god, this guy is diabolical. And the way that he talks to the Kennedys or to the Cannings, it’s like oh my god if somebody spoke to me like that I would never speak to them again. He’s able to say whatever the heck he wants, do whatever the heck he wants and people go ‘oh, that’s Paul!’
“That’s where the sadness is – I will miss that guy; I will miss Paul Robinson. I won’t miss the early mornings and having to go and work out in the freezing cold. I won’t miss a lot of things about filming in Nunawading Studios, but one of the greatest things – the two things I’m going to miss the most are the camaraderie with my friends and colleagues and Paul Robinson because he’s such a great bloody character to play. I know he’s not an Academy Award-winning character in some multi-billion Dollar blockbuster, but you know what he has been such a blast to play.”
Asked what what kind of ending he would like his character to have, he says a happy one.
He elaborated: “I’d like Paul to find true love again, to find happiness for a change. Paul doesn’t know happiness because he never allows himself to be truly happy other than fleeting moments when he has been in love with whichever wife it has been. The fact that he drives his kids away and all that, I think that would be one of the nicest endings is if Paul could actually have a genuine reconnection with all his kids because that is what’s the most important thing in Paul’s life.”
Neighbours: The Finale will air Friday 29th July at 9pm on Channel 5. Neighbours airs Monday – Friday at 1:45pm and 6pm on Channel 5. Stream on My5.