1 9 9 2 (Australia)
12 x 30 minute episodes
In the fly-on-the-wall tradition of his earlier programme, The Family (which brought infamy to the Wilkins family of Reading), producer Paul Watson captured the domestic ups and downs of a typical Australian family in this warts-and-all 12-part documentary series.
The Baker-Donaher family lived in a wealthy harbourside suburb in the south of Sydney called Sylvania Waters.
Heads of the family were rich divorcees Noeline Baker and Laurie Donaher, who had been in a de facto relationship for 14 years and were proud of the hard-working way in which they had built up their wealth, and determined to enjoy it to the full.
Intra-family squabbles added spice to the show, with running arguments between Noeline and her elder son Paul, the unfolding drama of Pauls’ wife Dione’s pregnancy, and the teenage trials of Noeline’s younger son Michael, who narrated the programme.
The ABC crew (it was a co-production with the BBC in Britain) were given virtually unlimited access to the Baker-Donaher family for six months, with the footage edited down to 12 absorbing episodes.
These real-life Neighbours caused a storm in their native Australia when they were criticised for their brash, bigoted behaviour and their lifestyle of excessive drinking and smoking.