Guy Pearce returned to Neighbors for the soap’s final week of filming amid a furious firing dispute between his longtime team and production executives.
The Remember actor joined original cast members Lucinda Cowden and Paul Keane in Melbourne on Monday to film the end of an era for the long-running Australian series, which is coming to an end after 38 years on the air.
The final episodes will air in August.
Guy, 54, played Mike Young between 1986 and 1989 and was photographed on set wearing a Triumph motorcycle jacket, standing next to his character’s motorcycle.
Lucinda Cowden, 57, who played Melanie Pearson from 1987 to 1991, was also seen wearing a bright red dress on the day of filming.
Paul Clark returns as Des Keene, a role the 54-year-old reprized at the 35th anniversary of Neighbors in March 2020.
The show’s bosses devastated fans in March with a tweet announcing the end of production.
It said, “We are very sorry to say that after nearly 37 years and nearly 9,000 broadcasts, we must confirm that Neighbors will cease production in June.
“After losing our key UK broadcast partner (Channel 5) and despite an extensive search for alternative funding, we simply have no choice but to put the show on hold.
“For our amazing, dedicated fans, we know this is a huge disappointment, as it is for all of us on the team. We thank you for all your messages and support and promise to finish the show at an incredibly high level. From now on, we honor the Neighbors.”
Network 10 reacted to the series’ ending by calling it a “difficult decision” and adding in March: “Today, Fremantle confirmed that Neighbors will end production in June, after nearly 37 years and nearly 9,000 episodes.
“This difficult decision comes after an unsuccessful search for an alternative broadcast partner in the UK.”
Channel 5 confirmed the end of its 14-year contract with Neighbors in February, with a spokesperson telling MailOnline that the decision to drop the soap has been made as “the channel is currently focused on increasing our investment in original British dramas”.
The longtime team behind the cult show that launched the global careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Margot Robbie alleges production company Fremantle has refused to pay them out.
Paul Stanley, organizer of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, told Guardian Australia: “Recently, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan came over to shoot scenes, which is great.
“That’s cool, but you have people who took eight weeks off last year to ‘save the show’. You say you can’t pay us for layoffs, and at the same time you’re investing in talent.”
Fremantle Australia CEO Greg Woods did not respond to questions from Guardian Australia but said the company had complied with its legal obligations.
Woods added, “To protect the well-being of our cast and crew, which are our primary concern, and with just over a week left before filming, we will not be providing detailed commentary at this time.
“In addition, as part of the company’s policy, we also do not comment on issues related to personnel.
“However, I can confirm that we have sought outside advice to ensure that we provide the necessary support and that we satisfy all legal rights and fully comply with our obligations.
“Our priority has been and will continue to be to maintain the well-being of our cast and crew as filming begins next Friday.”