A new family featuring Indian-Australians is moving into Neighbours.
Headed by Shane “Pufferfish” Rebecchi (Nicholas Coghlan), brother of Toadie (Ryan Moloney) and Dipi Rebecchi (Sharon Johal), the family includes daughters Yashvi (Olivia Junkeer) and Kirsha (Vani Dhir) and Dipi’s sister Mishti Sharma (Scarlet Vas).
It’s been six years since an Indian-Australian clan, the Kapoors, appeared on screen, remaining on the show for two years.
And it’s light years away from the Scullys who arrived in 1999, in the form of Joe (Shane Connor) & Lyn (Janet Andrewartha), Steph (Carla Bonner who remains principal cast), Felicity (Holly Valance) and Michelle (Kate Keltie).
For a show which, along with its Home and Away counterpart, is often accused of Caucasian casting, this is another positive step. The new cast members include Indian-Australian and Sri-Lankan Australian actors.
Executive Producer Jason Herbison told TV Tonight in a statement: “We felt it was important that our new extended Rebecchi family reflect the cultural diversity of the community and our audience.”
It’s not the first appearance for Shane Rebecchi, originally played by Greg O’Meara prior to Nicholas Coghlan. The Rebecchis have been a critical part of Neighbours storylines for over two decades, led by Angie (Lesley Baker) and Big Kev (Don Bridges).
Network TEN Head of Drama, Rick Maier, said: “Toadie’s extended family arrive and quickly make their presence felt on Ramsay Street. The new Rebecchi clan make for a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood, bringing fun, warmth and intrigue.”
Whether they can match the popularity of the Scullys remains to be seen, but the new Rebecchi family will appear from Monday, 17 April at 6.30pm on ELEVEN.