Which is more diverse: The Heights or Neighbours?

In 2020 Neighbours has multiracial actors, gay characters and a transgender teen.

But do people still think of Ramsay Street as Harold, Toadie & Paul Robinson?

This week 10 Head of Drama and Executive Production Rick Maier was asked if Erinsborough had progressed in its diversity?

Speaking to Media Mentor’s Running Live panel, he said many people failed to recognise the progress achieved under Executive Producer Jason Herbison.

“When The Heights launched I read a blurb that said, ‘This is the real suburbs, it’s nothing like Neighbours,'” he said.

“They were comparing it to Neighbours from 30 years ago. Neighbours has changed quite a lot. I think if you look at the demography of the show, and I’m not going to isolate individuals, but the storytelling is exceptionally progressive and very diverse.”

“When people talk about Home & Away, if they haven’t watched it, they go ‘That’s the show with Alf.’ When they talk about Neighbours, they say, ‘That’s the show with Toadie.'”

He added, “Shows evolve over time and they progress. I think Neighbours is an incredibly diverse show.”

ABC’s Sally Riley, Head of Scripted Production, said, “I think that The Heights is very different to Neighbours because every family was diverse. It’s kind of more gritty, I guess. That’s what people were talking about.

“It actually has some writers from Neighbours on it who were mentoring all the younger writers on it. Neighbours is such a good vehicle for bringing in new writers. But when we were developing it, we did talk about Neighbours and go, ‘No, we want it to… dig into issues more deeply, I guess.'”

Yet while Neighbours has 3 decades behind it, The Heights is unlikely to reach 3 seasons.

“It’s just a shame with our financial situation at the moment, we couldn’t continue with that,” said Riley.

“We haven’t committed to a third season. But the BBC bought the first two seasons, so you never know. I think it went really well in their daytime slot over there. So who knows, if they came on board things could change.”

17 Comments:

  1. The Heights is the best serial drama produced here for eons.

    Strong storylines are well scripted and delivery by a gifted diverse cast.

    It is an excellent example of what inclusive and multicultural entertainment is all about.

    A shame it seems the Brits actually appreciate it more than many of us.

    Congrat’s to both Bridie McKim and Yazeed Daher on their well deserved recognition following their performances in the The Heights.

    Hopefully a third series can be financed. It would be a travesty if not.

  2. harrypotter1994

    I think something that needs to be remembered is Neighbours has about 260 eps per year while The Heights has 30 eps.

    The Heights doesn’t have time to do the long form storylines that Neighbours does.

  3. Neighbours has made some improvements in the area of diversity these last few years, but it still took them 25 years before they had their first regular gay character or family from a minority background. That’s not something to be proud of.

    Meanwhile Home and Away on Seven can’t even write a proper gay storyline after 32 years on air.

  4. It is a shame Neighbours doesn’t play on the main network. They really should bring back next day reruns in the afternoon. And keep it on, stick with it like they did the Project. or better still start rerunning episodes from a year or two ago. They have really had some good episodes that may bring back former viewers.

    • craigj77, Hardly, have you seen it recently? It has a group of Mauri brothers/nephew and their culture has been written into the show. It has a young lady of South Asian back ground, although her culture hasn’t been mentioned that I have seen. And Lea’s husband seems to be of some different background that I’m not sure of, even though his sister is white.

  5. The most important thing, that nobody seems to say, is that The Heights is dull as dishwater and feels like I’m being taught lessons, whereas Neighbours doesn’t patronise it’s audience.

    • I agree. No use being diverse if the storytelling doesn’t hit the mark. I am a ‘diverse’ viewer find The Heights a chore to watch. You can do ‘issues’ with a light touch. You can’t point the finger at Neighbours, it’s far more relevant and inclusive.

      • Thank you both for these comments. I had commented to a fan of “The Heights” that I found the show patronising and was accused of being racist. I watch a lot of British drama and love how inclusiveness is woven into the script without it being highlighted. There is the odd occasion where the casting is jarring and it seems some faces appear just to meet a quota but, for the most part, they make it feel natural and reflective of multicultural society.

  6. Yes Neighbours has a really diverse cast and has done for years now, the only people who don’t know that are the one’s who don’t watch the show. (So that’s a lot of people haha.) Side note, what a moment to end Friday’s episode on, bring on Monday!! Also I really hope The Heights has to rebuild it’s sets meaning it gets a third season.

    • I thought so too, but I really thought Nicolette was going to be stuck in the bathroom, while Dipi and Pearce were doing their deed. But great ending with Chloe walking in.

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