Neighbours swears off blue language in 2023 revival
Producers opted to stay true to Neighbours style rather than embrace the full freedoms that come with Streaming.
Neighbours has resisted the urge to introduce more adult language in its new-found streaming freedom.
While the show long screened in a PG timeslot on Free to Air, its introduction to Amazon Freevee internationally, and Prime Video in Australia, meant there were potentially new horizons available to producers.
“We are still PG in the way we’re plotting and working with scripts,” Script Producer Shane Isheev tells TV Tonight.
“We did have some guidelines from Amazon in particular, that were quite surprising in what we could show and have characters say on the streaming service. But we’ve still obviously got 10 to factor into this.
“We had a big discussion too about ‘Just because we can curse a little bit more now, should we? Is that Neighbours? Is that the brand? Is that what people tune in for? Is that the world that we operate in?’
“And we came to the conclusion that we still want it to be Neighbours. So yes, we’ve got a little bit more leeway on certain things, but we’re not going too far with it.”
On 10 the show remains PG classified in a 4pm timeslot which only allows for mild or socially offensive coarse language to be used infrequently, when justified by the story line or program context.
On Prime Video the show is also classified as PG but freed of timeslot constraints, it could potentially have screened as M.
As Script Producer, Isheev has a lot on his hands. At any given time he is across up to 60 different scripts at different stages of writing.
“There’s a lot of reading, a lot of notes, a lot of finessing and polishing and making sure the stories and the scripts are in the best possible position they can be,” he continues.
“Because of the speed work, there is a perception that we are a bit more plot-driven than character-driven, but I really would disagree with that. We do spend a lot of time talking about character. ‘Yes, this is a fun story, but is it true to the character? ‘
“When you think about the emotional truth, for example, we brought Dee (Madeleine West) as Andrea, that was obviously a lot of fun and heightened soap. But when you make a concerted effort to ground it in emotional truth that’s where people can buy it and go along for the ride because it does feel real for this character.”
Isheev, who has also scripted for Hollyoaks, confirms he still tries to keep up to date with other soaps.
“You don’t want to be telling the same story that someone else is telling at a similar time, so I do try to be across them. But it’s obviously not sustainable so I tend to tune in for the bigger moments,” he explains.
“But I do watch a lot of premium drama. I’m a very big believing that everything is soap, just dressed up differently, including the premium dramas. What you kind of learn here, in terms of the fundamentals of storytelling, I think do apply across the board.
I”n other (Writers’) Rooms -I’ve heard this constantly- you can always tell who’s worked on a soap and who hasn’t, because they are the ones that are coming up with 10 solutions instantaneously.”
Neighbours screens 4pm Monday – Thursday on 10 and a week later on Prime Video.