Clive Gibbons (Geoff Paine) has been at the centre of many Neighbours storylines over the years.
Whether he’s on hand to deliver upsetting medical news, or dressing up in a gorilla outfit, the legendary character has pretty much done it all.
The doctor is currently embroiled in the middle of a huge storyline, as he’s trying desperately to win back the affections of Jane Harris (Annie Jones), after he kept a huge secret from her.
Neighbours’ untimely end, however, is almost upon us, after Channel 5 controversially decided to drop it from their schedules in favour of ‘original UK drama’, which the broadcaster claims has a ‘strong appeal’ for audiences.
The show finishes out in a delightful way this Friday (July 29), with an hour-long outing that celebrates everything Neighbours is, was and still could’ve been.
Before all that, however, Metro.co.uk caught up with a number of the show’s stars, including actor Geoff, who reflected on his time in Erinsborough, and teased what viewers can expect from the big finale.
How are you feeling about Neighbours coming to an end?
I think people anticipated that it couldn’t go on forever. So, when you hear [that’s its ending], you think: “How are we going to do this?”. Jason [Herbison] and the whole team have been able to do a great job of tying everything together, pulling some cast back and finding a way of having a finale that will tick a lot of boxes for old times’ sake, and a tipping of the hat to the people who made the show what it was.
So the finale is a proper celebration of the show and its success over the years?
That’s what it is! There will be faces that people will audibly shriek when they see them. “Oh my goodness, there they are!” I was talking to one of the early cast members on set the other day and they had to interrupt us to say: “It’s time to act!”. We were catching up over 30 years, people who I haven’t seen for decades. It’s fantastic.
How did you feel when your read the final episode?
It’s sort of been weirdly embargoed! They teased it out. It’s going to be a big episode, that’s for sure! It’s going to be big.
Clive is determined to win back Jane at the moment – would you like to see them together as the show comes to an end?
I would always wish for a happy ending, but who knows what’s going to happen between now and the end of the show? When people get too comfortable in Neighbours, something comes along to rattle them.
Absolutely! Because a lot of fans loved Clive and Sheila together, so they were shocked when Clive and Jane happened, so you can never really predict what’s going to happen.
That’s right! Who knows? Is Jane going to be happy? Is Clive going to be happy? There are so many things that could tear them apart.
You’ve been at the centre of some incredible storylines over the years – do you have a favourite?
It’s been such a big gap between the very beginning and these days, so what was Clive in the early days? He was the hidden doctor, the crazy gorilla-gram guy. I had to explain what a gorilla-gram was to my own children. “What are you talking about? Why would people dress up as gorillas and deliver messages?” I said “Because there was no internet! You couldn’t send emojis in those days, you had to pay people to do that sort of stuff.”
I loved my introduction to show business. Shot one on day one, in a gorilla suit. I realised I could not take myself too seriously.
I’ve enjoyed the on-again and off-again stuff with Sheila. Collette is such a powerful actress, who is just so much fun to work with on set. I’ve also enjoyed Annie and I being able to play Clive and Jane as the couple who found each other after all of these years. To re-establish that warmth after all this time, that’s been fun.
In more recent scenes, the dynamic between Karl and Clive has been fun – when we see Karl at Clive’s house.
It’s funny, I never know if Clive is the human email that delivers serious difficult and medical news. But luckily, I work with a crew that allow me to humanise Clive, so that he is a real person not just a deliverer of information.
Will you miss playing Clive?
Yes, absolutely. I have other things in the world that I’m doing at the moment, playing a very different character to Clive. I’m playing a laconic bloke living out in regional Australia, so I do love having difference and variation, but Clive was an interesting guy to be sometimes.
We know that Neighbours is ending, but if it were to return some day, even in a different format, would you be up for returning as Clive again?
Sure! Who knows what the future could be? We have so many options now – streaming, internet and that sort of stuff. The way we view television has changed so much since the 1980s, when it as just a few networks with a few choices. Even recording a show was hard work, and now we can watch literally anything anytime we want to.
What’s next for you, do you have anything planned for when the show ends?
I work at a university. I work with behavioural scientists, and I do a lot of work in training and facilitating, using acting skills to help people deal with behavioural science. I’m on the local council, so I’m the guy that reads a lot of stuff about planning applications! I do a little bit of theatre work as well. I do have other aspects, but I will miss being able to rock up to Ramsay Street with that particular team. It’s bittersweet as we get closer to the end.
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