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How Ian ‘Harold’ Smith started the careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Margot Robbie

How one phone call from Neighbours star Ian ‘Harold’ Smith led to the careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Margot Robbie

Neighbours has been credited as launching the career of some of Australia’s biggest international stars, including Margot Robbie and Kylie Minogue.

But their careers may have never taken off if it wasn’t for a phone call from Ramsay Street’s lovable café owner Harold Bishop, played by Ian Smith.

Smith, 83, who first starred in the soap in 1987, convinced casting director Jan Russ to join the show.

Neighbours has been credited with launching some of Australia’s biggest international stars, including Margot Robbie and Kylie Minogue. But their careers may have never taken off if it wasn’t for a phone call from Ramsay Street’s lovable café owner Harold Bishop, played by Ian Smith (pictured)

Russ was the brains behind casting many famous faces including  Russell Crowe, Alan Dale, Liam Hemsworth, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce, Margot Robbie, Kylie Minogue, Jesse Spencer, Natalie Imbruglia, Craig McLachlan, Holly Valance and more.

Russ was working at Crawford Productions when she received a call from Ian, who was writing on Prisoner at the time, she told TV Tonight. 

He would become integral in luring her over to Grundy’s.

Jan later received a phone call from Neighbours creator Reg Watson about his newest script idea, originally called Living Together, which went on to become the cult Aussie soap. 

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan on Neighbours

Margot Robbie on Neighbours

Russ was the brains behind casting many famous faces including Russell Crowe, Alan Dale, Liam Hemsworth, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce, Margot Robbie, Kylie Minogue, Jesse Spencer, Natalie Imbruglia, Craig McLachlan, Holly Valance and more.

Neighbours stalwart Ian Smith has been outspoken about the effect on Neighbours on Australian TV industry, earlier saying the government should have saved the axed soap and used it as a ‘school for actors and writers’.

The soap aired its final episode on July 28 after it was cancelled when the UK’s Channel 5 decided not to renew its contract with production company Fremantle to finance and broadcast the series.

‘I think the Australian government should have bought it, put it on the ABC and used it as a living, working school for actors, writers and cameramen and put it to air as such,’ Smith told the Courier Mail. 

Neighbours stalwart Ian Smith has been outspoken about the effect on Neighbours on Australian TV industry, earlier saying the government should have saved the axed soap and used it as a 'school for actors and writers'. Pictured: Margot Robbie as Donna Freedman and Jackie Woodburne as Susan Kennedy on the show

Neighbours stalwart Ian Smith has been outspoken about the effect on Neighbours on Australian TV industry, earlier saying the government should have saved the axed soap and used it as a ‘school for actors and writers’. Pictured: Margot Robbie as Donna Freedman and Jackie Woodburne as Susan Kennedy on the show

He added that the drama has been a great training for up-and-coming Aussie talent on and off the screen and its cancellation will be a huge loss to the country’s entertainment industry.

Harold was killed off on the soap when he was swept out to sea in 2008.

However, he made a shock return to Erinsborough five years later, declaring he’d suffered from amnesia, with Helen Daniels running into him by chance while browsing in a Salvation Army shop

Holly Valance in the show

Neighbours' Scott Michaelson and Natalie Imbruglia

Stars including Holly Vallance (left) and Natalie Imbruglia (right) started their careers on the show

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