Neighbours is making TV history as it hires the first actor on Australian television to have a cochlear implant.
Today (December 3rd) is International Day of People with Disability. To coincide with the day, Neighbours has announced it has hired Nathan Borg, a hard of hearing actor, for a recurring guest role in the show.
Nathan will play Curtis Perkins, the newest teacher to arrive at Erinsborough High. He has been described as an “easy-going guy”, who will begin his teaching career at the school, watched over by Susan Kennedy (Jackie Woodburne) and Jane Harris (Annie Jones).
Curtis is “passionate about helping young people and far tougher than he lets on”. He is set to join the school fresh out of Uni, and doesn’t let his hard of hearing status define him or get in the way of his job.
While he may be new at the school, it sounds like he won’t be without friends for too long. Jason Herbison, the show’s Executive Producer, has teased that “like everyone on Ramsay Street, we soon discover a link with one of our residents, which is going to be a lot of fun.”
Budding actor Nathan, 24, was born six weeks premature. He contracted meningitis at three months old, which left him profoundly deaf. A cochlear implant in his right ear at the age of two enabled him to learn and hear for the first time.
His passion for acting began in his late teens when he took part in school productions. He went on to meet Neighbours’ Executive Producer James Herbison and casting director Thea McLeod when completing various performing arts courses and workshops, forming relationships which ended up landing him a role on the show.
Jason Herbison said: “Nathan’s passion for acting was clearly evident when I met him nearly a year ago and I’m delighted he is joining the cast in a recurring guest role as a young teacher fresh out of Uni who isn’t defined by his hard of hearing status.”
Nathan began filming for the show in November. Talking about the role, he said: “Growing up I never saw anyone like me on television, so I knew it was time to have a hard of hearing actor on our Australian screens.
“I think it’s important in this industry that people with all disabilities of all ages get to tell their stories.
“Each time I film scenes with Jackie and Annie I am constantly growing as an actor. It is such a privilege to work with such inspiring icons. Jackie has taught me to take direction and Annie has taught me to let loose on set which has been a great balance.” added Nathan.
Nathan’s character Curtis will debut on Australian and UK screens in early 2021, in episode 8546. Watch the below video for your first glimpse of Nathan Borg, as he discusses how he feels to be Australia’s first actor with a cochlear implant.“It’s an honour to represent for people who are deaf, people who are hard of hearing, and people with disabilities,” Nathan says, talking from the set of Erinsborough High.
I think it’s important for everyone to see themselves on screen. I’m so grateful that I am Australia’s first actor with a cochlear implant and I take that very seriously, and I hope I make the community proud.”
Neighbours airs on Channel 5 in the UK every weekday at 1pm and 5:30pm, and in Australia on 10 Peach weekdays at 6:30pm.