Neighbours Spoilers – Harold’s back as Toadie and Mel get engaged!

Next week on Neighbours in the UK, Harold Bishop is back in Erinsborough, just in time for Toadie and Melanie’s engagement.

These scenes air in the UK from Monday 4th July, and in Australia from Thursday 14th July.

It’s been seven years since Erinsborough last bid farewell to its beloved ‘Jelly Belly’, Harold Bishop (Ian Smith). Next week, he’s back in town – the first of a huge list of returnees descending on Ramsay Street for Neighbours’ final month!

Harold’s returns to town are always a much-loved occurrence, and this time is no different.

It all kicks off on Wednesday 6th July, when Karl (Alan Fletcher) and Susan (Jackie Woodburne) are faced with his surprise arrival. Naturally, there’s jubilation all around, especially from those who have lived on Ramsay Street for some time.

However, it’s clear from the get go that Harold’s stay isn’t going to be short of drama.

It all begins with Amy Greenwood’s (Jacinta Stapleton) quest for love.

Unfortunately for her, the path to true love hasn’t been a smooth one. She’s married – and divorced – twice, both times to gay men; the love of her life, Lance Wilkinson (Andrew Bibby) has moved on; and her last relationship was a flop.

She feels like she’s tried it all, and as time goes by, she’s starting to question why she still hasn’t found Mr Right. Could it be that he’s right under her nose?

A few weeks back, Amy’s savvy daughter Zara (Freya van Dyke) questioned whether she actually had the hots for Toadie (Ryan Moloney). Amy was quick to dismiss the allegation and attempted to pull back from him, but it was only a matter of time before she was back seeking his comfort.

This week, Zara begins to question things again. Only this time, she begins to wonder whether Toadie has feelings for Amy!

The timing couldn’t be worse though. Toadie and Melanie (Lucinda Cowden) have just announced their engagement, only a few weeks after Melanie turned down Toadie’s first proposal. It seems their decision to move in together was just what they needed to propel their relationship forward.

Naturally, Amy’s hurt by their news and avoids the happy couple. Seeing this breaks Zara’s heart and it’s at this point that she drags Harold into her worries.

Lamenting the situation to Harold, Zara believes that Toadie and Amy should be together. From Harold’s reaction, Zara starts to question whether he believes that same thing – he certainly doesn’t seem overjoyed by Toadie’s latest engagement!

Seeing his concern about Toadie and Melanie’s relationship, Zara attempts to reel Harold in to help her break them up. Naturally, fuddy-duddy Harold doesn’t want any part of Zara’s shenanigans but assures her that he will see whether her concerns are warranted.

Taking Amy to one side, Harold questions her on whether she believes Melanie is a good match for Toadie. It seems he doubts Melanie’s dependability.

However, Amy is able to put her own feelings for Toadie aside and talks highly of Melanie to Harold, which buoys him somewhat, but it’s clear that he isn’t persuaded just yet.

Listening in, Zara overhears everything that Amy has to say about Melanie, and although it seems Amy is happy to concede defeat, Zara isn’t going to stop meddling just yet…

Who is Harold Bishop?

For long-term fans of the show, Harold Bishop needs no introduction.

First arriving in Episode 415 (30th January 1987), Harold came to Erinsborough in pursuit of one thing – Madge (Anne Charleston). The couple played an important role in the lives of many Ramsay Street residents, including the Clarkes, Des (Paul Keane) and Daphne (Elaine Smith), with whom they shared the responsibilities of the Coffee Shop.

Before moving to Erinsborough, Harold had been widowed and had two children, Kerry (Linda Hartley-Clark) and David (Kevin Harrington). Both were eccentric in their own ways. Kerry was an avid environmentalist and was shot dead by a duck hunter whilst heavily pregnant. This devastated her husband Joe (Mark Little), however out of this developed a warm friendship between the two men.

David is the cardboard cut out of Harold when it comes to his principles and the way he holds himself. The pair had a fractured relationship, which was furthered by Harold’s disappearance, however they eventually reconcile. David, his wife Liljana (Marcella Russo) and daughter Serena (Lara Sacher) moved to Ramsay Street in 2003, but were killed in a plane crash two years later.

In 1991, Harold and Madge went for a short holiday, which was marred by tragedy when Harold was washed off some rocks, leaving only his spectacles behind. It was revealed five years later that he had survived, albeit suffering from amnesia, and was working for the Salvation Army.

He and Madge were quick to reconcile and spent the next few years running the Coffee Shop again, as well as running Grease Monkeys and fostering Paul (Jansen Spencer) and Tad (Jonathon Dutton). Sadly, tragedy was to strike again when in 2001, ten years after Harold’s disappearance, Madge was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died shortly after.

Harold was devastated, but entertained romance with Rosie (Maggie Millar), Valda (Joan Sydney) and Ruby (Maureen Edwards).

However, Harold once again found happiness when his granddaughter Sky (Stephanie McIntosh) moved in with him, followed by his son and family.

Over the next few years, Harold found himself opening the General Store with Lou (Tom Oliver) after the Lassiters Complex burnt down, looking after Sky when she discovered she was pregnant, and battling prostate cancer. He left Erinsborough in 2009, destined for a life on the road.

He returned briefly in 2011 to wed his new bride Carolyn Johnstone, and then again in 2015 for the non-wedding of Daniel Robinson (Tim Phillipps) and Amber Turner (Jenna Rosenow), where he had a vision of Madge, who urged him to let her go and truly move forward.

Say what?

Only recently with the announcement of Neighbours’ cancellation, did one of the show’s writers and directors come forward with some very interesting information on a Harold Bishop story that almost came to fruition.

Lucas Testro took to Twitter to reveal that Harold’s return in 2011 was supposed to be very different, and should’ve included Dee Bliss (Madeleine West), who suffered a similar fate to Harold in 2003 when she was driven into Bass Strait following her wedding to Toadie.

Following a tweet from former Script Executive, Dan Bennett, Lucas tweeted the following:

From this, he went on to elaborate on what was supposed to happen in 2011.

“Ian Smith had been signed to return. But – this was what the producers told us in the story room, at least – he had a condition that Harold would be returning to marry “an attractive young woman”. Everyone other than Ian thought this was a horrible idea, for pretty obvs reasons. But the producers weren’t worried about that, because they wanted Harold to return for a different reason. One they were sure Ian would agree too: Harold had found Dee Bliss. We were pumped. Ian was thrilled. And we were told Madeleine West was very keen: ‘As good as signed.’

“We came up with a story that Harold had found Dee while he was volunteering somewhere in top-end Australia on his travels. She’d survived the car crash, washed ashore miles away from Toadie, and wandered off, eventually backpacking aimlessly around the country because… well. We were told we couldn’t say amnesia as it was a soap cliché. I remember someone passionately pitching “fugue state” and trying to convince the producers that was different. Pretty funny. That may even have been the explanation we ended up going with, I can’t remember.

“Dee returning would be a last obstacle for Toadie and Sonya right when they seemed on the path for marriage. All this time, we keep asking – week after week – “And Madeleine’s signed, right?”. We’re told to stop stressing about it. Then suddenly, 2 or 3 weeks into plotting this, emergency meeting: Madeleine’s not doing it. Calamity. And Ian Smith is now saying that since we can’t do the Dee story, we have to go back to the “Harold’s marrying a young lady story” he’s been promised. I’m hazy about the next bit because it only lasted a week. I believe we tried to massage Ian’s story into Harold coming back engaged to a young woman, but the regulars discover she’s conning him? The news comes back a week later: IAN HATES THIS. And we’re pretty much out of time.

“The producers & Ian agree to a more age-appropriate partner. And me, script editor Stu Gaunt and producer Alan Hardy get put in an emergency second story room to replot Harold’s return. And I think from here the idea of Toadie’s ex returning became Sonya’s ex returning: Troy. I don’t clearly remember Troy being part of those sessions but the timing and story function would make sense that he came out if this moment. He might also have been an idea that had been thrown around for a while as a possibility, and we grabbed it for here? Not sure. Long ago.

“I do remember that Harold’s beloved was described as a corporate lawyer who’d done a tree change and got rich with her own herbal tea brand. She was a glamorous woman embracing her bohemian side, who we described as “a Pamela Rabe type”. As I mentioned in another thread, I named her Carolyn Johnstone after my ex-girlfriend who I was trying to woo back at the time. I figured Carolyn would never have to buy a drink in England again with that story to tell, and who wouldn’t want to be Pamela Rabe at 50? Spoiler alert: the real Carolyn didn’t take me back. And then I was assigned to direct the block with Harold’s wedding as my first ever solo directing job. So now I would actually be directing Harold marrying my ex-girlfriend. Which was a bit of a headf*ck!

“And it turned out that was just the start of the craziness of shooting that block. It was constantly on the edge of chaos – last minute cast changes, actors losing their voice mid block – but it was also the most fun I ever had on a professional job. Story for another time…”

Here are the spoilers for next week’s Neighbours in the UK:

8882 – Monday 4th July (UK) / Thursday 14th July (Aus)

Chloe and Kiri make a decision about their future.

At a family dinner, Byron realises Clive’s voice is all too familiar…

Grant begins to micro-manage Mackenzie again. Is he about to ruin things?

8883 – Tuesday 5th July (UK) / Thursday 14th July (Aus)

Mackenzie and Grant’s relationship is in jeopardy.

Byron investigates Clive, while Nicolette does her own detective work on Byron.

Nicolette tells Amy about an unconventional way of dating.

8884 – Wednesday 6th July (UK) / Monday 18th July (Aus)

Karl and Susan can’t convince Mackenzie to clear the air with her dad.

An unexpected arrival could make all the difference to Mackenzie’s grief.

Zara begins to believe Toadie has feelings for Amy too.

Byron and Nicolette hunt the truth about Clive.

8885 – Thursday 7th July (UK) / Monday 18th July (Aus)

Amy avoids Toadie and Melanie as they celebrate their engagement.

Amy isn’t the only one who’s not so excited by the big news…

Paul’s day is made worse by the arrival of a notoriously difficult guest.

8886 – Friday 8th July (UK) / Tuesday 19th July (Aus)

Freya and Aaron deal with more demands from Emma.

Harold refuses to help Zara break Toadie and Melanie up.

Harold opens up to Mackenzie about his own journey through grief.