Yes, it’s THIRTY years since ‘the other wedding of the decade’ was broadcast on UK television and of course Scott and Charlene’s wedding song!
Thirty years ago today, ‘episode 523’ of Neighbours was broadcast in the UK, and it was watched by over 19.6 million people! Originally broadcast in Australia on 1st July 1987 (seen by over two million), the UK was a full fifteen months behind, but by November 1988, Neighbours madness had caught the UK, where it was broadcast twice a day!
But on 8th November 1988, millions of Britain’s sat down to watch a very special episode in which Scott Robinson married his long-term girlfriend Charlene Mitchell. It was not just a normal soap opera wedding, this was the nation watching the biggest selling music artist of the year marry her real life boyfriend (we didn’t know that at the time!). By late 1988, Kylie Minogue (Charlene Mitchell) had achieved four UK smash hit singles and a huge selling No.1 debut album, and now her character was getting married!
And of course it wasn’t just about the ceremony. The charm and popularity of ‘episode 523’ also extended to the song that accompanied the wedding itself. It was one Kylie herself chose and in keeping with Australian tradition, actor and singer Gary ‘Angry’ Anderson wrote and performed the killer theme. The song “Suddenly” had actually been recorded a year previous (1986) for his studio album “Beats From A Single Drum” but after Kylie heard the track, she insisted that it was that song she wished to walk down the aisle to.
Anderson had already made a big splash appearing in ‘Mad Max 2: Beyond Thunderdome’ in 1985, starring opposite Mel Gibson and Tina Turner in the movie, as well as being a member of Australian rock bands Buster Brown (1973-75) and Rose Tattoo (1976-1987). Following the collapse of the latter, Anderson decided to go solo and recorded “Beats From A Single Drum” during 1986 and 1987. The track “Suddenly” is a soft rock ballad, uncharacteristic of the style of music he had previously been associated with, and begins with a sumptuous piano instrumental before Anderson’s heartfelt and romantic lyrics begin.
When the song was released in Australia in the wake of ‘episode 523’ it quickly raced up the chart to peak at No.2, ironically kept off the top by non other than Kylie with her version of Little Eva’s 1962 classic “The Locomotion”, itself a seven week chart topper which would become the biggest selling single of the year AND the decade in Australia! Following the episode’s broadcast in the UK, the song was released as a single and, once again, shot up the chart to peak at No.3, spending a total of three weeks there and was prevented from going any further by…yes you’ve guessed it, Kylie AGAIN! This time with her duet with Jason Donovan “Especially For You”! Nevertheless, the single sold over 400,000 copies in the UK and ended up the 16th biggest seller of the year!
For interested factworms, its UK chart positions are as follows:
‘Episode 523’ remains by far, the most watched episode of the Australian soap opera that has been broadcast since 1985, and perhaps its enduring, fairytale like quality is mostly in part to the magic of both Kylie and Jason themselves, and the song that was played throughout the most important part of the episode. In 2011 it was voted the third greatest TV wedding in a Channel 5 poll and in 2015, the thirtieth anniversary of the soap, it was voted the top moment in the show’s history, perhaps unsurprisingly!
So pull up a pew, grab a box of tissues, and relive the moment when all our hearts melted that November teatime, thirty years ago… “suddenly, every part of me, needs to know every part of you”.