For the first time in its 27-year history, the popular Australian soap opera, Neighbours, has broadcast a loving kiss shared between two men.
The historic moment appeared in Monday night’s episode, broadcast in Australia, when Chris Pappas (James Moran), who is openly gay, and Aidan Foster (Bob Morley) were seen kissing at a party.
Despite the soap having had same-sex storylines in the past, this is the first time that two characters of the same sex have shared an onscreen kiss.
In the UK, Neighbours is broadcast by Channel Five. Commenting on the storyline, the British newspaper the Daily Mail said, “While the topical subject should be commended [. . .] it seems producers weren’t quite bold enough to allow the action to occur close-up and instead opted for a long shot.”
However, the Australian Herald Sunsaid that the “build-up to the brief and relatively low-key scene [. . .] stayed true to promises [. . .] to treat the kiss like any other on the show”.
The soap’s executive producer, Susan Bower, told the paper, “It’s not sensationalist or token – we are very proud of the way we have done this.”
The first male same-sex storyline to have appeared in the long-running soap was in the early 1990s, when Macca (John Morris) showed an interest in Doug (Terence Donovan). This was followed many years later, in 2004, when Lana (Bridget Neval) became attracted to Sky (Stephanie McIntosh).
Moran, who joined the cast in 2010, new his character was gay from the outset, the character having been created as a result of requests from young viewers posting to the Neighboursonline forums. Morley, late of another Australian soap opera, Home and Away, was introduced in August 2011 specifically as a love interest for Pappas.
First broadcast in Australia, in 1985, on the Seven Network, Neighbours moved to Network Ten in 1986. Later that year, the soap was bought by the BBC, who broadcast the series until it moved to Channel Five in 2007.