Neighbours star Alan Fletcher: “It was very, very energetic and lovable!”




I really could not believe it when I had the opportunity to interview someone I felt I had known all my life, the one and only Mr Alan Fletcher, who starred in the much loved television soap opera Neighbours for 28 years!

Interview with Steve Legg and Alan Fletcher

Steve Legg (SL): Now Alan, you’re a super-talented man. Do you know what? I listened to your album today. And it’s brilliant. I’d love to talk to you a bit about that later on. Was your first love music or acting?

Alan Fletcher (AF): Well, I’ve always said I’m an entertainer at heart. And so for me, both equally. Of late though, I’m very much enjoying the music because Americana music is storytelling. And I love the fact that I can tell stories that I’ve written. And these stories are contained within three minutes. And each story can have a different effect on the listener.

It’s the economy of music I love I suppose. And also just the joy of performing live just can’t be beaten, whether it’s as an actor or a musician.

SL: It’s that immediate response and rapport with the audience, isn’t it? There’s nothing like it.

AF: Yes, you’re absolutely right. Yeah, I mean, the biggest privilege you can ever be given is as a singer or musician is when people start singing your songs back to you. I’m getting that kind of vibe happening for one of my songs How good is bed? It’s just really a fun song about staying in bed.

SL: And I love the fact that came after my favourites. I loved Hey you. I thought that was a beautiful song.

AF: Oh, thank you. That’s a tribute to my mom. My mom was my spiritual guide in life and she said to me that she would still be continuing to guide me after she left and I feel her presence every day. And Hey you is a heartfelt message to her and to everyone who’s lost, asking, are you still there?

SL: I can imagine it being used for people’s funerals but I had a horrendous vision of the sound guy at the crematorium as the curtains closed, pressing the number incorrectly because How good is bed comes immediately after Hey you. And that will be embarrassing for everyone.

AF: (laughs) Well, I suppose eternal sleep is the same thing in a way. Maybe it was intentional.

SL: Alan, you worked with Arthur Lowe back in the day, who we know as the very pompous Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army.

AF: Yes. I’m pleased that you know that. Arthur was a dream. I did a play with him which toured around the UK, New Zealand and Australia. So I had the privilege of working with him. He’s one of the greatest comedians to come out of the UK because his timing was immaculate; he could make an audience dissolve into laughter with just one look. And we loved him in Dad’s Army. We loved him in so much stuff, you know, and to work with him on stage was a joy and a great education also.

SL: So what did he teach you most?

AF: It was mostly about comic timing and stillness. Arthur had a way of being completely still on stage. And suddenly, he would speak his lines at exactly the right moment, after the right pause. And when you’re a young performer as I was then, you tend to be very eager and over anxious to get the line out. And you lose the stillness and timing that he as an older person had.

I think about him all the time. Particularly when I’m doing Neighbours, because when I’m working with Jackie Woodburne (Neighbours screen wife, Susan Kennedy), we do a lot of comedy together. And she’s a master at that, too. It’s the slow-burning look that dissolves the audience into hysterics.

SL: You’ve brought us nicely onto Neighbours and 1994 is a year you probably won’t forget. That’s when the Kennedy’s moved into Ramsay Street. I remember that hideous portrait in your house, above the fireplace of your kids, Malcolm Libby and Billy.

AF: Yes, my memory is that Helen Daniels painted it. You’re absolutely right. And interestingly, on the very last day of filming of Neighbours, we shot the last scene in the Kennedy house. And during the speeches, I glanced around to look at the portrait, which was gone. It had been spirited away. And it was because there was a worry that someone might take it.

SL: What do you remember about your first day on the Neighbours set?

AF: It was just myself and Jesse Spencer who played Billy Kennedy. We were on Ramsey Street purchasing number 28, and Karl was buying the house without his wife’s say so. So you know, the parameters of Karl Kennedy was set very early as a man who did things his way. It was fabulous working with Jesse, who was 14 years old. He was confident; he was a brilliant musician who played the violin and was a very fine actor. And a week later, we turned up again with a whole family in a removal truck.

Honestly, I couldn’t have dreamt of having a better family to work with. There was loads of ad-libbing and had an incredible vibe. It was very, very energetic and lovable.

Footnote: What a legend, it was such a privilege to chat with Alan! You can read the rest of my interview with Alan Fletcher in the July/August print edition of Sorted Magazine. To listen to this interview, and others, just tune in to my weekly radio show on Konnect Radio every Saturday from 12pm until 1pm.

Alan Fletcher and his fellow cast members will be in the UK for the Neighbours Farewell Tour, to find out more about the tour please click here.

Alan is not only an accomplished actor, but he’s also a gifted musician, to find out more about his new album and tour dates please click here.

Main photo credit: Alan Fletcher

Steve Legg


You may also like

Sorted Magazine

Sorted discusses the big issues of the day – focusing on subjects as diverse as culture, sport, cars, health, faith, gadgets, humour and relationships. We aim to be positive and wholesome in all we do. And we have been achieving this since 2007.

Every printed issue of Sorted is read by more than 100,000 men in 21 different countries – while digitally, the number of people reading our online content (free and via subscription) continues to soar.




Follow Us



Visit our shop for great gift ideas