> Christine Alexandra
Christine Alexandra is operations manager for the Official Neighbours tours. She talks here about her love for the show and fans reactions when visiting Ramsay
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I came from a background of nursing and although it can be rewarding at times
it can get you down a bit. I have been a tour guide for around 7 years now, and
I find it a really interesting industry to be in. Itís great meeting lots of
different people from all around the world and showing them some great sights in
Victoria. Of course the highlight being Ramsay Street!
How did you get involved with the Ramsay Street tour?
In my tour guiding I had met George. It was down at the Twelve Apostles, and
thatís when I first heard about the Neighbours Night, a lot of the passengers on
my bus were looking over at George and saying ďheís the Neighbours guyĒ. Then
about three years ago George heard I was looking for some additional work, and
he asked me to come in for an interview and offered the job to me on the spot.
It was one of the easiest jobs, Iíd ever got before. I took some time off in
Joe Scully country of Bendigo last year, and I was offered a job in operations
with Backpacker King early this year.
Did you watch Neighbours before you started doing the tour?
I have always watched Neighbours. In 1985/86 I was in my final years of high
school, and I would come home from school do three hours of study, then it was
time to have tea and watch Neighbours.
Did you do any additional research on the show?
A lot of research was going on other tours and listening to what was being
said and looking up websites. Also, there have been a
number of books published on Aussie soaps, which are wealth of information.
Has there ever been any discussion of extending the tour, to visit other Erinsborough locations, such as the church where Scott and Charlene got married?
Yes, it has been talked about; the Lassiterís complex will be an addition
hopefully later in the year (weíre still in talks with Grundys about that one).
There was a premise where Darcy was once living, and we did think about
extending it to there, as it was close by in Box Hill. Also, possibly the
hospital, will be included as well. Of course it would extend the tour time
wise, so we really need to look at that.
Have you ever been starstruck when meeting any of the cast members?
George has asked when I first started if I wanted to go to the Neighbours
Night and meet the stars and I actually refused for quite a long time. I didnít
want to shatter my image of the people that I see on the TV. Eventually I
crumbled and I did go along. I took my two nieces, nephew and my sister with me
and you really should see our faces on the photos. We were totally starstruck, I
was lost for words and my sister was even worse.
Have you seen any strange acts of madness from fans on the Neighbours tour?
I have been exposed to some die-hard Neighbours fans on the tour; some of them
are quite outrageous. People showing their backsides to the cameras, a lot of
kissing the ground, and apparently a good photo is lying under a car pretending
you have been run over in Ramsay Street!
You also do another tour, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yes we donít just run the world famous official Neighbours tour, we also run
tours to Penguin Island, itís a day tour to Phillip Island. Thatís Kylie Minogue
country, sheís got a holiday home on the French island nearby, and we always
keep an eye out for her. We go to a wildlife park where you can get up close and
personal with many native Australian animals, free wine tasting and of course
the highlight seeing the little penguins come up the beach just after dark.
Finally, what do you think accounts to the massive success Neighbours has enjoyed for the past 20 years?
I am not totally sure, but I think quite a lot of people enjoy the escapism of
there own daily troubles and worries. You can relax into the TV screen for half
and hour, itís very calming in that respect, and you can always identify with
the characters no matter where you are in the world.
Interview by Karl. Added on 8th October 2005