Reg Watson, AM
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Reg Watson, AM
Roles: Creator, Writer
Reg Watson’s first job was as an assistant in a jewellery shop, in the Queensland town of Innisfail. He then moved on to stage roles with the Brisbane Repertory Theatre and into radio in the Brisbane and Charleville areas. Following this start in the media industry, Reg moved to the UK, where he spent twenty years working in Birmingham and London for ATV as Head of Light Entertainment. During his time there, he set up ATV Midlands and created programmes including Lunchbox and, what would go on to become one of the UK’s longest-running soap operas, Crossroads.
It was whilst producing Crossroads that Reg met Reg Grundy, who eventually persuaded him to return to Australia. Once back home in 1973, Reg was made head of drama at Reg Grundy Productions where, due to the success of Crossroads, his numerous other soap creations, including The Restless Years and The Young Doctors, were quickly put into production, proving to be big hits. Following the success of his latest serial, Sons And Daughters, he submitted the idea for Neighbours - a soap set in a cul-de-sac with a strong emphasis on comedy, something that had already proved a hit with Crossroads, and a concept he firmly believed could run for twenty years. The show was put into production by the Seven Network, who cancelled it less than a year later, before it was picked up by Channel Ten, where the show has remained ever since.
As well as his work in the UK and Australia, Watson also briefly attempted to crack the American market with the short-lived Dangerous Women, an adaptation of one of his more successful Australian soaps, Prisoner.
Reg retired in 1992 and rarely gives interviews, though in 2005, during Neighbours’ 20th anniversary year, The Perfect Blend was honoured to receive a special birthday message and interview with Reg, who explained that his still watches his creation “because, unlike the American soaps, the stories are fast moving and there isn’t much repetition of dialogue.” In 2006, Reg was nominated for Australian of the Year, due to his work in Australian television and particularly the way in which his shows have brought a positive image of Australia to the rest of the world.
In 2010, Reg was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the media as a pioneer in the creation and production of serial television drama.
Reg sadly passed away on Tuesday 8th October 2019 after a short illness, aged 93, just a few months away from seeing Neighbours celebrate it's 35th Anniversary.
Everyone at Neighbours is sad to hear of the passing of our creator, Reg Watson. He was a pioneer of drama, prolific in his output and by all accounts a lovely person to work with. His legacy lives on in Ramsay Street to this day.
Jason Herbison, Neighbours' Executive Producer at the time of Reg's death.
Birthday Wishes From Reg Watson
Perfect Blend Interview (2005)
Happy 25th Birthday Neighbours! (2010)
Remembering Reg Watson (2019)
Profile by Steve & Callum