Today I can reveal exclusively to readers of The Bug that ex-prime minister Scott Morrison will make a special guest appearance in the final ever episode of Aussie TV soap opera Neighbours airing on 28 July.
In a typical soapie plot twist Mr Morrison will play himself and will be revealed as the long-lost twin brother of Harold Bishop, the tubby, bespectacled, middle-aged character played by Ian Smith since 1987. (main picture)
I am told the script and filming of Mr Morrison’s appearance were completed last week but only after months of intense discussions between him and the producers of the Network Ten hit show that comes to an end after running on screens here and in several overseas markets, especially the UK, since 1985.
An insider on the Neighbours set told me that what at first seemed to producers like a straightforward plan to garner some extra publicity for the finale by involving the former PM as Harold’s twin brother separated from him at birth turned into “a nightmare on Ramsay Street”.
“Scott, or Scomo as he insisted on being called, turned up to early script meetings with the writing team and insisted on imposing some of his ideas on the plot for the episodes running in the final week of the show,” the insider said.
“He justified his ideas by pointing to widespread acknowledgement of his unrivalled skills as a marketing genius.
“He tried to justify that reputation by citing a long list of Liberal Party identities whom he said would vouch for his talents as a marketing mastermind.
“Unfortunately for him every name he dropped was of a MP who had lost their seat at the May election. But the writers humoured him and listened to his ideas.
“He was happy with the idea of appearing as Harold’s long lost twin brother but insisted on Harold sharing his love of the Cronulla Sharks.
“Now the writers know for sure that even though Harold has dipped in and out of the cast list over the past 35 years, there is no way fans of Neighbours would accept that a bloke from the heart of Melbourne suburbia would be barracking for a Sydney NRL team.
“Scomo also said that as he would be appearing as Scott it would be a good idea if he appeared with Kylie Minogue as the husband of her character Charlene Mitchell.
“We put a stop to that idea pretty promptly because we’d already signed up Jason Donovan to make a comeback as Scott Robinson.
“Scott…. sorry, Scomo, then went into a bit of a sulk but not before insisting that Harold and he appear in a scene where they both go to Erinsborough’s local Pentecostal church to pray and sermonise.
“We also put a red line through that idea but seemed to satisfy him when we explained that the character of Harold Bishop had always been a strong Christian and moraliser.
“Scomo then came up with the idea of asking if Bronwyn Bishop could be signed to appear so that she, he, and Ian Smith as Harold Bishop could play triplets.
“The writers said they’d think about it but thankfully Scomo seemed to forget about it pretty quickly.”
The insider told me that in the end the writers and producers agreed on a storyline in which Harold and Scott Morrison are reunited and Scomo convinces Harold to run for Liberal Party preselection in the federal seat covering Erinsborough, but only if he makes outrageous public statements about trans kids.
“The finale episode ends when Harold agrees to Scomo’s idea and the ex-PM runs out into Ramsay Street shouting ‘How good is Neighbours!’,” the insider explained.
“Unfortunately he was meant to say ‘How good are neighbours’ but considering the cost of reshooting, the producers ran with what they got.
“They also agreed that Harold eyeing a career in Canberra is a pretty good cliffhanger to go out on and will leave the door open to reviving Neighbours if they can attract finance and a network that’s interested in picking it up,” the inside source told me.