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Neighbours' Harold shunned queer idea

Wed 13 Feb 2008 In: International News View at Wayback

Neighbours' mainstay Ian Smith has revealed he thwarted many moves by the Australian soap's producers to turn Harold Bishop gay. Neighbours' Harold Bishop: Not gay Smith, 69, who plays the bumbling pensioner, says he was often asked by top brass whether poor Harold should bat for the other side. It was Harold's closeness to fellow long-time Ramsay Street resident Lou Carpenter which started thoughts that Harold might fancy men. Ian, who is in Britain to promote Neighbours this week, said: "There was a lot of talk about this. He and Lou once ate a salad together and that means you are gay ... in Australia!" The star also joked how he taught a string of the show's top success stories how to act. "Kylie, Jason and Russell Crowe, wouldn't be anything without me," he laughed. The soap courted controversy in 2004 when teenaged schoolgirl Sky Mangel kissed her female friend Lana, who was exploring the Sapphic side of her sexuality. The episodes were shown unedited in Australia, New Zealand and the UK to a small increase in ratings. Neighbours has not yet featured a regular gay male character.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 13th February 2008 - 8:27pm

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