Aussie soap Neighbours will screen its first lesbian wedding between two returning characters next week.
The show is celebrating its 35th birthday this year. Several former cast members are returning for the occasion.
Actress Stephanie McIntosh (pictured above) is among them, returning to the show after 13 years. Her character Sky Mangel comes back to Ramsey Street with her bride-to-be, teenage sweetheart Lana Crawford.
In 2004, Lana, played by Bridget Neval, was Neighbours‘ first out lesbian character. At the time, Lana shared a brief relationship with Sky while at high school together.
The couple even shared the soap’s first same-sex kiss before Lana later returned to Canada.
The pair have reconnected as adults and are now back on Ramsey Street to tie the knot with five other couples at a wedding expo.
“While we did get a lot of support in 2004 around the Sky and Lana relationship, it also created some controversy as well,” Stephanie McIntosh told Radio Times.
“It’s refreshing that a same-sex relationship is no longer something out of the ordinary. There’s no fuss around it.”
Actress Bridget Neval ‘couldn’t say no’ to return
Bridget Neval wrote on her Instagram she had retired from acting but “couldn’t say no” to the storyline.
“When the producer of Neighbours, Jason Herbison, rang me and told me that he wanted to finally have Lana end up with her dream girl… I couldn’t say no,” she wrote.
“Tune into @neighbours to see Sky and Lana get hitched… without a hitch? Ahahaha of course not. Boring!
“Tune in for happy weddings but also drama, cold feet, unexpected exes and an explosion or two.”
Sky and Lana’s wedding scenes on Neighbours will air on Australian screens next week.
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So I don’t act anymore, but when the producer of Neighbours, Jason Herbison, rang me and told me that he wanted to finally have Lana end up with her dream girl… I couldn’t say no. Tune into @neighbours over the next couple of weeks to see Sky and Lana get hitched… without a hitch? Ahahaha of course not. Boring! Tune in for happy weddings but also drama, cold feet, unexpected exes and an explosion or two. 😳🤯👰 @10peachau @damienbodie @stephiemcintosh @andrew_j_morley #skana #skylana #skylanawedding #neighbours35
Neighbours’ first same-sex wedding was in 2018
In 2018, Neighbours featured the first legal same-sex wedding on an Australian drama as gay couple Aaron and David got married.
Comedian and marriage equality campaigner Magda Szubanski played the couple’s celebrant, Jemima, in the wedding episodes.
And last month, the couple met drag star Courtney Act and musician Jake Shears in Sydney during a special Mardi Gras-themed episode of the soap.
Meanwhile, rival Channel 7 soap Home and Away was rocked by allegations of homophobia earlier this year.
Fans discovered lesbian couple Willow and Alex’s kisses were missing from the Australian version despite screening in New Zealand.
Channel 7 claimed it accidentally aired the wrong versions of the episodes and blamed the edits on “human error”.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.