Ian Smith (Harold Bishop)

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Ian Smith (Harold Bishop)

Post by Lou on Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:48 am

HE’S played Neighbours lovable buffoon Harold Bishop for 21 years — but last night Ian Smith told how the role nearly cost him his sanity.

The 70-year-old said he is GLAD to be quitting the Aussie soap — after being tormented for years by yobs who would rev their cars outside his home and yell insults.

In his first interview since filming his final scenes last month, he said: “You know it’s time to move on when you’re being hassled outside your home every night by drunk idiots screaming abuse.

“I got so fed up I ended up calling the police. They were making my life hell. Every night at the same time they would drive up to my house and start revving their engines really loudly.

He added: “I lost count of the times I was shouted at. They’d scream ‘Harold you fat so and so’, but obviously their language was a lot stronger.

“They’d hurl abuse these nasty young men — most of them drunk. I love the show to bits but there’s only so much nastiness one man can take.”

Ian, who plans to spend his retirement exploring Australia’s Outback with wife Gail, has a personal life that sounds like a Neighbours storyline.

Fifteen years ago his mum Connie Smith discovered she was dying and dropped a bombshell that Ian was ADOPTED. Ian’s real mum Peg Kline had given birth to him after she was brutally RAPED by her uncle when just 13.

He got in touch with her and the pair became close until her death from cancer in 2005.

Proud Ian rarely talks about his family — but described mum Peg as one of his “best friends”.

He went on to say leaving Ramsay Street will be “extremely emotional” — even though he admits to HATING soaps.

Ian said: “I’m not what you’d call a soap fan — I did it for the money. I enjoyed it, but a soap is not something I would watch.

“Theatre is my first love and that’s something I’m keen to get back into.”

Ian also has one other acting ambition — getting a part on ITV1’s The Bill which he watches religiously.

He said: “I can’t believe they haven’t asked me.” But he won’t be appearing on a reality show. He said: “I’d rather stack supermarket shelves than go on Big Brother.”

TV Biz can reveal Harold WON’T be killed off — and Ian said he would happily return to Ramsay Street.

He added: “I got a very good send-off — a lot of the guys I’d worked with over the years were getting quite emotional. They were saying ‘we’ll miss you Smithy’.

One guy — who’s sort of a tough guy — actually broke down and started crying and I ended up blubbing along with him. I’ll certainly miss it all — especially my great mates Jackie Woodburn who plays Susan and Tom Oliver (Lou Carpenter).

“But you never know I may be back there one day — not as a permanent character, I’m too old for that. If there was a good enough reason for me to do a one-off appearance I’d consider it.”

Ian’s stint has been so long he starred alongside Kylie Minogue and Craig McLachlan BEFORE they launched singing careers.

Harold has had typically crazy soap life. From his disappearance while suffering amnesia, to being a peeping Tom and the anguish of the death of wife Madge (Anne Charleston) — his favourite-ever scenes.

Ian laughed: “I’m sure some movie stars never get into as many scrapes as Harold.”

Harold’s final scenes air on Channel Five next year.


I know I like my TV, and I like to talk about soaps, but honestly some paople just take things too far. To actually go to someones house to shout abuse at them!!! No

What an awful thing to happen to his real mum, and then to have such a little amount of time with her, very sad indeed Sad

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Re: Ian Smith (Harold Bishop)

Post by Sally on Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:30 am

That's quite sad. Not the buffoons (they're definitely sad) but his poor mum being raped when she was still a child. It's lovely that they got together again and had those years to get to know each other. He doesn't say much about his adoptive mum, I hope he had a good relationship with her too and nice memories about his childhood.

I can just imagine Susan and Lou being upset at Harold going away. Very Happy
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