EXCLUSIVE: Jackie Woodburne and Alan Fletcher: ‘Neighbours is our therapy’

Erinsborough wouldn’t be the same without them!
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Just over 27 years ago, Neighbours stalwart Alan Fletcher was cast as Dr Karl Kennedy in the long-running Aussie soap. At the time, the actor was unaware of who would be playing his on-screen wife, Susan.

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So, when his friend, Jackie Woodburne, walked onto the set, Alan couldn’t have been more thrilled.

“Back in the ’80s I was on Cop Shop and Jackie came on playing my sister. We immediately clicked as actors,” Alan, 64, tells New Idea.

“So, I was over the moon when I found out Jacks was playing Susan. I have had a big win there because she has carried me for 27 years.

Jackie agrees that their ability to “not offend easily” and “shortcut language” on set make them a great team.

alan fletcher jackie woodburne neighbours
Alan and Jackie have starred together on Neighbours for more than 27 years. (Credit: Supplied)

But the real secret to their successful partnership comes down to the simple fact that she and ‘Fletch’ just like hanging out together.

“I think he enjoys my company and we have a lot of fun, but we do become like adolescent boys sometimes,” says Jackie, 65. “We both laugh at the same things and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

Of course, not every day on set is a barrel of laughs for the two longtime pals.

“We’ve certainly had days where you try to push through personal sadness, but most of the time, once you get on set, it all gets left behind,” says Jackie.

alan fletcher jackie woodburne neighbours
“We’ve certainly had days where you try to push through personal sadness.” (Credit: Instagram)

Alan agrees, saying: “It’s kind of like therapy to transport yourself into that Neighbours world and play. If you’re a bit down about something, being at Neighbours and working with Jacks lifts me up. We look at each other and go, this is OK.”

Over the years, Alan and Jackie have seen a number of young Aussie stars get their start on Neighbours before making it big in the US – think Margot Robbie and Liam Hemsworth.

But, trying their own luck at acting in Hollywood has never crossed either of their minds.

alan fletcher jackie woodburne neighbours
The good friends love playing Karl and Susan. (Credit: Supplied)

“I am more than happy here, where I have my wife and two beautiful kids,” says Alan.

Neighbours is so enormous for me in a way that I think I got to do things I wouldn’t have got to do if I had gone on to be a jobbing actor.”

Jackie adds that, although she has no desire to live in America, she might try her luck in the UK, where Neighbours has a dedicated fan base.

“The British produce beautiful television and write really interesting roles for older women, so I think maybe one day I will go there for a little while. But to be perfectly honest, I like being home far too much. I like being in Australia and I like going to work every day.”

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