Neighbours praised for ‘saving gay lives’ by emotional actor as soap’s future hangs in the balance

Neighbours star Takaya Honda

Neighbours star Takaya Honda has praised the soap for saving lives with its LGBT+ representation.

Honda took time to praise the impactful LGBT+ storylines that have aired on the Australian soap after it was announced that it will no longer be funded by Channel 5, putting its future at risk.

The actor’s character, David Tanaka, was part of Australia’s first televised gay wedding, and Honda reflected on how the long-running show has helped to tell the stories of those often underrepresented in media.

The 34-year-old, who has starred in the soap since 2016, told followers: “I think there is something that is forgotten in the media when they talk about Neighbours.

“Yes, when you reduce a storyline to dot points it can sound silly (that applies to more shows than people are willing to admit) but not everything on Neighbours is silly and the affect [sp] it has on people certainly isn’t.

I have, on multiple occasions received messages from fans stating that the show and David’s storylines have saved their lives, and they say this genuinely.”


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The Japanese-Australian actor added: “Neighbours has always offered a place to escape and in recent years has offered a place to escape for so many who have been under represented.

“I have been one half of, not only the first on screen gay wedding in Australian history but, I’m pretty sure, also one of the longest running on screen gay relationships too.

“There are very few that span the length of time or episode count that @mattywilson and I have as #Daaron. I say this on top of being a POC too.”

Neighbours cast during the 2019 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on March 02, 2019

Neighbours cast during the 2019 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade (El Pics/ Getty Images)

Neighbours bosses are now believed to be in crunch talks over the show’s future now that Channel 5 is dropping it. Though the soap is an Australian production, it is reliant on UK funding.

Without a new backer, production will likely end in June.

Takaya Honda concluded: “I am proud of being a part of this show, I am super proud of the work we have been producing over the past few months that you are yet to see, and I am proud to be a part of this team as we move towards June 10 and whatever lies beyond.

“Thank you, for your passion, your love and your overwhelming support ♥️.”

Honda and his co-star Matt Wilson saw their characters take part in one of Australian TV’s first gay weddings in 2018, with the couple’s relationship continuing to feature on the soap until the present day.