Harold and Madge to return to ‘Neighbours’ for 30th anniversary special

Anne Charleston will reprise her role as Madge even though the character was killed off in 2001

The much-loved characters of Harold and Madge are to return to Neighbours next year.

Ian Smith and Anne Charleston will reprise their roles as bickering Ramsay Street couple the Bishops for the Aussie soap’s 30th anniversary – even though Madge was killed off in 2001.

Charleston, 71, said in a statement: “It was an immediate yes when I was invited to return for the 30th Anniversary, I wouldn’t have missed it and I’m thrilled with the way their story unfolds.”

Smith, 76, who last played Harold in 2011, added: “I spent half my working life on Neighbours and so it’s lovely to be back with Anne and all the cast and crew.”

Neighbours bosses have promised that Madge and Harold are the “first of a number of celebrated past cast members returning for the 30th anniversary to be announced”, but Kylie Minogue has recently denied that she intends to reprise her role as Madge’s daughter, Charlene, telling ITV that “it’s just not happening”.

Charleston previously played matriarch Madge between 1986 and 1992, and then again from 1996 to 2001, when her character died following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Smith played Harold regularly between 1986 and 1991, and then again from 1996 to 2009, before making a brief return in 2011. Famously, his character disappeared during a coastal walk in 1991 and was presumed dead, before he returned five years later suffering from amnesia and slowly rekindled his relationship with Madge.