Tissues at the ready Neighbours fans – Harold Bishop is about to bow out of the hit Australian soap for good.

The character – played by Ian Smith – will drive off into the Outback in a camper van in Friday’s edition of the Five soap, more than 20 years after his first appearance.

Fans will recall that Harold made one of the greatest soap comebacks when he returned to Ramsay Street in 1996 ‘suffering amnesia’ five years after apparently being washed out to sea, leaving his spectacles behind on a rock.

Ian filmed his final episode last October and is now the favourite to win this year’s Gold Logie – Australian TV’s highest accolade.

Interviewed by Australian TV channel Ten on filming the last episode, which has already been shown Down Under, Ian said he wanted to spend time travelling.

He said: “We’re going to fly off the twig before we drop off it.”

He said the discovery of the show by an international audience in the 1980s was a ‘wonderful, exciting time’ for the cast, and he still got a good reaction when he visited the UK.

“It’s enormous, it’s very, very big and very, very polite,” he said.

“You see all these reports about soccer hooligans, then you go there and you get all this attention and it’s so polite. It’s wonderful.”

Harold was at the centre of some of the great Erinsborough dramas.

His at times tortuous but ultimately successful romantic pursuit of Madge and his love-hate relationship with Lou Carpenter drove many popular storylines.

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