Hit & Run: Home and Away at home in LA

But who would have predicted Julian McMahon being reborn as the oleaginous Dr
Christian Troy in Nip/Tick? Or Alan Dale, dear, doughty old Jim Robinson in
Neighbours, reinventing himself in such American TV classics as ER, The OC,
24, Ugly Betty and Lost? I could (and will) go on: Jesse Spencer has, with
some symmetry, graduated from Neighbours to House, Holly Valance (after a
brief sub-Kylie pop career) has broken into in Prison Break, and Melissa
George has graced Grey’s Anatomy and given a very mature performance
opposite Gabriel Byrne in the Emmy-nominated psychodrama In Treatment. Emily
Symons – Summer Bay’s big-hearted Marilyn ? must now be kicking herself that
she chose a future pulling pints in Emmerdale. And is Jason Donovan
regretting all those West End musicals?

The big question is why ex-soapies from the Antipodes are in such demand
Stateside. Sure, they’re pretty cute looking; lord, aren’t they fresh and
wholesome compared to the half-starved, surgically enhanced local “talent”.
And as we are often told about the British actors currently crowding US TV,
they bring a training and work ethic so absent from indigenous wannabes more
interested in enlarging their body parts than extending their range.

But then maybe it’s just that if you have acting ambitions and you are
Australian, you are almost certain to have appeared in either Neighbours or
Home and Away (or both, if you are Guy Pearce). And of course Australians
are great travellers ? it’s almost obligatory to leave the country in your
twenties, just the age that Hollywood wants you. As for the oldies, it’s
only a shame that Ian Smith, Neighbours’ very own resurrection case, Harold
Bishop, never made it on to 24. Maybe Alan Dale could have a word. Gerard

Yeah baby, does my feather duster make you horny?

Our American cousins are not known for mincing their words, and my own
American cousin is no exception. We’ve just finished watching an Austin
Powers movie. “British men,” Caroline announces, “shouldn’t
be allowed to breed.” Overlooking the dire consequences this would have
for our future population (and the fact that Caroline’s father emigrated to
California from the UK in the 1970s) I jump to the defence of our
much-maligned male: “Yes, they should!” I retort.

But within moments of mounting a mental checklist, I’m not so sure. Bad teeth?
Dodgy jeans? A misguided sense of their own attractiveness (particularly
after a few pints of Stella)? The yank may have a point. But, it transpires,
there is one thing that sets the British male apart from his well-turned
out, emotionally attentive foreign counterparts: he ain’t half handy with a
feather duster.

Yes, according to a study from the Oxford University, Brits make better
husbands than Italians, French and Americans (in your face, Caroline)
because they are more likely to chip in with housework. I can’t believe it
didn’t occur to me earlier. What’s more appealing than the prospect of
Jeffrey Archer or Bernie Ecclestone in Marigolds? Charlotte Philby

Come on let’s twitch again

Forget wailing burglar alarms and fierce dogs. Net curtains, the nosy
neighbour’s weapon of choice, invented to create an illusion of privacy in
tightly packed streets of terraced houses, have been fingered as one of
Britain’s frontline defences against burglary. Sales of nets are up, and
curtain-whitener sales have also seen a hike of 20 per cent. So banish all
thoughts of Hyacinth Bucket and embrace the twitchers’ trend. “Nets
afford security from unwanted snoopers by preventing them from viewing the
contents of your home,” says Miles Shipside, of RightMove.co.uk. Nets
may not be chic, but they do serve a purpose; other simple measures include
window boxes and garden gates ? anything, in fact, that acts as an obstacle
to your valuables. That said, if you live on a street that’s netted up,
you’ve probably escaped crime because your neighbours are watching your
every move. Which might be scarier than being robbed. Harriet Walker

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