Neighbours makes long-awaited return with The OC’s Mischa Barton as mysterious visitor

The much-anticipated revival of Australian soap Neighbours has launched with a host of familiar faces alongside a glamorous-yet-mysterious new character played by The OC’s Mischa Barton.

The new chapter of Neighbours saw fan-favourites Guy Pearce and Annie Jones reprise their roles as Mike Young and Jane Harris after the former flames rekindled their relationship in the “final” episodes of the series last July.

Meanwhile characters Karl Kennedy (Alan Fletcher) and his on-screen wife Susan (Jackie Woodburne), also returned for the first episode, alongside Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) who was intent on showing new character JJ Varga-Murphy (Riley Bryant) his book about the history of Ramsay Street.

“A little bird tells me that you are very interested in the Street, I have got the book for you,” Harold said..

The soap, which has followed the lives of those living and working in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough since 1985, was dropped by Channel 5 after failing to secure new funding.

After an emotional goodbye last year, the drama returned on Amazon Freevee on Monday with new character Reece Sinclair (Mischa Barton) making a glamorous entrance to the Lassiter’s Hotel with a host of shopping bags, before a steamy scene in a lift with hotel employee Byron Stone (Xavier Molyneux).

Later, they were in her hotel bedroom together when he quizzes Reece on why she is in Melbourne, having travelled from New Hampshire in the US and stayed for three weeks.

“I came for a conference and it’s been way too long since I’ve had any time off so I thought I’d hang around…plus there are some appealing sights,” she said, looking at him.

Reece later mysteriously ignores a call from her father while at the hotel.

Teenage drama The OC is celebrating two decades since it debuted with Mischa playing the troubled Marissa Cooper, who met her demise in the penultimate season of the show.

On Monday, Neighbours returned on Amazon’s free ad-supported streaming service, with episodes airing daily from Monday to Thursday in the UK and the US.

Australia’s Network 10 will retain first-run rights in Australia for the new chapter of the series and it will be available to stream on Prime Video in Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

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