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Saturday 20 September 2014

Aboriginal Neighbour moves in – 29 years on

Jonathan Pearlman

Published 22/07/2014 | 02:30

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 30: Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive at the 3rd Annual AACTA Awards Ceremony at The Star on January 30, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

The Australian soap opera 'Neighbours' is to feature an Aboriginal cast member for the first time in its 29 years on air.

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The show, the longest-running in Australian history, has been criticised over the decades for its lack of cultural diversity. Some have accused it of seeking to provide audiences with a reliable stream of blond-haired characters.

Producers of the show – which has featured Aboriginal actors before but never as a permanent cast member – said Meyne Wyatt was chosen because he was the best actor for the role, rather than his ethnic background.

He will play a character that was not intended to be Aboriginal. It is not yet clear whether the role will be rewritten to reflect Wyatt's ethnicity.

"Our brief to agents is to put forward their best people and that was the case for this character," said Jason Herbison, the series producer. "Meyne is an exceptional young award-winning actor and very much on the radar of casting directors. We feel very privileged to have him join our regular cast."

Wyatt (24) will play a character linked to Susan and Karl Kennedy, two long-time Ramsay Street residents.

He was born in the remote mining town of Kalgoorlie, and began acting while attending boarding school in Perth. He graduated in 2010 from Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art, a school whose alumni include Mel Gibson and Cate Blanchett. Wyatt has already appeared in numerous television shows and films. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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