Harold Bishop

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For the former American football player, see Harold Bishop, Jr.

Harold Bishop is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Ian Smith. He made his first on-screen appearance on 30 January 1987. Smith was offered a role by Neighbours creator and executive producer Reg Watson. He departed in September 1991, but returned five years later in October 1996 and remained on screen for over twelve years, making him the second longest-running character in the show's history, surpassed only by Lou Carpenter. Smith announced Harold's departure from Neighbours in August 2008 and he made his final appearance 27 February 2009. In December 2010, it was announced that Smith would be reprising his role as Harold for a return in 2011.

Contents

Casting

Reg Watson offered Smith a role in Neighbours following the end of his television drama, Prisoner, on which Smith had been a script editor.[1] Smith agreed to join Neighbours and asked if he could write for the show too.[1] Smith's part as Harold was only supposed to last for five weeks.[1] Comedian Peter Moon originally auditioned for the role of Harold.[2] Of his audition, Moon said "Ian Smith beat me to it, so it is kind of weird thinking about the life I could have had. When I auditioned, I went into wardrobe and they gave me a pair of shoes to wear that had Harold written on them".[2] Moon was later given a role with the soap twenty years later.[2] Smith was written out in 1991, before making a return in 1996.[3] Harold later became the second longest-running character in the show's history.[4]

Smith decided to go part time on the show in 2007.[5] In August 2008, it was announced that Smith had quit Neighbours.[6] Paula Lucarelli of Network Ten said "When the discussions were made about his decision to go part-time last year, he said it was only going to be for a short time and then he would let us know. Production was aware that it would be coming."[6] Smith filmed his final scenes in October of that year and the character deaprted in February 2009.[6] He revealed that he quit the show because he wanted to travel more and because he was getting "ongoing abuse" from locals.[3][5] He said "You know it's time to move on when you're being hassled outside your home every night by drunk idiots screaming abuse. I got so fed up I ended up calling the police. They were making my life hell."[5]

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