Ian Smith didn't enjoy retirement

Ian Smith didn't enjoy retirement credit:Bang Showbiz
Ian Smith didn't enjoy retirement credit:Bang Showbiz

‘Neighbours’ veteran Ian Smith gave up on retirement as he found it too stressful.

The actor decided to quit work last year when he turned 85, but recently confirmed plans to reprise his role as Harold Bishop in the Australian soap, and has now admitted he said yes to the TV offer because relaxing was too difficult.

He told new! Magazine: “I turned 85 last June and retired. I thought I had prepared myself for it. Well, I hadn’t.

“I got a fly fishing rod, a metal detector and an electric bike. But life needs more than those things and I was finding myself almost stranded – I even tried to cook!”

Ian went on to reveal he was thrilled to get a call from ‘Neighbours’ bosses inviting him to rejoin the show following his last appearance in 2022.

He went on: “I got a phone call asking if I would come back to the show. I wanted to kiss them. I just said, ‘Yes!’

“I should have been stand-offish, and said, ‘Oh, I don’t know, how much are you going to pay?’

“But no, I said, ‘Yes! Yes!’ I’m the most fortunate elderly actor; kept off the street, still using his brain and doing what he loves. It’s lovely.”

Ian has played Harold on and off for more than 30 years and was last seen onscreen in the soap’s 2022 finale.

‘Neighbours’ has now been brought back since it was initially axed and Ian will be returning as a regular cast member for the first time in 15 years - even featuring in the show’s opening titles.

His return was announced in a statement posted on the show’s X account, which read: “After 15 years of living away, the legendary Harold Bishop is returning to Erinsborough.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ian Smith back to the show and the opening titles, where he belongs.”