Susan Bower

(Redirected from Criticism of Susan Bower)

Susan Bower is an Australian television producer and television writer best known for her work on the soap opera Neighbours. Bower is also the founder of the production company Bower Bird Productions.[1]

Susan Bower
Occupation(s)Television producer, Television writer
Years active1992–present


Bower is a former nurse who worked at The Alfred Hospital for 20 years before getting her scriptwriting breakthrough on A Country Practice, where she provided the show's medical information.[2] She later progressed to trainee script editor where she wrote the episode "A Virtuous Woman" in 1992, eventually becoming the story editor of the show.[3][4]

She also wrote for Big Sky, for Neighbours in 1994 and 1996, and for Home and Away in the early 1990s.[5]

Bower became an executive producer in 2004, producing McLeod's Daughters.[6] From this she went on to produce various productions including Little Oberon[7] in 2005 and Sea Patrol in 2007 before becoming executive producer of Neighbours in 2008. On 25 October 2011, it was announced Bower would be leaving Neighbours in December 2011 to move into a new international role with FremantleMedia.[8]

In 2013, Bower was mentioned in a lawsuit by Kym Valentine. Valentine alleged that Bower, former producer Neal Kingston, legal director Stephen Tosser and FremantleMedia Australia engaged in unlawful discrimination when Valentine was off sick with pneumonia.[9] The lawsuit was later dropped by Valentine after an undisclosed settlement was reached with FremantleMedia.[10]

Criticism and controversyEdit

In 2008, Bower attracted criticism when Neighbours, among other television programmes, was accused of being "too white".[11] In defence, Bower said that the core cast were from a variety of ethnic backgrounds including French, Italian, South African, Maltese, Danish, Portuguese and Swedish (despite all the actors originating from those nationalities being ethnically white).[12] She said that the soap's characters have a wide variety of backgrounds, including Tibetan and Belarusian (the Kinski siblings) and that a Greek character would be joining the cast. She also stated she would like more ethnic characters in the main cast. Around the time of this criticism, Bower introduced the character of Sunny Lee, portrayed by Korean Australian actress Hany Lee, on a temporary contract to Neighbours.[13]

Bower also received criticism in 2008 for an incest storyline between Riley Parker and his aunt Nicola West.[14] The Australian Family Association accused Bower of using the news event of a South Australian father and daughter revealing they had a child between them to attract viewers. Bower has defended the storyline saying that "it is controversial but all our storylines are carefully handled".[15]

In 2008, Kym Valentine, who had played Libby Kennedy in Neighbours for over a decade, was taken seriously ill and had to take a break from filming for five weeks. Rather than writing Libby out of the series during that time, Bower decided to recast her with Michala Banas. Bower defended the decision by saying "A recast was the only option. The stories for her character were very big. It would have been ridiculous for the show to stop them."[16]

Bower again attracted criticism in 2009 for Neighbours being "too white". Bower's response was that she was working to get more ethnic diversity into the cast,[17] but she also stated that she was angry that Neighbours had been singled out as Australian advertising also had a lack of ethnic actors.

In March 2009, she was criticised over a teenage pregnancy storyline which saw the character of 17-year-old Bridget Parker (Eloise Mignon) give birth to India Napier. Critics said that it was inappropriate for a G-rated show to cover this type of storyline, Bower has defended the storyline saying that it did not glamourise teenage pregnancy.[18]

As an April Fools'' joke in 2010, Bower released a statement on the official Neighbours website, claiming that Ramsay Street would be renamed 25th Avenue to mark the 25th birthday of the soap.[19] The joke was met with widespread hostility from fans.[20]

In 2010, Bower was criticised for re-casting the part of Declan Napier to Erin Mullally when James Sorensen announced that he was leaving Neighbours. Sorensen had been training to join the Australian army for over a year. Some fans called the move "daft", others called it "ridiculous" and "a really awful decision". This decision was defended by Neighbours, saying that the character was recast because of storylines already planned.[21]

In November 2010, Bower denied speculation that Neighbours would be "sexed up" when it moves to Eleven in 2011. Of the speculation, she said "There's this bloody rumour going around that because we're on Eleven it's going to be raunchy. I'm not going to do that. Why would I do that? England loves us the way we are. Australia loves us the way we are. Yes, we've taken a hit in the ratings, but so has everybody else."[22] She also denied that there was low cast morale and denied that the recent batch of cast departures were related to the channel change.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

On 25 January 2010, it was announced that Bower's sister Lynn Bayonas had died from cancer.[23][24] Bayonas was the producer of A Country Practice when Bower got her scriptwriting breakthrough by providing the show with medical information. Neighbours paid tribute to her death by displaying a title card as the credits rolled.



Role Production Duration
Writer A Country Practice 1992
Writer A Country Practice 1994
Writer Home and Away 1994[25]
Writer Neighbours 1994
Producer/Script Editor/Writer Echo Point 1994–95[25]
Writer Mirror Mirror 2 1996[25]
Script Editor Sweat 1996[25]
Writer Neighbours 1996[25]
Writer Big Sky 1997
Storyliner Crocadoo 1997[25]
Writer All Saints 1998
Script Producer/Story Editor All Saints 1998
Producer/Writer McLeod's Daughters 2000–05
Story Producer Sea Patrol 2007–08
Co-Producer Canal Road 2008[2]
Executive Producer Neighbours 2008–11[8]


Role Production Duration
Producer Little Oberon 2005


Bower has been nominated for two awards. In 2004, she was nominated for an AFI Award for 'Best Television Drama Series' for McLeod's Daughters.[26] In 2005, she was nominated again for an AFI award, this time for 'Best Telefeature or Mini Series' for Little Oberon.[27] Neither were won.


  1. ^ "Ausfilm Television Week – London – October 14th to 16th 2013". wallstreet:online. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Dark City". The Age. Melbourne, Australia. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Australian Television: A Country Practice". Australia: Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Susan Bower". IMDB. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  5. ^ "New Look For Neighbours". The Age. Melbourne, Australia. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Neighbours: The Perfect Blend: Susan Bower Interview". United Kingdom: Perfect Blend. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  7. ^ Idato, Michael (17 September 2005). "Magic Mountain". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  8. ^ a b Vickery, Colin (25 October 2011). "Producer waves goodbye to Neighbours". Herald Sun. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  9. ^ Dainty, Sophie (25 July 2013). "'Neighbours' star Kym Valentine sues producers over alleged discrimination". Digital Spy. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  10. ^ Klompus, Jack (19 November 2013). "'Neighbours' actress Kym Valentine drops sex discrimination lawsuit". Digital Spy. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Neighbours TV show 'too white'". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  12. ^ Knox, David (19 July 2008). ""Too White" Neighbours defends casting". Australia: TV Tonight. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  13. ^ "Neighbours: The Perfect Blend: Interview with Susan Bower". United Kingdom: Perfect Blend. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  14. ^ Lawson, Annie (15 September 2008). "Drama without borders". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  15. ^ Davies, Hannah (10 May 2008). "Uproar over incest storyline". The Courier Mail. Australia. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Neighbours: The Perfect Blend: Interview with Susan Bower". United Kingdom: Perfect Blend. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  17. ^ Knox, David (18 January 2009). "Casting a call for diversity: TV Tonight". Australia: TV Tonight. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  18. ^ Vickery, Colin (13 March 2009). "Neighbours teen pregnancy 'could cause promiscuity'". The Courier Mail. Australia. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  19. ^ "Neighbours plays April Fool's prank". Metro. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  20. ^ Green, Kris (31 March 2010). "Soaps – News – 'Neighbours' exec renames Ramsay Street? – Digital Spy". Digital Spy. Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  21. ^ "Dawn of a new Declan". United Kingdom: Five TV. 30 January 2010. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  22. ^ a b Kilkelly, Daniel (25 November 2010). "Soaps – News – 'Neighbours' boss denies cast crisis – Digital Spy". Digital Spy. Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  23. ^ "Lynn Bayonas Tribute". Australia: Herald Sun. 25 January 2010. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  24. ^ Knox, David (26 January 2010). "Vale: Lynn Bayonas: TV Tonight". Australia: TV Tonight. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  25. ^ a b c d e f "Australian Writers Guild Directory". Australia: Australian Writers Guild. Archived from the original on 12 November 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  26. ^ "AFI Awards 2004 Nominations". Urban Cine File. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  27. ^ "Australian Film Institute Awards – 2005". Alt Film Guide. Archived from the original on 8 August 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2010.

External linksEdit