19th May 1990
BEING cool comes naturally to one of Neighbours’ latest recruits, Bob La Castra.
But Bob, who worked with beautiful Neighbours twins Gillian and Gayle Blakeney when he was host of the TV WEEK Logie Award-winning kids’ show Wombat, says landing the “cool dude” role of Eddie Buckingham in Neighbours was a fluke.
Says Bob: “I put a demo tape together and decided to send it to the producers, but when they hired me I went into shock!”
Describing himself as the “black sheep of the family”, British-born Bob says he has been performing since he was 13 and is the only member of his clan involved in the entertainment industry.
“I’m not really sure what my background is but my mother is white and my father is part West Indian,” he says.
“When we were growing up as kids there weren’t many blacks in England. We were a bit unusual.”
A self-described jack of all trades, Bob’s talents include stand-up comedy and writing. His first children’s book, Inside Outback Downunder, was released last year.
Bob arrived in Australia with his English wife Lindsey nine years ago and didn’t take long getting his career off the ground.
“My first job was as a stand-up comedian in a two-man comedy show called Black Magic,” he says.
Later he was asked to host the morning TV show Brisbane Today, and then co-hosted the now defunct children’s show Wombat.
He is delighted with his Neighbours role, but says it’s pure coincidence that he’s working again with Gillian and Gayle.
“It’s the nature of the industry that you’re bound to cross paths with former workmates,” he says.
His biggest problem with the role was the fact that the producers of Neighbours asked him to keep his casting under wraps for some time before he popped up on screen.
Says Bob: “I had to keep it a secret for 10 weeks. It was agony because I was busting to tell my friends. It’s not much fun celebrating on your own!”
The character of Eddie Buckingham is his first serious acting role.
“Eddie is a bit like me — a jack of all trades,’’ Bob says. ‘‘He met Harold and Madge Bishop (Ian Smith and Anne Charleston) in England and promptly followed them here.
“When he lands on their doorstep they can’t get rid of him and to make matters worse he sets up the Munch Box, almost sending Harold’s business broke!”
Bob’s family and friends in England are “huge Neighbours fans”. He adds: “Now I’m in the show they keep ringing to find out the latest Neighbours gossip!”
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