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Neighbours' Stefan Dennis praised for performance over shocking soap death

The Australian soap star's character Paul Robinson lost his son David Tanaka after he died a hero in a shock new storyline.

Stefan Dennis (as Paul Robinson) in Neighbours. (Freevee)
Stefan Dennis was hailed for his moving performance as Paul Robinson in Neighbours, following the death of son David. (Freevee)

What did you miss?

Neighbours star Stefan Dennis has been hailed for his moving performance after David Tanaka's shocking death.

Fans of the Australian soap were in tears over the latest episode of the show - which in September 2023 rebooted on Amazon Freevee - as beloved character David Tanaka, played by Takaya Honda, was killed off. But it was original Neighbours star Dennis who stole the show, with his emotional scenes as his character Paul Robinson grieved the death of his beloved son.

What, how, and why?

Takaya Honda dNeighbours. (Getty Images)
Takaya Honda's character David was killed off in Neighbours. (Getty Images)

David Tanaka died a heroe's death in dramatic scenes when he chose to sacrifice himself and save criminal Eden Shaw (Costa D’Angelo) as the pair tumbled off a cliff. Learning of his son's death later in hospital Paul Robinson sobbed: "My darling boy."

Fans were full of praise for Dennis's performance. One wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter: "Fantastic acting all round in today's traumatic episode, especially Stefan (Paul Robinson) Dennis. So glad @AmazonFreevee saved #Neighbours"

Another exclaimed of Dennis: "this guy deserves all the praise and appreciation there is. what an actor, what a character. I knew stefan would portray paul’s grief, pain, suffering and unimaginable heartbreak phenomenally but still wasn’t prepared to see paul totally broken #Neighbours"

And another posted: "Today’s episode of #Neighbours was hard viewing but for all the right reasons. Amazing performances by everyone and wonderfully written and directed. As great as it was I don’t think I could bring myself to watch it again though."

Dennis, 65, has played Paul Robinson in Neighbours since the Australia soap began in 1985. He said of Freevee saving Neighbours following its axe in 2022: "We're an Australian show. The reason we're iconic and the reason we're unique to the rest of the world is because we are the quirky Australian show, so don't change it."

What else happened in Neighbours?

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Neighbours fans are devastated that David has been killed off. (Freevee)

David arrived in the soap backin 2016 along with twin brother Leo Tanaka (Tim Kano), and they were revealed to be the secret love children of long-standing character Paul Robinson. David became a fan favourite after fans saw him struggle with his sexuality before finally coming out. He then found love with Aaron Brennan and the pair became the first gay couple to marry on Australian television in 2018.

Fans are now devastated that their relationship has ended in tragedy.

One shared: "Why on earth did #Neighbours bring Aaron&David back for the reboot just for their story to end like this." Another said: "Aaron & Leo carrying David hit so hard the first time, largely because I just thought ‘They’re brothers now’ and that was it - it’s also probably the most traumatic sight in #Neighbours history." And another commented: "What an amazing yet incredibly heartbreaking episode of #Neighbours! Beautiful performances by all the cast but that scene of Aaron listening to David’s voice message with it cutting to him recording it - just wow! to @MattyWilson88 and @takayahonda"

Neighbours streams on Amazon Freevee, adding new episodes at 7am Monday to Thursdays.

Read more: Neighbours