|Portrayed by||Bob La Castra|
|First appearance||2 April 1990|
|Last appearance||28 September 1990|
|Introduced by||Don Battye|
|Occupation||Cafe owner and waiter|
Edward "Eddie" Buckingham is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Bob La Castra. He made his first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 2 April 1990. La Castra created the character for himself after he was told that casting him the soap would be difficult due to his ethnic background. Eddie travels to Australia to visit Madge and Harold Bishop. While he is in the country, Eddie sets up and runs a food stall. The character was written out of the soap and Eddie departed on 28 September 1990.
Creation and casting
After La Castra finished working on children's television series Wombat in 1989, he sent an audition tape to Neighbours. La Castra received a call back, but he was told by producers that his ethnicity would make casting him difficult. The actor decided to use his background as a writer to create his own character, Eddie Buckingham. La Castra said "I was initially told the part would have been easier to cast if I were Vietnamese, but I lived in a normal street with normal people so I wrote myself in." La Castra told Nicola Murphy of TV Week that he went into shock when he learned that he had been hired by Neighbours. The producers asked La Castra to keep his casting a secret for ten weeks before he appeared on-screen. The actor commented "It was agony because I was busting to tell my friends. It's not much fun celebrating on your own!" Eddie was La Castra's first serious television role. La Castra was written out of Neighbours in October 1990 along with a series of characters, so the producers could make a return to focusing on family-oriented drama.
Eddie was introduced to Neighbours during episodes set in London. He meets Madge (Anne Charleston) and Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) and they invite him back to Australia. La Castra said that the fact he is from England in real life would be a draw for the English audience. During Eddie's seven months on Neighbours, he appeared primarily as a foil for Harold. La Castra described Eddie as a "typical cockney lovable rouge". He is "bright and breezy, and a one for chatting up the ladies." Eddie is a good guy and very street wise.
During a scene where Eddie had to ride a bicycle, La Castra revealed that he could not ride the bike. The Neighbours team asked a Caucasian man to ride the bike and they blacked him up. La Castra said nobody ever picked it up, even though a patch of skin on his body double's arm was left untouched.
Eddie runs a cafe in London, which is visited by Madge and Harold Bishop while they are on holiday. They couple strike up a friendship with Eddie and before they leave, they ask Eddie to come and visit them in Australia one day. Eddie decides to take them up on their offer and arrives in Australia a few days after Madge and Harold return. Madge and Harold let Eddie stay with them, thinking he would only be with them for a short time.
Eddie begins to act suspiciously and stores large amounts of food in the fridge. Sharon Davies (Jessica Muschamp) finds Eddie selling sandwiches at a food stall. Eddie makes Sharon promise not to tell anyone as he does not have a work permit. Sharon explains to Eddie that Harold's coffee shop is losing business as a result of his food stall and asks him to quit. Harold announces he has reported the business to the council and Eddie admits that he is running the food stall. Madge and Harold are shocked and cannot understand why Eddie needs to work while he is in Australia. Eddie reveals that his cafe back home has gone bust. Harold buys the food stall and it becomes part of the Coffee Shop. Harold lets Eddie take the food stall around the town to ensure that Harold's business does not suffer. Eddie becomes an attraction for customers and he charms them with his stories.
Eddie falls for Caroline (Gillian Blakeney) and Christina Alessi (Gayle Blakeney) and he tries to get a date with one of them. Caroline pretends to be Christina and makes herself out to be a man-eater. When Eddie and Christina discover Caroline's joke, they tell Caroline that they are engaged after their first date. Eddie and Christina tell Caroline the truth after she organises an engagement party for them. When Eddie hears that his father is sick, he decides to leave Ramsay Street to help his mother care for him.
A writer for the BBC's Neighbours website proclaimed that Eddie's most notable moment was "Announcing his joke engagement to Christina." To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Neighbours, a BBC reporter asked readers to nominate their twenty favourite obscure characters. Eddie came in fifteenth place and a reader stated "I liked Eddie Buckingham, played by Bob La Castra. He was an English stand-up comedian who lived with the Bishops for a while. No real explanation was given to why he arrived or, indeed, why he left".
- Potts, Andrew (8 September 2010). "Councillor's acting past". The Gold Coast Bulletin (News Limited): 16.
- Murphy, Nicola (12 May 1990). "The black sheep of Ramsay Street!". TV Week (ACP Magazines): 25.
- Hopwood, Clive (1990). Neighbours Special. World International Publishing Ltd. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7235-6895-7.
- Potts, Andrew (10 September 2010). "Bob's bike-riding double". The Gold Coast Bulletin (News Limited): 27.
- "Character: Eddie Buckingham". BBC. Archived from the original on 23 December 2003. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Your 20 favourite obscure Neighbours characters". BBC News (BBC). 21 October 2005. Retrieved 26 July 2010.