Alan Hopgood grew up in Tasmania, and acted in several dramatic roles while still a child. After finishing school in Melbourne, he attended the University of Melbourne, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and a Diploma of Education. Hopgood had his first play, Marcus, produced at Melbourne University while he was working as a school-teacher. He left teaching to act and write full-time in the theatre.
He is a well-known actor, having worked with the the Phillip Street Theatre (q.v.), for which he also contributed original material; the Union Theatre Repertory Company; and for many years was associated with the Melbourne Theatre Company. He has also appeared in a number of popular television programmes.
Hopgood has written numerous scripts for stage, film and television in a diverse range of genres, including feature films, documentaries, theatre, musicals, and comedy. Two notable television series are Bellbird (q.v.) and Neighbours (q.v.). His Neighbours: The Playscripts (1990) contains storylines written as exercises for young actors. He has also published The Twin Book (or two of everything) with Honor Walters (1983) and Surviving Prostate Cancer: One Man's Journey (with Mark Ragg (q.v.) and Peter Royce, 1996).
A character-based television drama series about the lives of police officers in the fictitious Australian country town of Mt Thomas, this series began with the arrival of Constable Maggie Doyle (Lisa McCune) to the Mt Thomas station in the episode 'A Woman's Place'. Doyle and avuncular station boss Senior Sergeant Tom Croydon (John Wood) were the core characters of the series until the departure of Lisa McCune.
Immensely popular for a decade, Blue Heelers was cancelled in 2006 after thirteen seasons. The announcement was front-page news in Australia's major newspapers including The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney's Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and The Age in Melbourne, and Brisbane's Courier Mail.
On June 8, 2006 Ross Warneke wrote in The Age:
'It's over and, to be perfectly blunt, there's no use lamenting the demise of Blue Heelers any more. When the final movie-length episode aired on Channel Seven on Sunday night, 1.5 million Australians tuned in, a figure that was big enough to give the show a win in its timeslot but nowhere near big enough to pay the sort of tribute that this writer believes Heelers deserved after more than 500 episodes.It is unlikely there will be anything like it again. At almost $500,000 an hour, shows such as Blue Heelers are quickly becoming the dinosaurs of Australian TV.'
A daily television drama series set in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough, Neighbours chronicles the lives of the residents of Ramsay Street. The series initially revolved around three families: the Ramsays (at number 24 Ramsay Street), the Robinsons (at number 26), and the Clarkes (at number 28). The scope of the series has since broadened to include new Ramsay Street familes.