AS Network Ten prepares to air the 6000th episode of The Bold and the Beautiful on Tuesday, the American soap shows no signs of slowing down.
Known to fans as ‘B&B’, the series was reported to be the most-watched soap in the world in 2008 with more than 26 million viewers.
It has won 31 Daytime Emmy Awards and continues to hold its spot as the second most watched daytime drama in the US.
The long-running soap tells the saga of two families – the rich Forresters and poor Logans – ingrained in LA’s glamorous fashion industry.
Suzanne Flannery is one of only four cast members who has been there to see it all, from the show’s debut in 1987 to its most recent milestone.
Flannery plays Stephanie, the manipulative and fiercely protective matriarch of the Forresters.
The Golden Globe and Daytime Emmy Award-winning actor says the years have flown by on the B&B set.
“I had dinner last night with Katherine Kelly Lang who plays Brooke, and we were talking about the fact that we couldn’t believe it’s been 24 years,” she said.
“The four of us who’ve been here since the beginning, she and Ron (Moss, who plays Ridge Forrester) and John (McCook, who plays Eric Forrester) and myself, are looking at each other and saying ‘well weren’t we young’.”
Just like the show, Flannery and her iconic character aren’t going anywhere. She says she’s happy to play Stephanie for as long as she can and regularly reminds herself of how lucky she is to have such an enduring TV role.
“You always have to kind of keep things interesting for yourself, like in anything. I don’t care whether you’re a doctor or lawyer or actor. After a certain number years you get burnt out,” she said.
“You’ve got to take yourself up on the mountain top, sit down and settle down, and say ‘hey you’re very lucky’, and then get back to it.”
Fiction meets reality in Tuesday’s landmark episode when Stephanie arranges an intervention-type of visit to convince an addicted cigar smoker, Nick Marone, to kick his addiction after learning that he has a spot on his lung.
The intervention includes testimonies from real-life lung cancer survivors, including Emmy Award-winning actor Kathryn Joosten.
Along with Joosten’s heart-wrenching recount of her diagnosis, fellow cancer advocates Dr Michael Weitz, Meryl Bralower, and opera singer Zheng Cao share their feats of overcoming the dreaded disease.
“It is really, when you think about it, like reality TV interwoven with what is normally a scripted drama,” said Flannery.
“I don’t think anybody else has done it. The whole cancer story has been handled very well and told in not a woe-is-me kind of way. It’s been an emotional adventure for my character and the other characters she’s involved with.”
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.