Neighbours star Alan Fletcher reveals he has alopecia

“A lot of you are going to be pretty shocked”: Neighbours star Alan Fletcher has spoken out after fans expressed concerns over his appearance.

Longtime Neighbours actor Alan Fletcher has taken to social media to allay fans’ concerns about his health, after appearing in the latest episodes of the soap looking drastically different.

The 65-year-old actor, who has played Ramsay St GP Dr Karl Kennedy on the soap since 1994, explained that his new hair-free look is the result of alopecia, and not anything more serious or potentially life-threatening.

“A lot of fans have expressed a little concern about my health on the internet, and there have been some media inquiries as well, so I just want to put something to rest. I am absolutely fine. I’m fit and well working on Neighbours and having a great time,” he told fans via a video posted to the show’s official Twitter account.

“But, I can report to you, I do have a disorder called alopecia areata.”

Fletcher explained that he first started to lose hair in patches in his beard, then on his scalp.

Eventually, his hair became so patchy, he shaved the remainder off.

Fletcher, who is the third-longest serving actor in an Aussie soap behind Home And Away actors Ray Meagher and Lynne McGranger, explained that while UK Neighbours viewers had already seen Dr Karl without hair, Australian fans would see his new look on screens from June 2.

“I know a lot of you are going to be pretty shocked, but I have no problem with it. In fact, it’s kind of fun,” he said, removing his baseball cap to reveal his bald head.

But he also noted that, alopecia can be a difficult for some sufferers – “particularly from an emotional point of view” – and encouraged anyone who is struggling to reach out to alopecia associations here and in the UK.

He said that it was the disorder that “caused a bit of discord between Will Smith and Chris Rock”. Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith also has alopecia, and it was an onstage joke about her bald scalp that made Smith lose it and slap Chris Rock at last month’s ceremony.

Fletcher also teased that he was in possession of the script for the final-ever episode of Neighbours, which he said would see the show end on a high after 40 years on screens.

“I know a lot of you are gutted that Neighbours is ending, but I can promise you the end is going to be sensational,” he said.

Eighties Neighbours superstars Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan are expected to reprise their roles as Charlene and Scott for the finale, with Kylie sharing a close-up photo of a Neighbours script to social media recently.

Gossip newsletter Popb*tch reported that a leaked script for the finale shows Scott and Charlene are still going strong since tying the knot more than 30 years ago.

Noting the leaked script may well be a “decoy”, the outlet reported Charlene and Scott “bring the curtain down” on the series, pulling up to Ramsay Street in a car and stepping out with the line: “We’re home.”

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