The producers of hit Australian soap opera NEIGHBOURS are being sued by a former star who claims he was unfairly sacked.

SHANE FEENEY's contract was terminated in September 2003 with nine months yet to run because Grundy Television claims it had received complaints from cast and crew about his bad attitude and amphetamine habit.

But 46-year-old Feeney, who played builder JOE SCULLY in the show, is demanding AUS$200,000 ($150,000/GBP83,000) insisting he had overcome his drug habit months before being sacked.

A number of Feeney's former castmates are likely to be called to give evidence at Victoria Supreme Court in Melbourne, including his on-screen wife JANET ANDREWARTHA, who made a number of complaints to producers about his aggressive behaviour.

Feeney's lawyer DYSON HORE-LACY claims many of the complaints arise from a row between the on-screen couple and the death of Feeney's brother in 2001, which affected him greatly.

The scandal comes just weeks after Neighbours - which launched the careers of Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce and NATALIE IMBRUGLIA - celebrated its 20th anniversary.