Home and Away will continue to air on UK television screens, according to Channel 5.
The news that Neighbours would be cancelled this summer after 14 years on the television sent shockwaves through Australian soap fans over the weekend.
Neighbours is now in jeopardy as a result of the change, with producer Jason Herbison saying that the show would be cancelled entirely in June unless a new broadcast partner can be found.
Despite the fact that Channel 5 has a contract to broadcast Home and Away for as long as it is produced by the Seven Network, recent developments with the channel transferring the show’s nightly airing to 5Star has viewers wondering whether they are trying to get out of their contract.
A spokesman for Channel 5 stated that Home and Away is safe at this time in a statement to the press today:
“Home and Away has had a longstanding and continuous home on Channel 5 since 2000,” they told The Sun.
“It will continue to air on Channel 5 at 1:15 p.m. on weekdays and on 5STAR at 6 p.m. on weekends, with a sneak peek on 5STAR every weekday at 6:30 p.m.”
Channel 5 won the rights to broadcast the show in March 2000, outbidding previous broadcaster ITV in a deal worth up to £40 million over the first five years. Despite not having given as much money as ITV, it was their promise to screen the show for the rest of its run that turned the bid in their favour.
The ITC allowed Channel 5 to include Home and Away in their quotas as an originating series rather than an acquisition because they covered more than half of the show’s production costs.
Home and Away’s Executive Producer John Holmes told UK industry publication Broadcast at the time that ITV had only started returning their calls once they realised their rival station was interested in the show.
“All of a sudden, the phones from London started ringing with a little bit more enthusiasm,” he remarked. “However, once the transaction is done, it’s done.” They had their reasons, and now it’s got ‘Crossroads,’ which, I feel, is growing in popularity.”
Following the agreement, ITV invoked a clause in their contract that banned Channel 5 from airing until July 2001, therefore taking the show off the air in the UK for nearly a year.
Episodes that aired in Australia in November are presently being shown on Channel 5, with the 2021 season finale set to air on Friday, March 4th in the UK. The UK will be 5 weeks behind Australian airings when the 2022 season premieres the following Monday.