This week marks the end of an era for Home and Away in the United Kingdom, as the long-running Australian soap no longer airs on Channel 5 in the evenings. (Don’t worry, the programme hasn’t been cancelled entirely!)
Channel 5 executives disclosed the announcement earlier this year, but the schedule adjustment has taken some viewers off guard in recent days.
Here’s a rundown of the Summer Bay reshuffle and how UK fans can keep getting their fill of Home and Away.
Why isn’t Channel 5 showing Home and Away in the evenings?
While Home and Away is still on the Channel 5 schedule, it has been moved from the 6 p.m. slot as part of a larger shake-up of the evening schedule.
The changes began in June, when Channel 5 asked to broadcasting regulator Ofcom for authorisation to consolidate its two evening news programmes into a single show.
Channel 5 used to broadcast 30-minute news updates at 5 and 6.30 p.m., but the station recommended that a single hour-long news slot beginning at 5 p.m. would be more beneficial to viewers.
After a few weeks of planning the redesigned news programme, Ofcom granted the go light in September, and Channel 5 has officially made the switch.
Because news now airs at 5.30 p.m., Neighbours, another Australian soap, has been shifted to 6 p.m., which was formerly Home and Away’s time slot.
In the evenings, Channel 5 presently runs quiz game Eggheads at 6.30pm, and it is expected to experiment with other series in this time in the coming months, leaving no place for Home and Away.
The channel’s schedulers appear to have prioritised Neighbours, since the Ramsay Street serial had higher nighttime ratings than Home and Away.
“As Channel 5 continues to draw greater audiences, its news production is an ever more vital component of the package it produces for consumers,” a Channel 5 spokeswoman recently told Digital Spy.
“Home and Away will no longer show weekdays at 6pm on Channel 5 after Ofcom’s approval of Channel 5’s 5pm News Bulletin expansion.”
But have no worry, Summer Bay fans: everything is not lost…
Where can You watch Home and Away in the United Kingdom?
Despite the loss of its 6 p.m. hour, Channel 5 continues to air Home and Away.
The show continues to run on Channel 5 at 1.15pm during the day, with a repeat airing at 6pm on digital channel 5STAR for those who got addicted to viewing at that time. Because 5STAR is a free-to-air channel, it may be found on all major platforms.
Home and Away still offers a first-look showing at 6.30pm on 5STAR, which is one episode ahead of Channel 5’s airing. This show consistently draws large audiences and is 5STAR’s highest-rated show, so it’s not going away anytime soon.
Home and Away is also available to watch on demand on Channel 5’s My5.
Will there be a break from Home and Away this year?
The bad news is that, just as we’ve all gotten acclimated to the new schedule, Home and Away will be taking a break.
The show usually goes off the air at the end of the year and reappears after Christmas. The year 2021 will be no different, with the break approaching quickly.
The last Home and Away episode of the year will show on 5STAR on Friday, November 19 at 6.30pm and on Channel 5 on Monday, November 22 at the one-off time of 12.30pm, according to Digital Spy.
On Friday, December 31 at 6.30pm, 5STAR will premiere a new episode of Home and Away, which will air on Channel 5 on Monday, January 3 at 1.15pm.
For UK viewers, the final episode of the year will have a cliffhanger, with Tane Parata’s hidden stalker carrying out a fatal attack at local eatery Salt, so don’t miss it.