HomeNeighboursCan Neighbours be saved? A look at potential saviours for the soap

Can Neighbours be saved? A look at potential saviours for the soap

Neighbours fans were given a terrible blow over the weekend when it was announced that the show was coming to an end after 37 years on the air.

It’s not the first time Neighbours has been threatened with cancellation; the Australian serial originally lasted only one year before being terminated in Australia before Network 10 stepped in to save it.

But we’re not just dealing with the prospect of the show disappearing this time: it’s exceedingly improbable that Neighbours will be on the air in the United States or Australia by 2023.

The soap’s present home, Channel 5, has stated that it will no longer run the show after this summer. While Network 10 wants it to continue on its digital channel 10 Peach, a big percentage of the show’s financial support comes from Channel 5, and it is no longer able to sustain it on its own.

It’s easy to imagine Neighbours’ salvation would be simple, given Michael Grade, former BBC One Controller, ITV Executive Chair, and Channel 4 CEO, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he predicts Fremantle will find another buyer given the soap’s “ready-made fanbase.”

“It may not have the viewership that Channel 5 requires to keep advertisers happy, but it will be picked up by someone. It’s a well-known brand that will receive a lot of attention “Grade stated his opinion.

However, reports that many such paths have previously been explored and shown to be ineffective.

Neighbours’ only hope (and it’s a slim one at that) is that the show be picked up by another UK broadcaster. The options are obviously restricted, but let’s take a look at each one and see how likely they are to save the day. Disclaimer: Those are the slimmest of possibilities.

Is it possible that Neighbours may return to the BBC?

Many people assumed the BBC would take up the show after hearing the news, as it had spent the first 22 years of its life there. It would also be a good fit for the newly relaunched BBC Three, which has added fuel to the flames.

The BBC re-airing of Neighbours, on the other hand, appears to be the largest long shot of them all. The BBC didn’t appear to mind when it switched to Channel 5, and the show cost a lot less back then than it does now. The BBC is also trying to ensure that it has a sufficient number of UK dramas from various parts of the nation, which is one of the reasons why Holby City will be ending soon.

Even if the financial problem were not taken into account, funding and airing an Australian drama would be illogical. It’s also worth mentioning that the recent freeze in the cost of the licence fee means it’ll be watching its pennies even more. In short, if Neighbours returned to the BBC, it would be a tremendous shock, and we’re sure enough that it won’t happen to rule it out.

The BBC was contacted by for comment on the storey, but they declined.

Will ITV be able to save Neighbours?

But what about the possibility of Neighbours relocating to ITV? ITV appears to be the most likely alternative out of all the possibilities. On Channel 5, Neighbours received strong ratings, and it would be a terrific addition to the ITV daytime lineup. When the show was relocated from the BBC, ITV expressed interest as well, but that was at a separate period.

Coronation Street and Emmerdale, two of ITV’s most popular soaps in terms of daily viewers, are already on the programme. Simply said, it doesn’t require a third, and it appears improbable that it would be ready to pay the money to keep it running as a co-production. We would be more optimistic if this project was mostly supported in Australia, but the way things are today, it appears to be another non-starter.

When asked if there was any interest in bringing up the show, ITV declined to respond.

Is Neighbours on its way to Channel 4?

That leaves Channel 4, where, as many have noted, a soap power hour featuring Neighbours and Hollyoaks would seem to be a perfect fit. Neighbours, on the other hand, does not. Channel 4 has a strict remit for the types of programmes it airs, and an Australian-made soap does not fall into that category.

Add in the fact that Hollyoaks’ ratings have been on the fall, and it’s easy to understand why taking on Neighbours doesn’t seem like something that would be given more than a passing thought.

We’ve reached out to Channel 4 for comment and will update this post as soon as we hear back.

What are Neighbours’ other options?

Apart from the main channels, the digital channels are the only other possible alternative for a UK home. However, if major broadcasters such as the BBC are unable or unwilling to provide the funding that Neighbours need, smaller digital-only channels are even less likely to do so.

Streaming has also been brought into the discussion, with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — as well as Viacom-owned Paramount Plus, which is set to launch in the UK later in 2022 – all being mentioned. While it would be fantastic if they took a chance on it – and possibly added the back catalogue for good measure — soaps are a very different kettle of fish from what they generally show, and we can’t see them being able to provide a platform for something that airs every day and all year.

Realistically, Neighbours’ best hope of a miraculous revival is with the home it already has: Channel 5. We’ve seen an outpouring of affection for the show over the previous several days, with Neighbours dominating the talk on social media and in entertainment news in general since the news broke. Fans will undoubtedly hope that Channel 5’s executives see this and reconsider their decision to kill the channel.

We contacted Channel 5, which echoed its previous statement and said it had nothing else to say – not a good omen, and one that shows we are well past the stage where that is even a remote possibility.

Is Neighbours truly coming to an end this year?

Yes, as things stand. The cast and crew of Neighbours will conclude production on the final episode of the show in June, barring a miraculous rescue from nowhere.

Keep in mind that, while the news has come as a shock to us – and by all accounts, the cast and many members of the crew — it was not a surprise to anybody else, and exploring new homes is something that has been done before.

According to a source close to the production, “Fremantle has already looked at a number of ideas for continuing the show with a new UK partner. The unfortunate reality is that no one has expressed an interest.” While there’s still the possibility that someone would show interest now that the fans have spoken out, it appears that the end is near.

Add in the fact that the show’s production will conclude in only four months, and it feels like it’s time to realise that, no matter how loud its devoted following continues to be, Neighbours will be ending after 37 years.


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