Channel 5 in the United Kingdom has cancelled Neighbours, spurring efforts to locate a new production partner for the show.
The popular Australian soap opera, which depicts the lives of inhabitants on the fictional Ramsay Street, first aired in 1985 and has influenced numerous A-list celebrities’ careers.
Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce, Liam Hemsworth, and Margot Robbie are just a few of the celebrities who earned their big break on Ramsay Street.
Neighbours, Australia’s longest-running drama series, is still said to draw 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom every day it airs.
It first aired on BBC One in the United Kingdom in 1986, before shifting to Channel 5 in 2008.
Despite the serial’s continued popularity among UK viewers, Channel 5, a UK broadcaster and soap production partner, will no longer run or contribute to the show from the summer onwards.
According to The Guardian, the announcement comes after a storey in The Sun over the weekend that the soap was on the verge of being cancelled by the broadcaster, which is thought to have been the show’s principal financial supporter.
“Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 beyond this summer,” a Channel 5 spokesperson confirmed to RadioTimes.com.
“We’d like to congratulate the cast, Fremantle, and the entire production crew for their excellent work on this landmark series, which has been a much-loved part of our schedule for more than a decade.”
“Of course, we’d like to thank the fans for their unwavering support of Neighbours over the years.” We understand that this decision will cause sadness; nevertheless, our present focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama, which has a significant appeal for our viewers.”
Despite Channel 5’s decision to cancel the soap, its Australian broadcaster Network 10 is hopeful that production company Fremantle will find a new production partner to keep the show going.
“As mentioned in the email to Neighbours cast and crew, it is our goal to continue our association with Neighbours if another broadcast partner comes forward,” a Network 10 spokeswoman said in a statement.
“Network 10 remains committed to the show, its cast and crew, and hopes Fremantle will find a new production partner.”
“As more information becomes available, we will provide it.”
RadioTimes.com has reached out to Fremantle Productions for further information on this topic.
Fans of the serial have already started using the hashtag #SaveNeighbours on social media to rally support for the show’s survival.
On weekdays at 1.45 p.m., Channel 5 broadcasts Neighbours. Later in the day, at 5.30 p.m., a repeat of the episode will air.