Neighbours fans were shocked to learn that the Australian serial will be ending after the summer season on Channel 5, putting the show’s survival in jeopardy because it is dependant on the broadcaster’s funding.
Former Neighbours star Jason Donovan has spoken out about the news, saying that he hopes the show finds a new home in the UK so that it may continue to air and “offer opportunity and pleasure.”
From 1986 through 1989, Donovan starred as Scott Robinson on the soap, where he launched his music career alongside Kylie Minogue, who played his girlfriend Charlene Mitchell. The show in which the couple married was famously watched by 19.6 million people in the United Kingdom.
The actor wrote on Twitter: “The Australian television landscape was transformed by @neighbours. Many careers, including mine, have been launched as a result of it over the years. For generations, audiences have been engaged and entertained. I’m hoping it will find a new home with a UK broadcaster and continue to provide opportunities and pleasure.”
A Channel 5 representative revealed to Digital Spy in an official statement: “After this summer, Channel 5 will no longer broadcast Neighbours. 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.”
The spokesman went on to say: “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; but, our present priority is on boosting our investment in original UK drama, which has a great appeal among our viewers.”
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Last year, Donovan stated that in order to avoid the show becoming a “publicity stunt,” he would have to commit for a longer period of time, which he simply did not have.
He told Heat magazine, “The trouble with that is the publicity would be bigger than the moment itself.” “You’d have to go in there and make a long-term commitment.” It becomes a publicity stunt if you only appear for two or three weeks.
“That’s not what I need right now, and it’s not what she [Minogue] needs right now, so it doesn’t feel right.”
When his daughter Jemma joined the show in 2020, the actor and music star said that he sobbed happy tears.
Jason told The Australian Women’s Weekly, “I remember getting the phone call from my agent saying, ‘I’ve got some news,’ and I cried.”
“It made me so pleased that she has a chance, that she has a foundation, and that there is a solid purpose for it. Jemma’s perfect house is Neighbours.”
Neighbours has a daily audience of over 1.4 million people in the UK, with two daily programmes at 1.45pm and 6pm, and a smaller audience of around 100,000 in Australia, where the show airs on digital channel 10 Peach.