Last weekend, Neighbours viewers were stunned to learn that UK broadcaster Channel 5 would be removing its financing from the famous Australian drama, putting the show in peril of cancellation if it does not find a new broadcaster to help with production.
A fan petition was established in response to the news, requesting that the show be rescued after 36 years on the air, noting it as a “source of comfort and enjoyment for generations of fans.” The petition has already surpassed 50,000 signatures in less than a week, with numbers continuing to rise.
This week, the show’s iconic theme song reached number one on iTunes, marking yet another milestone for the show.
Fremantle Media, which produced the show in collaboration with Channel 10 in Australia and Channel 5 in the United Kingdom, expressed their wishes for the show to continue, while they admitted that there will have to be a hiatus for the time being.
“Our audience is stable, and Channel 10 would love to keep the show going if we could replace [Channel 5] with another broadcast partner,” executive producer Jason Herbison said (via The Sunday Morning Herald). “These conversations are ongoing, but there is currently no new broadcaster, so production must come to a halt, effectively putting the show on hold.”
“We’re incredibly proud of the show, you all, and everything you’ve accomplished.” But, for the time being, this chapter is coming to a close, and we’d like to work together to give Neighbours the send-off it deserves.”
Current and former cast members have expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation and their desire for various parties to intervene and help the show stay on the air.
Former star Rob Mills, who portrayed Finn Kelly on the serial until last year, has even requested further money from the Australian government, emphasising the importance of Neighbours in providing thousands of jobs throughout the television industry.
Jane Harris has been played by Annie Jones since 1986, and she reiterated these thoughts, saying: “I’m hoping that the programme may be salvaged in some way. For the benefit of our next film and television producers, we need Neighbours to continue.”