Channel 5 has announced that the long-running Australian soap opera Neighbours would be cancelled.
For nearly 30 years, the daily drama about the residents of Ramsay Street has aired on British television, launching the careers of artists such as Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, and Margot Robbie.
We investigate why Channel 5 has cancelled Neighbours and whether the Australian drama will be resurrected.
Why was Neighbours cancelled by Channel 5?
Channel 5 claims that by cancelling the programme, money will be reallocated to original UK shows.
“Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 after this summer,” a representative for the channel said.
“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.”
According to an email from Fremantle Media executive producer Jason Herbison received by the Sydney Morning Herald, production will be halted indefinitely due to a lack of financial backing from a broadcast partner.
A meeting has been scheduled for Monday, and filming will continue until June 10.
“Our audience remains consistent, and Channel Ten would love to keep the show going if we could find another broadcast partner to replace [Channel 5],” the email stated.
“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.”
When was the first episode of Neighbours aired?
The serial, which first aired in 1985, has long been more popular in the United Kingdom than in Australia, therefore the announcement has cast doubt on the show’s future.
Neighbours, Australia’s longest-running drama series, premiered on Australia’s Seven networks in 1985, but the station cancelled it before Ten took it up the following year, and it became a worldwide hit.
Neighbours first aired on BBC One before moving to Channel 5 in 2008.
Amanda Holden, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ryan Thomas, and Janet Street-Porter have all appeared as guest stars on the show in recent years.
It has been carried on digital channel 10 Peach in Australia since 2011, after losing its slot following the nightly news on the main channel, and has been funded by the UK broadcaster.
“@neighbours transformed the Australian television scene,” said Donovan, who played Scott Robinson from 1986 to 1989. Many careers, including mine, have been launched as a result of it over the years.
“For generations, it has enthralled and entertained audiences.” I’m hoping it’ll find a new home with a UK broadcaster and continue to provide opportunities and enjoyment.”