Neighbours has been given a second chance, returning to Channel Seven 37 years after it first aired there.
Seven has swooped in the legendary soap to start a new chapter for the Ramsay Street serial in a remarkable new agreement.
The series first aired on Seven in 1985, before being picked up by 10 in 1996, but it will now air on 7Plus as part of a bold streaming investment in local drama.
“Everyone needs good Neighbours,” said CEO James Warburton, “and 7Plus is the perfect friend for the much-loved drama.”
“We are delighted to bring the show back to the network where it all began,” said the network.
“In the coming months, fans will continue to watch Toadie, Dr. Karl & Susan, Paul Robinson, and everyone in Erinsborough’s loves and lives. Seven now has a 70-year history of iconic Australian drama, thanks to Home & Away.”
Seven’s audacious approach comes after Channel 5 said that the show will be cancelled and Channel 10 said it couldn’t continue without a British partner.
James Warburton has secured a deal with Fremantle to completely fund the series by absorbing costs as part of Home & Away’s production output – but it will bring about some unexpected changes across the soapie universe.
Erinsborough will join the fictional ‘Yabbie Creek’ as a new surfside village to Summer Bay, according to Seven’s Chief Content Officer of Entertainment Angus Ross, opening up both to crossover storylines.
He hinted, “It’ll be soapie nirvana for drama junkies.”
“I can’t give too much away, but expect to see Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) on screen for the first time with Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher), Irene (Lynne McGranger) working at Lassiters, and Toadie (Ryan Moloney) in the Summer Bay surf shop.”
“There’s no end to the tales, relationships, and TV weddings that can be created.”
“I can also announce that Dannii Minogue, who starred in Home & Away, will make her Neighbours debut as a long-lost Robinson relative, carrying on the soapie royalty tradition.”
Seven’s business plan includes a premium 7Plus “Perfect Blend” streaming membership for British fans. Fans will need to memorise the lyrics to Especially For You and have a River Boys “Blood & Sand” tattoo splashed over their breast to get through the geo-blocking.
The new Neighbours era will premiere on 7Plus on August 1st, exactly four months after the first episode aired on April 1st.
“It’ll be bigger than Bouncer’s wildest dreams!” Ross continued.
Updated: Yup, annual April Fool’s Day post.