In the wake of the news that Neighbours will be cancelled later this year, Jackie Woodburne has urged fans not to lose hope.
The actress, who plays Susan Kennedy, went on Network 10’s The Project to discuss the shocking news that Neighbours will be cancelled due to Channel 5’s decision not to renew its contract to transmit the show in the United Kingdom.
According to current plans, the show will end production in June of this year unless a new broadcaster can be found.
“Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 beyond this summer,” according to a statement released late Saturday evening UK time by Channel 5.
“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.”
Jackie began by adding that the previous 36 hours had been a rollercoaster. Jackie has played Susan Kennedy on Neighbours for 27 years.
“It’s a lot of information to try to comprehend,” she explained. “I’m still a little stunned, a little overwhelmed.”
“We had a meeting today where our producers gave us some additional information, really nothing more [but] what’s already been out there, but I have to say, the feeling was beautiful, it was very lovely.”
“You know, we’re all sad, we’re all crying, we’re all really emotional about it all, but we’re all so motivated to bring this play home as best we can,” says one of the cast members.
She joked that the performers had gone on a “whirlwind tour” to attempt to save the show, but that they “only received around $47 and I don’t believe it’ll be enough.”
“It’s kind of, it’s more than a family, or it’s different than a family,” Jackie said when asked what the show’s global effect means to her.
“These are people that choose to be there, and we work so quickly, and we care so deeply about the show, and we respect the show and the viewers, but we have so much fun,” she continued.
“I mean, I’ve probably laughed more in the last 27 years than I probably should have, and I’ve gotten paid for it.”
“You and a lot of other women, I’ve got to say,” Jackie continued after host Carrie Bickmore mentioned that she grew up watching the show and that she was in love with Dr Karl, Susan’s on-screen husband played by Alan Fletcher.
She discussed what she believes contributed to the show’s success, citing the “daggy” and “identifiable” characters as examples.
“I believe it’s because the things we tell are so personal,” she explained. “And the characters, you know, all of our characters are a little bit daggy.” We’re not incredibly cool and polished, but we’re definitely recognisable.”
“Oh my goodness, would you want to be a writer in that room, trying to wind up a show after 38 years in a way that’s going to please everyone?” Jackie replied when asked if the programme will “simply quit” or if there will be a “big finale” with an explosion.
“I mean, there’s no pressure.”
“However, I am aware that everyone wishes to honour the show and perform it with love, pride, and dignity. So it will be large, but I believe it will keep all of the fundamental touchstones for us.”
Jackie also addressed rumours that the show’s producers are attempting to entice Kylie Minogue back for the finale.
Kyle’s character Charlene was one half of the renowned Scott and Charlene couple, whose wedding was viewed by nearly 20 million people in the United Kingdom.
“That would be fantastic.” But I have to say, with the present cast, we will do it proud. I’m confident we will.”
When asked what she plans to do after Neighbours, Jackie quipped that she wants to do something completely different from the family matriarch she portrays on Ramsay Street.
“I’m thinking of a serial killer with borderline personality disorder, sociopath, or borderline personality disorder.” “Something along those lines.”
Jackie concluded by urging viewers to keep their fingers crossed and “not give up hope,” while also stating that “everything is possible.”
Despite the fact that Neighbours airs in a variety of countries throughout the world, the show’s production is largely funded by Channel 5, a UK broadcaster.
The show’s Australian broadcaster, Network 10, hinted that the show could still air if a replacement broadcaster could be found.
“If another broadcast partner comes forward, it is our goal to continue our partnership with Neighbours,” the network stated in a statement.
“Network 10 remains committed to the show, its cast and crew, and hopes Fremantle can find a new production partner.”
However, Neighbours’ Executive Producer, Jason Herbison, issued a statement that was realistic of the current situation:
“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.”
Filming is expected to continue until the 10th of June.