‘Neighbours’ set to be axed after nearly four decades

The show has been running since 1985, but is now failing to find the perfect blend of advertising revenue and backers

Neighbours has reportedly been axed after 36 years on UK television screens.

The classic Australian soap opera, which started in 1985, looks to be in peril after Channel 5 announced it would no longer air the program. The UK station has largely funded Neighbours since 2008, meaning that the series will end its record-breaking run in August if it is not picked up by another broadcaster.

Following speculation in The Sun over the weekend, Channel 5 confirmed that the show will no longer air on the station “beyond this summer”. Australian broadcaster Network Ten are maintaining their desire to save the show, but that it would need a new backer to continue.

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“Channel 5 pay Fremantle Australia many millions of pounds every year and, sadly, there’s a shortfall of about £5million in what it brings back in through advertising,” a source told the outlet (per Metro). “There’s a lot of disbelief and sadness among those who know it’s struggling.”

Neighbours
Kylie Minogue, Craig McLachlan, Anne Charleston, Ian Smith. Credit: Network Ten

A spokesperson for Channel 5 praised Neighbours as “a much-loved part of our schedule for more than a decade” and thanked the cast, production team, fans, and Fremantle, adding: “We recognise that there will be disappointment about this decision, however our current focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama, which has strong appeal for our viewers.”

Network 10 informed the show’s cast and crew earlier today (February 6) that filming will be paused on Monday for a meeting, and that they were looking for another broadcast partner.

“As outlined in the email to Neighbours cast and crew, it is our intention to continue our association with Neighbours if another broadcast partner comes forward,” a spokesperson for the Australian network said.

“Network 10 has an ongoing commitment to the show, the cast and crew and is hopeful that Fremantle will find a new production partner. We will provide further updates as they become available.”

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Neighbours was first broadcast on March 18, 1985, and was famously axed by the Seven Network it before it went on to be a worldwide hit for Ten the following year. Today, the show still attracts 1.5 million UK viewers a day.

Since then, the show has gone on to launch a huge number of international pop careers – including Kylie Minogue, Natalie Imbruglia, Delta Goodrem and Holly Valance – as well as a swathe of famous actors including Russell Crowe, Isla Fisher, Margot Robbie, Luke and Chris Hemsworth, Guy Pearce and Heath Ledger.

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