Neighbours set to be axed from UK TV screens after nearly 40 years

Channel 5 has announced it will be dropping the long-running Australian Soap, Neighbours.

The daytime drama about the residents of Ramsay Street has been shown on UK television for over 30 years, launching the careers of stars including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Margot Robbie.

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Here we take a look at why Channel 5 has dropped Neighbours and whether the Australian soap will continue being filmed.

Why has Channel 5 dropped Neighbours?

Channel 5 said dropping the soap will allow funding to be diverted to original UK dramas.

A spokesperson for the channel said: “Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 beyond this summer.

“It’s been a much-loved part of our schedule for more than a decade, and we’d like to thank the cast, Fremantle and all of the production team for their fantastic work on this iconic series.

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“We’d also of course like to thank the fans for their loyal support of Neighbours across the years.

“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.”

An email to staff from Fremantle Media executive producer Jason Herbison, seen by the Sydney Morning Herald, said production will stop for an indefinite period because of the lack of a broadcast partner to back it financially.

Staff have been asked to attend a meeting on Monday and filming will continue until June 10.

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The email said: “Our audience remains steady and Channel Ten would love the show to continue if we could find another broadcast partner to replace [Channel 5].

“These discussions are ongoing, however there is no new broadcaster at the moment and production must end, effectively resting the show.

“We are so proud of the show, you all and everything that you’ve achieved. But for now, this chapter is closing and we want to work together to give Neighbours the amazing send-off it deserves.”

When did Neighbours begin?

The soap, which launched in 1985, has long been more popular in the UK than in Australia, so the news has thrown the future of the show into doubt.

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The longest-running drama series on Australian television, Neighbours, initially launched on Australia’s Seven networks in 1985, but the channel axed it before Ten picked it up the following year and it became an international hit.

Neighbours was shown on BBC One until 2008 when it moved to Channel 5.

It has featured a number of British guest stars in recent years, including Amanda Holden, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ryan Thomas and Janet Street-Porter.

In Australia, it has been shown on digital channel 10 Peach since 2011 after losing its place following the nightly news on the main channel and has been reliant on the UK broadcaster for funding.

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Donovan, who played Scott Robinson from 1986 to 1989, tweeted: “@neighbours changed the Australian television landscape. It launched many careers over decades including mine.

“(It has) Engaged and entertained audiences for generations. Hoping that it will find a new home with another UK broadcaster and continue to provide opportunity and entertainment.”

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