For the first time in its 36 year history, Channel 10 have made the decision to reduce the number of Neighbours episodes airing on Australian TV.
TV Tonight revealed the news that the popular soap opera is being cut back to four nights a week, with no more episodes on Fridays.
In a statement to the publication, Channel 10 said: “From July 26, Neighbours will air four nights a week, from Monday to Thursday at 6:30pm on 10 Peach.
“On Fridays, viewers can laugh along with their favourite Friends at 6:30pm.”
According to TV Tonight, the decision had nothing to do with “changes in the Australian drama quotas nor to budgets”.
Instead, the new schedule is so the Australian episodes line up better with the UK release of the TV series.
British TV network Channel 5 started airing only two episodes of Neighbours a week last year due to the pandemic, which led to spoilers online because Australian fans were so far ahead.
While it’s unclear if Neighbours will return to five episodes a week anytime soon, TV Tonight reports that Fremantle production company are continuing to film six episodes a week in Melbourne.
The long-running series was one of the first TV productions worldwide to resume filming after the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020.
Neighbours went back into production in April last year, with social distancing rules in place and the cast and crew put into separate groups.
Physical content like kissing wasn’t allowed, extras weren’t used and camera trickery was implemented to make the distanced actors look closer together.
“There will be no more than 100 people a day in any area, we'll implement the four-square-metre rule and the one-and-a-half-metre social distancing rule,” Chris Oliver-Taylor, the chief executive of Fremantle Australia, said at the time.
“We've got a nurse on set, different catering for everyone, males will have no make-up, women's [make-up] will not be touched up, there are no intimate scenes.
“We're going to assume if someone does get sick we don't need to shut the entire shoot - we just close that group and carry on.”
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