Natalie Imbruglia ‘devastated’ as Neighbours faces cancellation: ‘Travesty’

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Natalie Imbruglia has publicly backed the petition to save Neighbours from cancellation after the UK’s Channel 5 announced plans to drop the series from their lineup and remove funding.

The Grammy award nominee starred on the long-running soap opera as Beth Brennan from 1992 to 1994, later citing her departure over a lack of creative control and disappointment with the scripts.

Natalie Imbruglia now and when she was on Neighbours.
Natalie Imbruglia says it’s a ‘travesty’ that Neighbours faces cancellation. Photos: Getty / FremantleMedia Ltd

While Natalie’s role was short-lived, her presence remains on Neighbours as her on-screen son Ned Willis is currently a main character.

The Sydney-born star has now shared her thoughts on the show potentially being axed and admitted that the news is “really sad”.

“Who wants life without Neighbours, let’s face it,” she said during an interview on Heart Breakfast with JK and Kelly Brook in the UK.

“I think at this point we just thought it was going to go on forever. People are petitioning, here’s hoping they pull it off.”

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Natalie went on to say that she was concerned for the future of her on-screen child Ned, who is currently played by Ben Hall.

“There’s a character on the show who’s my son. I mean, I think it would be devastating. What’s going to happen to my son?” she added, before clarifying, “Not Natalie’s son, Beth Brennan’s son. My son’s too young to be on Neighbours”.

Chatting with Mirror, the Torn hitmaker also labelled the situation a “travesty” and revealed that she “would consider going back” to the series in the near future.

“I think it would be lovely to walk through those doors. I mean, I probably won't recognise anyone - not even my [on-screen] son,” she said.

‘We recognise that there will be disappointment about this decision’

Channel 5 in the UK announced earlier this month that they had axed Neighbours from their TV schedule and were therefore withdrawing funding for the show.

In an official statement, a spokesperson from the network 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.

“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.”

Filming on the Aussie soap is said to come to an end in June unless Channel 10 and Fremantle Media can work out how to move forward.

A Network 10 spokesperson said: “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. 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.”

Several former stars of the long-running series have since spoken out following the news, including Rob Mills who called on the Australian government to save the soap.

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