Neighbours' Jackie Woodburne details impact of show's cancellation: 'End of an era'

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Neighbours actress Jackie Woodburne has spoken out about the show’s impending cancellation after UK’s Channel 5 announced plans to axe the show from their lineup and remove funding.

The Northern Irish-born star, who has played Susan Kennedy on the long-running soap opera for over 27 years, told Studio 10 that she has been “overwhelmed” by the support from viewers who are trying to save the series.

Neighbours star Jackie Woodburne.
Neighbours star Jackie Woodburne has opened up about the impact of the show’s cancellation. Photo: Channel Ten

“It doesn't matter how aware you are of the fans that watch the show and how much they enjoy it; but this week, it's like a floodgate has opened and I've received the most beautiful messages from people,” she detailed.

“People are really going to miss the show and it's going to leave a massive gap in the landscape of not just Australian television but internationally and specifically in the UK as well.

“It's the end of an era, it's the loss of an icon and we will never ever see a show like Neighbours again.”

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Jackie’s comments come shortly after she appeared on The Project and fought back tears discussing the impact of the situation on the show’s cast.

“Everybody is sad, we’re all crying, we’re all very emotional about it all, but we're all so determined to bring this show home as best we can,” she told host Carrie Bickmore, adding that they are “more than a family”.

“These are people that all choose to be there and we work so fast and we care so passionately about the show and we respect the show and we respect the fans, but we have so much fun."

Neighbours' Jackie Woodburne on The Project.
Jackie fought back tears discussing the future of Neighbours on The Project. Photo: Channel Ten

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

Channel 5 in the UK announced last month that they had dropped 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 Natalie Imbruglia and Rob Mills, who called on the Australian government to save the soap.

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