Just a few days after it was announced that Neighbours could be cancelled following the decision by UK’s Channel 5 to axe the show from their lineup and remove funding, actress Jackie Woodburne has broken her silence on the situation.
The Northern Irish-born star, who has portrayed Susan Kennedy on the long-running soap opera for over 27 years, joined The Project on Monday night and fought back tears when revealing that it’s been a “rollercoaster” of emotions.
“[It's] kind of a lot of information to try and process but I still feel a bit in shock, a bit overwhelmed,” she told host Carrie Bickmore.
Jackie went on to say that the show’s cast had a meeting with producers on Monday to receive more information about the future of Neighbours.
“It was quite lovely,” she added. “You know, 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.
“I just want everyone to keep their fingers crossed and not give up hope, anything's possible.”
When asked about how much the Channel 10 series means to her, Jackie described it as “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,” she described.
“I mean, I've laughed more in the 27 years than I probably should have, and being paid at the same time.”
Channel 5 in the UK announced earlier this week 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.”
Following the news, fans of the series have launched an online petition to try and save the show from being axed.
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