Neighbours fans have rallied together to try and save the long-running Australian soap opera from cancellation after UK’s Channel 5 announced that it has been dropped from their TV schedule after 37 years.
Not only has Channel 5 provided a steady audience for Neighbours abroad, with one million viewers reportedly tuning in across two daily showings in the UK, but it has also helped fund the show in recent years.
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.
The petition has gained over 15,000 signatures at the time of writing, with the description referring to the soap as “a staple on UK screens” that has been “watched by generations”.
“Neighbours is more than just a TV show - it is a source of comfort and entertainment for generations of fans who have watched it for decades,” the statement reads.
“It is one of the most loved TV shows in the UK and brings lots of viewers from all backgrounds to Channel 5's catalogue of channels. Even Adele is a fan. Channel 5 - we plead with you - please find a way to keep Neighbours on air.”
A number of social media users have also taken to Twitter to share their disappointment, including former cast member Jason Donovan.
“Neighbours changed the Australian television landscape,” Jason, who starred as Scott Robinson, wrote.
“It launched many careers over decades including mine. 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.”
Viewers have also expressed their hopes that the show’s biggest stars, including Kylie Minogue, Margot Robbie and Liam Hemsworth, will return to Ramsay Street to help save the series.
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