Neighbours: TV soap will end this summer, producers confirm

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Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The show launched the careers of pop stars Jason Donavan and Kylie Minogue

Long-running Australian TV soap opera Neighbours will come to an end this summer after 37 years.

The announcement follows the news that UK broadcaster Channel 5 was dropping the show from its schedules.

That decision left producers with a funding gap, as the British network was a key broadcast partner in the series.

Writing on the programme's official Twitter account, producers said they were "so sorry" but had "no option but to rest the show".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

"We are so sorry to say that after nearly 37 years and almost 9,000 episodes broadcast we have to confirm that Neighbours will cease production in the summer," they said.

"Following the loss of our key broadcast partner in the UK and despite an extensive search for alternative funding, we simply have no option but to rest the show.

"To our amazing, loyal fans, we know this is a huge disappointment, as it is to all of us on the team. We thank you for all your messages and support and promise to end the show on an incredible high."

Neighbours aired on Channel 5 for more than a decade, and was previously broadcast on the BBC.

When it was announced earlier this year that the show's future was under threat, singer and former Neighbours star Jason Donovan said the soap had "changed the Australian television landscape".

Media caption,
The soap aired a special scene in January 2020 about the bushfires that were devastating Australia at the time

His on-screen partner, Kylie Minogue, reminisced about her time on the programme in a tweet mourning the cancellation.

"I'll be forever grateful for the experience and the friends I made on Neighbours," she wrote.

"We had no idea how big the show would become and how passionately viewers would take it to heart. Pure love!

"I can still hear Madge calling… CHARLENE!"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Viewers were quick to voice their disappointment about the show's cancellation on Twitter.

"Noooo, Neighbours has been a constant in my life since from the beginning when I was five years old," wrote one. "Can't believe it's the end! It's an escapism from all the [bad] stuff that goes on in the world and unlike every other soap it's not all doom and gloom."

Another said the show was her "30-minute decompression at the end of the workday for over 30 years… often ridiculous but always watchable".

But one fan noted: "I don't think the recent storylines have helped. The new breed of script writer lost their way in my opinion, and forgot what the essence was that made Neighbours great."

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne as Carl and Susan Kennedy, two of the soap's longest-serving characters

Set and filmed in Melbourne, Neighbours was first broadcast in Australia in 1985 and launched on BBC One a year later.

It became a huge hit in the UK and in Australia, and helped launch the career of numerous stars, including Donovan, Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce and later Margot Robbie.

Channel 5 previously said it knew its decision to axe the show - which attracts more than one million viewers per day in the UK - would disappoint many.

But it added its "current focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama, which has strong appeal for our UK viewers".

At the time, Donovan, who played Scott Robinson from 1986 to 1989, wrote on Twitter: "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."

Neighbours stars over the years

Image caption,
Singer Kylie Minogue was one of the first stars to come out of the programme in the 1980s

The soap has featured many notable Australian actors, actresses and performers over the years, many of whom have gone on to have glittering careers.

Perhaps the most high profile of these stars to make her name on Neighbours is singer Kylie Minogue, who acted in the early years of the soap, playing Charlene between 1986 and 1988.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Russell Crowe briefly featured in the soap opera in 1987

Oscar winner and Gladiator star Russell Crowe also had a brief spell on the Ramsay Street set, while more recently the show featured Suicide Squad star Margot Robbie from 2008 to 2011 and Liam Hemsworth between 2007 and 2008.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Margot Robbie starred in the show before launching her Hollywood career

Other people to have made their names on the show over the years include the singers Natalie Imbruglia, Holly Vallance and Delta Goodrem.