The Australian soap Neighbours, which launched the worldwide careers of a slew of local celebrities like Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Margot Robbie, and Guy Pearce, has been canceled in the UK, putting the show’s future in jeopardy.
Channel 5 in the United Kingdom has declared that it will no longer carry the program, which will conclude its record-breaking 36-year run in August unless it is taken up by another broadcaster.
Network Ten, an Australian broadcaster, says it is committed to saving the show, but it needs a new sponsor.
The sun-drenched drama about the residents of the fictional cul-de-sac of Ramsay Street has been mostly funded by the UK broadcaster since 2008 when Ten could no longer afford to sustain the Fremantle production on its own.
“Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 beyond this summer,” Channel 5 confirmed after a speculative tale appeared in the UK newspaper The Sun over the weekend.
“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,” a spokesperson said.
“We’d also of course like to thank the fans for their loyal support of Neighbours across the years.
“We recognize that there will be disappointed about this decision, however, our current focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama, which has strong appeal for our viewers.”
On Sunday, Network Ten informed the cast and crew that filming would be delayed on Monday for a meeting and that they were seeking for a new broadcast partner.
“It is our aim to maintain our affiliation with Neighbours if another broadcast partner comes forward,” a Ten spokeswoman stated in an email to Neighbours cast and crew.
“Network 10 remains committed to the show, its cast, and crew, and hopes Fremantle will find a new production partner.” We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.”
The decision was unexpected, given that the lives of the Ramsay Street inhabitants continue to draw 1.5 million UK viewers each day.
On March 18, 1985, Neighbours premiered on the Seven Network, but the network famously canceled it before it became a worldwide smash for Ten, which picked it up the next year.
It is Australia’s longest-running drama series, and it was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame in 2005.
Production company Fremantle has been approached for comment.
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