Last weekend, Neighbours viewers were stunned to learn that UK broadcaster Channel 5 would be removing its financing from the famous Australian drama, putting the show in peril of cancellation if it does not find a new broadcaster to help with production.
A fan petition was established in response to the news, requesting that the show be rescued after 36 years on the air, noting it as a “source of comfort and enjoyment for generations of fans.” The petition has already surpassed 50,000 signatures in less than a week, with numbers continuing to rise.
This week, the show’s iconic theme song reached number one on iTunes, marking yet another milestone for the show.
Fremantle Media, which produced the show in collaboration with Channel 10 in Australia and Channel 5 in the United Kingdom, expressed their wishes for the show to continue, while they admitted that there will have to be a hiatus for the time being.
“Our audience remains steady and Channel 10 would love the show to continue if we could find another broadcast partner to replace [Channel 5],” executive producer Jason Herbison said (via The Sunday Morning Herald). “These discussions are ongoing, however, there is no new broadcaster at the moment and production must end, effectively resting the show.
“We are so proud of the show, you all, and everything that you’ve achieved. But for now, this chapter is closing and we want to work together to give Neighbours the amazing send-off it deserves.”
Current and former cast members have expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation and their desire for various parties to intervene and help the show stay on the air.
Former star Rob Mills, who portrayed Finn Kelly on the serial until last year, has even requested further money from the Australian government, emphasizing the importance of Neighbours in providing thousands of jobs throughout the television industry.
“I pray the show will be saved in some way,” Annie Jones, who has played Jane Harris since 1986, echoed these thoughts, saying, “I pray the program will be saved in some way.” For the benefit of our next film and television producers, we need Neighbours to continue.”