Alan Fletcher, who plays Neighbours on Channel 5, has reacted to the news that the show would be axed from the schedule this summer, claiming that the show needs a “hero” to save it.
Neighbours will be paused in production later this year until a new UK broadcaster is found, according to Fremantle Media executive producer Jason Herbison, who said that “discussions are underway” but that “production must cease, effectively resting the program” until a new UK broadcaster is found.
Alan, who has played Dr. Karl Kennedy on the show since 1994, responded to the news in an email to fans on his mailing list today (February 7) that was published on Twitter, saying that he understands that the news “has come as a tremendous shock to a lot of people.”
“The show still has upwards of 1.5 million viewers in the UK on any given day and it seemed to be going strong,” he wrote, adding that “it seems that the axing of Neighbours is a financial decision”.
He went on to express his optimism for Neighbours‘ future and to thank his supporters for their continued support in a touching letter.
“We need a hero, and maybe one will emerge,” he wrote. “We have at least 7 months of wonderful Neighbours episodes to look forward to in the meanwhile.”
“Can I say at this point how incredibly grateful I am for the support of all my subscribers? You have made my Neighbours journey fun and engaging through your incredible support. Sincerely, thank you for being such a huge part of making Neighbours the legendary program that it has become.”
Neighbours fans have begun a petition to rescue the show after learning of Channel 5’s decision to cancel it, which has gathered over 20,000 signatures as of this writing.
“Neighbours has been a staple on UK screens for over 35 years – and has been watched by generations,” the petition states.
“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 – 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.”