How the cast of Neighbours knew the soap was doomed a YEAR ago after Britain’s Channel 5 only asked for a 12-month contract extension
Long-running Aussie soap Neighbours is facing the axe after British television network Channel 5 announced on Sunday it would no longer be funding the series.
And while fans of the series were left shocked by the news, a new report by industry website TV Tonight suggests the cast and crew knew it was coming a year ago.
Staffers suspected the end was near when Channel 5, which foots most of the show’s production bill, only asked for a one-year contract extension in 2021.
Early axing: Neighbours cast have revealed that the long-running Aussie soap was contracted by British TV network Channel 5 for another year before news of its cancellation
Meanwhile, the last year has seen some unusual scheduling decisions regarding Neighbours in both Australia and the UK.
Network 10’s Peach multichannel airs four episodes a week, while Channel 5 has continued screening five.
This has resulted in new Neighbours episodes running in the UK before Australia for the first time in the show’s 37-year history.
Reasons: The network’s decision to cease airing Neighbours on their station has been fuelled by a decline in TV ratings, a revenue drop for the network due to the Covid pandemic, and a recent cultural shift in the UK towards home grown programs
Rewriting TV history: New Neighbours episodes are now running in the UK before Australia for the first time in the show’s 37-year history
Fremantle Media, the production company behind Neighbours, will either have to make a new deal with Channel 5 that is more financially beneficial for the British network or find a new broadcaster before the soap is dropped.
Channel 10 has expressed its wish to continue running the series; however, Channel 5 has made it clear the show is no longer profitable.
The Neighbours production team is still on set and will be filming new episodes until June of this year.
Producers on Neighbours have told the cast that ‘for now, this chapter is closing and we want to work together to give Neighbours the amazing send off it deserves’.
The next step: Fremantle Media – the production company behind Neighbours – will either have to make a new deal with Channel 5 that is more beneficial for the UK network or find a new broadcaster before the soap is dropped
Not goodbye just yet: The Neighbours production team are currently on set and will be filming new episodes until June of this year
A series of petitions have been launched to stop Neighbours from being axed.
Actor Rob Mills, who played schoolteacher Finn Kelly for four years from 2017 to 2021, has even called on the Australian government to step in and save the show.
Discussing the situation on A Current Affair on Monday, Mills, 39, suggested the Aussie taxpayer could fund the series instead.
‘We’re looking at thousands of jobs in the arts that have been created through something like Neighbours. I think the government could possibly step in. Screen Victoria [a government arts funding agency] could also possibly step in,’ he said.
‘Neighbours has created thousands of jobs throughout the decades, yet it’s not really seen as important. Let’s hope when the election comes around, we get a Prime Minister who works towards funding the arts,’ he added.
‘I think the government could possibly step in’: Former Neighbours star Rob Mills (pictured) has called on the Australian government to save long-running soap opera Neighbours from the axe. Pictured on A Current Affair on Monday