Neighbours Is Ending, and it’s the UK That Killed It Off

A television institution is coming to an end after nearly 37 years - and it's down to a Channel Five contract.

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan in Neighbours

A television institution is coming to an end after nearly 37 years – and it’s down to a Channel Five contract.

A show that’s been a part of the television landscape for the best part of four decades is coming to an end, it’s been confirmed. And in this case, it’s UK television that’s had the key part to play in its demise.

The show in question is the Australian soap opera Neighbours, the programme that gave us the likes of Margot Robbie, Holly Valance, Natalie Imbruglia, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe. At one time, the programme was one of the most watched in the UK, attracted over 10 million viewers a day. In more recent times, since it switched from the BBC to Five, the viewing figures have been far more tepid, but there’s still been a core audience for the programme.


The 2018 cast of the series

A month or two back came the rumour that Five was not seeking to renew its contract for the show, that expires later this year. That, in turn, would have dealt a fatal blow to Neighbours, that was dependent on the money from its UK deal to keep going.

Now comes the expected confirmation that all of this isn’t a rumour. As per the official Neighbours Twitter account, Five has indeed ended its deal for the show, and that in turn has led to its cancellation.

The programme will cease production this summer, with the explanation that “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”. That language doesn’t rule out a revival or a last minute swoop to save it, but the odds of both seem on the long side.

It’s an era ending here. Don’t rule out the whole show going out with some kind of bang when the final episode is broadcast presumably towards the back end of autumn…

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