With the iconic long-running soap’s future in jeopardy, devastated fans have taken matters into their own hands to keep it going.
Neighbours fans have launched a desperate bid to save the long-running soap following news production is likely to cease within months.
Thousands of devastated British viewers have now signed a petition begging UK network Channel 5 to “find a way to keep Neighbours on air” following news it was withdrawing its broadcast partnership with Australian production company, Fremantle Media and won’t be renewing the contract.
The cancelled deal has put the series’ future in jeopardy, as Channel 5 foots the majority of the production bill.
The change.org petition stated that Neighbours has “been a staple on UK screens for over 35 years – and has been watched by generations”.
“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.”
The creator went on to describe it as “one of the most-loved TV shows in the UK”, adding that “even Adele is a fan”.
As of Monday morning, the petition had attracted more than 12,000 signatures.
Neighbours draws around 1.5 million UK viewers daily, and up to 170,000 metro viewers in Australia.
Production on the iconic show has been paused for Monday, with TV Tonight reporting that the cast and crew will attend a meeting today to discuss the situation.
However, it’s understood the show will continue to film new episodes at its Nunawading studio in Melbourne until early June, but its future beyond that is now under a cloud unless Fremantle Media can reach a new broadcast deal.
While Network Ten says it remains “committed” to the series and is “hopeful” a deal can be reached, an email sent from Neighbours’ executive producer Jason Herbison to staff – and published by the Daily Telegraph – paints a more bleak picture.
“As you know the future of the show has been uncertain for some time. Our audience remains steady and Channel 10 would love the show to continue if we could find another broadcast partner to replace C5,” Herbison wrote.
“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.”
After weeks of negotiations with Fremantle Australia, UK network Channel 5 announced over the weekend that it was terminating the broadcast partnership, explaining that it costs too much to film compared with the advertising revenue it attracts.
Network 10 is now seeking a new broadcast partner in the hopes of saving the show from the chopping block.
“As outlined in the email to Neighbours cast and crew, it is our intention to continue our association with Neighbours if another broadcast partner comes forward. Network 10 has an ongoing commitment to the show, the cast and crew and is hopeful that Fremantle will find a new production partner,” a Network 10 spokesman said.
“We will provide further updates as they become available.”
Neighbours, which launched the careers of megastars including Margot Robbie, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Holly Valance, Alan Dale, Guy Pearce and Delta Goodrem, began airing in 1985 in Australia and 1986 in the UK.