The moment that Neighbours fans around the world have been dreading has finally arrived. Despite the petitions and the public outcry on social media when the news broke that Neighbours would be coming to an end, after 37 years on our screens, the final episode is here.
After almost four decades on our screens, the final Neighbours credits roll on Friday, July 29 when the very last episode of the popular soap airs at 9 pm on Channel 5.
But what is it about a TV show coming to an end that hits fans so hard? Is it the change in our everyday routine? Is it saying goodbye to characters that have become so familiar they're like family? Or is it the thought of losing that comfort blanket that we have had with us for decades? It is all of those things.
For many fans Neighbours means routine, a sunny, happy trip to Ramsay Street that allows us to escape from our every day lives and catch up with old friends. Like most fans, I know the houses on Ramsay Street and their residents better than I know some of my own neighbours — and if you catch up with someone on a daily basis you are bound to miss that when it's gone, fictional or not.
It's not just huge plot twists and major drama in Erinsborough that all Neighbours fans can recall at the drop of a hat, but these pivotal moments in time that also blur into real life as well.
For many, Neighbours was a TV show that we all watched when we came home from school, but for others it has been so much more than that. Die-hard Neighbours fans can tell you exactly where they were when Madge died in Harold's arms, who they were with when Toadie and Dee's car plunged off a cliff on their wedding day, or what they were doing when Susan discovered Karl's affair with Izzy. This mixing of fiction and reality is something that only a fan who has watched a TV show for decades really understands.
Neighbours has been a comforting constant in many people's lives, sticking with them through thick and thin, providing some familiarity when the going gets tough in our own lives, or when we are facing change.
Even in the middle of a pandemic, Neighbours was the first soap in the world to get up, brush itself off and get back to production when everything else in the entertainment industry shut down... once again doing what Neighbours does best, bringing fans the escapism they needed just when they needed it the most.
But with the soap coming to an end and the inevitable finally happening, one thing that Neighbours fans can be sure of is that they aren't alone. The public outcry when Channel 5 announced the end of the soap was so great, that it felt certain another network would pick it up.
But while we wait and see if that day will ever come, we can take confront in the fact that executive producer Jason Herbison has brought the show's storyline to a close with the prospect of it one day returning to our screens. But until then, on behalf of fans around the world, thank you for everything, Neighbours. You're the best.
Watch the final Neighbours episodes
Fans will be able to watch the penultimate Neighbours episode at the usual time of 1:45 pm and 6 pm on Friday, July 29 followed by the history-making finale which airs as a double episode special at 9 pm the same evening.
After the final episode, Channel 5 has scheduled two special Neighbours documentaries — Neighbours Made Me A Star at 10:05 pm, followed by Neighbours Greatest Hits at 11:30 pm.
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Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia.
After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off.
She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz!
As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.