'Neighbours' fans heartbroken as soap is axed after nearly FOUR decades on UK screens

Neighbours spoilers, Paul Robinson, Terese Willis
'Neighbours' will stop airing on Channel 5 this summer. (Image credit: Fremantle)

Neighbours fans have been left devastated by the announcement that the much-loved Australian soap has been axed by Channel 5. 

The soap has been at the center of the channel's daytime schedule since taking over from the BBC in 2008. 

Neighbours has been on air for more than 36 years, originally starting on BBC1 in the UK in 1986, and has launched some of the most famous names in TV, film, and music, including Kylie Minogue, Liam Hemsworth, Russell Crowe, Jason Donovan, Margot Robbie, and Guy Pearce.

Neighbours spoilers, Chloe Brennan, Harlow Robinson

'Neighbours' has been a fan favourite since it launched in 1986. (Image credit: Fremantle)

Channel 5 has told What To Watch: "Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 beyond this summer. It’s been a much-loved part of our schedule for more than a decade, and we’d like to thank the cast, Fremantle, and all of the production team for their fantastic work on this iconic series. 

"We’d also of course like to thank the fans for their loyal support of Neighbours across the years. We recognise that there will be disappointment about this decision, however, our current focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama, which has strong appeal for our viewers."

In recent years Channel 5 has enjoyed huge success with stand-out dramas such as Lie with Me, The Teacher, and a remake of All Creatures Great and Small.

Fans have taken to Twitter to share their upset at the news, with #saveneighbours now trending on the social media site and even Jason Donovan has commented on the news... 

See more
See more
See more
See more

It has been reported in The Sydney Morning Herald that the soap will now stop filming after the British production company behind the show failed to reach a financial agreement with Channel 5, which has been largely funding the soap since 2008. 

Until Neighbours finds a new company to financially back it, production will have to be put on pause for an indefinite period. 

According to the Australian website, Fremantle Media executive producer Jason Herbison reportedly emailed the cast and crew earlier today saying: "Our audience remains steady and Australian partner Channel Ten would love the show to continue if we could find another broadcast partner to replace Channel 5.

“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.”

Staff have allegedly been asked to attend a meeting on Monday and filming will reportedly continue until Jun. 10.

Neighbours spoilers, Karl Kennedy, Susan Kennedy

Soap legends like Karl and Susan have been a staple of our daytime viewing for decades.  (Image credit: Fremantle)

The show's Australian broadcaster Channel 10 has also released a statement about the news... "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. 

"Channel 10 has an ongoing commitment to the show, the cast, and crew and is hopeful that Fremantle will find a new production partner. We will provide further updates as they become available."

Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

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.