Neighbors future in jeopardy as Channel 5 drops soap

The future of Neighbors has been thrown into question after Channel 5 confirmed it would stop airing the Australian soap later this year.

The daytime drama about the residents of Ramsay Street has been shown on British television for over 30 years and launched the careers of stars such as Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Margot Robbie.

Channel 5 said scrapping the soap would allow funds to be diverted to original British dramas.

A spokesperson for the channel said: “Neighbors will no longer be shown on Channel 5 beyond this summer.

“It’s been a much-loved part of our program for over a decade, and we want to thank the cast, Fremantle and the entire production team for their fantastic work on this iconic series.

Neighbors launched Kylie Minogue’s career (Matt Crossick/PA)

“We would also like to thank the fans for their loyal support of Neighbors over the years.

“We recognize there will be disappointment about this decision, but our current focus is to increase our investment in original British drama, which has strong appeal to our viewers.”

The soap opera, which launched in 1985, has long been more popular in the UK than in Australia, so the news cast doubt on the show’s future.

Australia’s longest-running drama series, Neighbors was first launched on Australian network Seven in 1985, but the channel axed it before Ten picked it up the following year and it became an international hit. .

In Australia, it has aired on digital channel 10 Peach since 2011 after losing its spot following the evening news on the main channel, and is dependent on the UK broadcaster for funding.

An email to staff from Fremantle Media executive producer Jason Herbison, seen by the Sydney Morning Herald, said production would halt indefinitely due to the lack of a broadcast partner to support it financially.

The soap featured British guest stars, including Amanda Holden (Channel 5/PA)

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

The email read: “Our viewership remains stable, and Channel Ten would like the show to continue if we can find another broadcast partner to replace [Channel 5].

“Those discussions are ongoing, but there is no new broadcaster at this time and production is due to wrap up, effectively ending the show.

“We are so proud of the show, of all of you and of all that you have accomplished. But for now, this chapter is coming to an end and we want to work together to give Neighbors the amazing send off they deserve.

Neighbors aired on BBC One until 2008 when it moved to Channel 5.

It has featured a number of guest stars in recent years, including Amanda Holden, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ryan Thomas and Janet Street-Porter.