End of the road for Neighbours: Australian soap axed after 37 years

After 37 years on our TV screens, Neighbours is being axed. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The adventures of Ramsay Street residents are coming to end this summer after nearly 37 years, Neighbours has confirmed.

Producers Fremantle have been unable to find a new broadcaster after Channel 5 confirmed last month that it was dropping the long-running Australian soap to focus on original UK dramas.

"We are so sorry to say that after nearly 37 years and almost 9,000 episodes broadcast we have to confirm that Neighbours will cease production in June," the show announced in a statement on Twitter.

"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.

"To our amazing, loyal fans, we know this is a huge disappointment, as it is to all of us on the team.

"We thank you for all your messages and support and promise to end the show on an incredible high. From here on, we are celebrating Neighbours."

The cast in 1988 Credit: PA

Set in the fictional suburb of Erinsborough, the show has launched the careers of stars including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce and Margot Robbie.

Ms Minogue reacted to the news on Twitter, writing that she will be "forever grateful" for her time on Neighbours

Last month, Donovan credited the show for launching his own career and said he hoped it would find a new broadcaster in the UK.

Margot Robbie had a role on the soap before her Hollywood career Credit: PA

"It launched many careers over decades including mine. Engaged and entertained audiences for generations."

Neighbours first aired in the UK on BBC One in 1986 and reached audiences of more than 21 million at the height of its popularity.

  • One of the most memorable episodes was the wedding of Scott and Charlene

It moved to Channel 5 in 2008 and has been reliant on the UK broadcaster for funding.

Despite being the longest running drama series on Australian television, Neighbours has long been more popular in the UK than in its home country, but ratings have dropped in the UK.

  • What did she say? Fans struggled to hear Daphne's last words to husband Des

A number of British guest stars have appeared in recent years, including Amanda Holden, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ryan Thomas and Janet Street-Porter.

Speculation is already mounting over which iconic stars may return for the soap's final episode.

Veteran star Ian Smith, who played Harold Bishop, is set to make a comeback, fellow cast member Alan Fletcher, aka Dr Karl Kennedy, told ITV's This Morning on Monday.

Meanwhile, a Change.org petition to save the soap was gathering more signatures following news that it was ceasing production.

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