Neighbours: Pierce and Dipi are confronted over their affair
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Neighbours has gained a legion of fans since it was first broadcast in March 1985, both here in the UK and over on home turf in Australia. It is one of two soaps from Down Under which airs on Channel 5 and the popular weekday serial drama currently broadcasts five episodes a week on the network. However, with schedule changes overseas seeing the number of episodes airing diminish, there has been worry about the soap’s future. With one of the show’s biggest stars speaking out on the matter, will the programme really be cancelled?
Is Neighbours being cancelled?
For several years, it has been reported both Neighbours and Home and Away could be cancelled due to viewer figures falling.
Despite these rumours, the show’s have battled on and provided fans with some of the most invested storylines the shows have ever seen.
Back in July, the Australian 10 Network revealed they would be cutting the number of Neighbours episodes from five a week to just four.
This was to make way for other programmes to be introduced into their Friday night schedule, like American sitcom Friends.
According to an unnamed source, there were concerns the programme would be pulled from air because bosses thought the show was “stale”.
The unnamed source said: “Channel 5 aren’t happy. They think the show is stale. They’re deciding whether to continue the show or not.
“I can’t stress how much this move shows Neighbours is no longer the powerhouse in the UK that it once was.
“Many believe this is the beginning of the end.
“It doesn’t help that the cast’s contracts are also said to be stripped back too – with many of them only being renewed for a few months at a time,” the insider told Woman’s Day.
Despite these claims, it has been confirmed to Express.co.uk the decisions made Down Under will no have an impact on UK screens for the foreseeable future.
As safe as we’re ever going to be
Do the stars of Neighbours think it will be cancelled?
As one of the longest-serving actors to ever grace Ramsay Street, the actor who plays Paul, Stefan, spoke in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk and voiced his views on the matter.
The soap star said: “I don’t know what that’s all about, to be honest, I only found out about it the other day.
“To my knowledge, it’s got something to do with catch-up. I don’t know the full thing because I haven’t actually gone and asked about it.
“It hasn’t bothered me that much, to be honest with you, but there’s obviously some sort of politics as to why they’ve done it [cut the episodes from five to four].
“We’re probably as safe as we’re ever going to be at the moment and there’s no reason to worry [about the show being cancelled].”
“Not when we’re churning out storylines [like we are]. Channel 5, they like it,” the soap actor continued to explain.
“Channel 10 here likes it. I don’t know about all the other networks around the world but I’m sure they do well, too, Stefan said.
“I don’t know what the future is going to hold for Neighbours, how it will go or how it’s presented or whatever.
“The beauty about a show like Neighbours, the reason they survive through the decades is because they evolve.
“I’m sure Neighbours will do exactly the same thing. It will keep evolving because it’s a story about people.”
Stefan explained: “It’s a story about people who live in a community so I don’t see why it would ever stop.
“Life would have to stop for a show like Neighbours to stop or the world goes broke and doesn’t want to watch television anymore,” he concluded.
Will British Neighbours fans catch up with Australian episodes?
The decreased number of episodes airing in Australia means there is a slight possibility the gap between scenes airing Down Under and in the UK could get smaller.
Due to Channel 5 restricting the number of episodes airing at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Britain has fallen behind with the storylines airing in Australia.
This means UK fans first get to see the scenes airing Down Under a month after they’ve made their debut.
It is unlikely the change to the schedule on the 10 Network will be enough to bring the two countries back in sync with one another.
Neighbours airs weekdays at 1:45pm and 5:30pm on Channel 5.
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