Fears Neighbours will be axed after 36 years as episodes are slashed

A major schedule change in Australia means that, for the first time in its 36-year run, Neighbours will now air four nights a week instead of five.

Broadcaster 10 Peach, which airs the long-running serial drama in its home country, will cut the weekly number of episodes, replacing the Friday outing with a re-run of popular sitcom Friends.

‘From July 26, Neighbours will air four nights a week,’ the network said in a statement.

‘On Fridays, viewers can laugh along with their favourite Friends.’

In the UK, however, Neighbours will continue to air five episodes a week, with Channel 5’s schedules confirming this.

But Channel 5 are reportedly unhappy with the current state of the show, with a source telling Woman’s Day that it’s ‘stale’. 

‘Channel 5 aren’t happy,’ said the source. ‘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.

‘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.’

‘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.’

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Neighbours and is awaiting comment.

While some fear that the beloved serial drama is in danger of cancellation, others believed that 10 Peach actually made the decision to trim its weekly episode count in order to help the UK catch up.

After 30 years of being behind, Channel 5 caught up with 10 Peach in 2015, airing episodes the very same day as their Australian broadcast.

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However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the station made the decision to cut weekly broadcasts of Neighbours down to two a week, in spite of production on the soap continuing down under.

As a result, the UK very quickly fell behind Australia. The network inevitably increased their weekly output to three episodes a week, before restoring all five outings of the popular serial.

Nonetheless, Channel 5 was significantly behind Australia once more, and their decision to take an extra week-long break during Christmas 2020 resulting in broadcasts falling further out of sync.

As it stands, the UK is approximately four weeks behind Australia.

Neighbours fans, meanwhile, would likely disagree about the show being ‘stale’, after a brand new trailer revealed shocking twists to come, as Nicolette Stone (Charlotte Chimes) vanishes with David Tanaka (Takaya Honda) and Aaron Brennan’s (Matt Wilson) baby.

Neighbours airs Mondays – Fridays 1:45pm and 5:30pm on Channel 5.

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