TV, Venue

No New Neighbours

Strewth! After 37 years and nearly 9,000 episodes, the popular Australian soap Neighbours has been axed. While many old ladies have gone into mourning over the death of their favourite soap, what does this mean for the future of soap operas?  

When you enter a supermarket, you are bombarded by a row of faces on the magazines with the words “CORRIE CRASH HORROR!!!” or “HANDS OFF MY MICK!”. What would replace them if all soap operas came to a crashing end? Some of the major soap storylines defined my childhood, the ‘who killed Archie Michell’ conspiracy from EastEnders occupied my every thought back in 2009. My mum would say the same about the notorious Neighbours wedding between Charlene and Scott back in 1987. These storylines bring people together, they are a daily 30-minute distraction from the misery of the real world. Even at the beginning of the pandemic, when the future was bleak and scary, Neighbours was the first mainstream scripted show to resume filming under the newly implemented Covid-19 safety procedures. This temporary escape offered millions an outlet into the sunny suburbs of Erinsborough. So, with all this positivity and popularity, why is Neighbours coming to an end? 

After Channel 5 announced they would no longer be airing the show, they had no choice but to bring the show to an end. Channel 5 plan to invest in new television shows, but there is uncertainty as to whether this will be a successful strategy. Neighbours is one of the more popular shows to air on Channel 5 with viewership ratings sitting comfortably around the 1.4 million mark each week. Even the lunchtime airing of the show rakes in an audience of 13% which is the highest audience share of the entire day. On top of this, the streaming platform My5 has Neighbours in the ‘popular’ section meaning after a long day at work, many UK viewers are settling down with a cuppa to watch the new episode in the evening. It seems a shame to cancel such a beloved show and send the routine of the elderly spiralling without their daily dose of Neighbours.  

The death of Neighbours does raise questions about the future of its allied shows but like a bar of soap, all good things must come to an end eventually. Neighbours will always be our ‘good friends’.

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Chloe Thompson

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June 2022
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