Axing Neighbours was a business decision, says Channel 5 boss

·2-min read

Channel 5’s head of programming has said ending Neighbours was a “business decision” and he had decided to spend the money on UK shows.

Ben Frow suggested the money the broadcaster spent on the Australian soap could be spent better elsewhere.

Neighbours, which first aired in 1985 and follows the lives of those living and working in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough, shot its final scenes in early June.

It is ceasing production after failing to secure new funding since being dropped by Channel 5 earlier this year.

Frow told Radio Times that axing Neighbours was “a business decision”.

To the suggestion that he could have spent large sums of money on keeping the show going, he replied: “Yes. Or I could spend the money on other things, which is what I decided to do. I can better spend the Neighbours money on UK shows.”

Frow denied that Home And Away, another Australian soap, is now under threat of being cancelled.

He said: “No. But I think it will be interesting to see what we do with it as we evolve. There might be somewhere else to put it in the 5 spectrum.

“But it’s a life-of-series deal, so it’s not going anywhere until the makers decide to cancel it.”

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Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries described Channel 5 as the ‘levelling-up channel’ (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Frow said he likes Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who has previously described Channel 5 as the “levelling-up channel”, and that he has read one of her novels.

“I read The Four Streets and it starts in the Blitz in Liverpool,” he said.

“So I was able to say to her that, when we did the Blitz over three nights, we did it through the prism of Liverpool, not London.

“That’s an example of our regionality. You know, I really liked her.”

Asked whether Channel 5 plans to adapt any of her novels for the small screen, Frow replied: “Not imminently. I’ve learnt never to say never.

“But I did like her. And I see Channel 4 has tried to claim it’s the levelling-up channel, but actually we are.”

– Read the full interview in Radio Times, out now.

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