Neighbours star Alan Fletcher addresses show's uncertain future: 'We need a hero'

Alan Fletcher plays Dr Karl Kennedy on Neighbours (Gina Milicia/Fremantle)
Alan Fletcher plays Dr Karl Kennedy on Neighbours (Gina Milicia/Fremantle)

Neighbours star Alan Fletcher has said the show needs "a hero" after being axed by Channel 5.

Fletcher, who has played Dr Karl Kennedy in the Australian soap since 1994, sent a newsletter to fans on his mailing list, addressing the news.

The actor wrote that the news "came as a shock to a lot of people" as production company Fremantle Media said a new UK broadcaster must be found or "production must end".

Read more: Jason Donovan appeals to save Neighbours after axe announcement

Fletcher cited the show's viewing figures for why Neighbours should remain on air: "The show still has upwards of 1.5 million viewers in the UK on any given day and it seemed to be going strong."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Paula Abdul (C) poses with actors Jackie Woodburne and Alan Fletcher on the set of Australian television soap opera 'Neighbours', where she will appear in a cameo role, on March 17, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kylie Else/Newspix/Getty Images)
Paula Abdul poses with actors Jackie Woodburne and Alan Fletcher on the set of Australian television soap opera Neighbours. (Photo by Kylie Else/Newspix/Getty Images)

He also said that the cancelling of the show was a "financial decision".

Fletcher continued by stating his hope that a resolution could be found and Neighbours would stay on the air: "We need a hero and, maybe, one will come along."

Channel 5 said the show would no longer be broadcast from August 2022 and Fletcher stated there were positives to be had: "In the meantime we have at least 7 months of fantastic Neighbours episodes to look forward to."

Fletcher, who is the third longest serving actor in an Australian soap, concluded by thanking his fans: "Can I say at this point how incredibly grateful I am for the support of all my subscribers. You have made my Neighbours journey fun and engaging through your incredible support. Sincerely, thank you for being such a huge part of making Neighbours the legendary programme that it has become."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04:  (L-R) Actors Tippa Black, Sam Clarke, Adelaide Kane, Alan Fletcher, Casting Director Jan Russ, Dolly Editor Bronwyn McCahon and actor Ryan Maloney pose together after Clarke and Kane were announced as the winners of Dolly Magazine?s national search to find two new Neighbours cast members, at Global Studios on August 4, 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. Dolly launched their competition for a girl (aged 12 to 16) and a boy (aged 15 to 18) to become new Neighbours cast members, and out of the 7000 entries, Clarke and Kane were picked and each win a minimum 3 month contract with the popular Australian soap.  (Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)
Neighbours cast. (Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

Since Channel 5 announced that they would cease broadcasting the long-running show, fans of Neighbours have set up a petition to save the series.

The petition, which has over 20,000 signatures, states: "Neighbours is more than just a TV show - it is a source of comfort and entertainment for generations of fans who have watched it for decades - it is one of the most loved TV shows in the UK and brings lots of viewers from all backgrounds to Channel 5's catalogue of channels. Even Adele is a fan."

Watch: Neighbours stars then and now