Neighbours finale episode draws in audience of 2.5 million

The finale episode of Neighbours on Channel 5 attracted an average audience of 2.5 million, the broadcaster has said.

The double-episode special on Friday brought the Australian soap to an end after 37 years. It had a peak audience of 3.0 million as the show drew to a close, according to overnight figures.

Channel 5 said this was the highest outing for the popular show on the channel since it moved over in 2008.

The double-episode special on Friday which brought the Australian soap to an end after 37 years (Fremantle/Channel 5/PA)

The closing episode featured a host of favourite characters returning to the cul-de-sac community of Ramsay Street to see off the soap opera.

Singers Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, who starred as couple Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell in the 1980s, made their long-awaited return, with Minogue donning her classic denim overalls once again.

Also among the cameo appearances was Oscar-nominated Margot Robbie, who previously played Donna Freedman, who delivered a fond message describing her years living on Ramsay Street as “some of the best of my entire life”.

A trio who went on to have chart success as singers after their time in Erinsborough also featured: Delta Goodrem, who played Nina Tucker, Natalie Imbruglia, who was Beth Brennan and Holly Valance who played Felicity Scully.

Alongside the emotional reunions, the double episode also had a joyful wedding and a nostalgic tribute to past and present stars.

Another major plot point in the finale was the return of Mike Young, played by Guy Pearce, who decides to move back to Ramsay Street to give his relationship with his former love interest Jane Harris, played by Annie Jones, another chance.

Peace and Jones reflected on their reunion in a video shared after the final aired with Jones saying: “It’s kind of a bit weird, isn’t it?”

Peace agreed, saying: “It’s lovely working together again. I mean we’ve stayed friends over the years and it’s sort of surreal and also very familiar and like it was just yesterday in a way.”

He added that he thinks the fans “might be having a little quiet smile to themselves” as their characters finally get their happy ending together.

Ben Frow, chief content officer of Paramount UK, said: “I suspect there wasn’t a dry eye from the viewers as Neighbours bowed out on a high last night.

“We wanted to give it a fitting, respectful ending and I hope our night devoted to Neighbours achieved that.

“Last night truly is the end of an era. The response from viewers overnight has been very moving and, even if they were wished the ending didn’t have to come.

“I hope they enjoyed it. We celebrate the success of Neighbours 37 years at the top – I’m sure it will remain in people’s hearts and TV memories for a long time to come.”