Thousands sign petition to keep Neighbours on British TV after fears it could be axed

Patrick Grafton-Green
Neighbours actors Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne, who played Karl and Susan Kennedy: PA

Thousands of Neighbours fans have signed a petition to keep the soap on British television over fears its future could be in jeopardy.

The Australian soap, which first aired in the UK 31 years ago, has been shown on Channel 5 since 2008.

But The Sunday People has reported that talks between the channel and makers Fremantle Media have stalled, leading to fears the programme could switch to another channel or even be axed.

A source said: "The renegotiation of the Neighbours Channel 5 deal has become very fraught and is in jeopardy.

"Channel 5 really want to keep the show.

"But the failure to reach a deal is being blamed on Channel 5's new American owners Viacom refusing to sign off on the figures and not understanding the cultural importance of the show in the UK."

Ryan Moloney, who plays Toadfish (PA)

Fans have launched a petition on the website to save the soap, which launched the careers of stars including Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.

At the time of writing, the petition has had over 3,000 signatures within its first day.

It says: "Due to issues between production companies, there is a real possibility that, unless an agreement is reached, Neighbours could be axed from UK TV.

"It is a huge part of British culture and has a massive UK following!

Neighbours actor Stefan Dennis, known for the role of Paul Robinson (PA)

"We, the fans, are petitioning to Channel 5 and Fremantle Group to keep Neighbours on our screens!!"

A spokesman for Channel 5 said: "We don't comment on commercial contracts."

Fremantle has also been approached for comment.

The soap following the lives of the residents of Ramsay Street first aired in the UK in 1986. It was shown on BBC1 until 2008, when it moved to Channel 5.