In light of the announcement that the programme may terminate production later this year, Neighbours executives have begun preparing the show’s final storylines, according to reports.
The news that Channel 5 would quit airing Neighbours in the UK this summer shook the soap industry last Saturday.
The decision indicates that Neighbours will be cancelled unless a new broadcaster can be found, as the UK broadcaster supports much of the show’s production costs.
Unfortunately, despite a 50,000-strong petition and a campaign that saw the Neighbours theme song hit #1 on the iTunes list, no other broadcaster has been able to secure the UK rights to the show.
Neighbours is currently scheduled to conclude production on June 10, 2022, with the final episode airing in the United Kingdom in August and Australia in October.
The show’s executives are reportedly stepping up plans for the final episodes, with a number of known figures perhaps returning in the months to come.
It’s also been stated that the door will be left open for a future return, implying that the residents of Erinsborough will likely be alive and well long after the cameras have stopped rolling.
“We envision the next few months as being a great celebration for the programme with a little bit of everything for viewers,” Executive Producer Jason Herbinson told industry journal Media Week.
“Any conclusion will be respectful of the past, present, and constantly looking forward.”
Harold is returning to Ramsay Street?
The Sun reports that bosses have already secured Ian Smith’s comeback as Harold ‘Jelly Belly’ Bishop. The Sun was the first to disclose that Channel 5 has cancelled Neighbours.
Harold moved away from Erinsborough in 2009, but has returned twice since then, the first in 2011 and the second in 2015.
His most recent appearance occurred in 2015, as part of the show’s 30th anniversary celebrations, which included a number of classic characters reappearing. He returned for the wedding of Daniel (Tim Phillipps) and Amber (Jenna Rosenow), where it was revealed that he and Carolyn Johnstone, whom he married in 2011, had recently separated.
Despite finding love again, he was still grieving the loss of his beloved Madge (Anne Charleston), who died in heartbreaking circumstances in 2001.
Harold began to hear Madge’s voice on this final visit, and after smashing his car, he saw her spirit. This allowed the two to reminisce and talk about the things Madge had missed in the years since her death, and it provided Harold some closure as he walked down the street for the last time.
According to Susan Hill of The Sun, Ian Smith has agreed to make a comeback and will begin filming next month.
Harold’s many years on Ramsay Street made an indelible mark, and the ‘General Store’ where he used to work was renamed ‘Harold’s Store,’ afterwards ‘Harold’s Cafe,’ in his honour.
Many of Harold’s closest friends, including Karl (Alan Fletcher), Susan (Jackie Woodburne), and Toadie (Ryan Moloney), as well as his rival Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis), whom he famously tried to strangle back in 2005, still live on Ramsay Street, so if he does return later this year, he should fit right in.
Is it just for us?
Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell were formerly known as Neighbours’ golden couple, with Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan starring in the role of the in love couple in the late 1980s.
When it aired in the UK in November 1988, approximately 20 million Brits watched their wedding, which was one of the show’s most popular moments.
After being awarded a mechanic apprenticeship, Charlene moved to Brisbane in 1988, and Scott followed a year later. They created a lasting legacy, and their offspring — first son Daniel in 2014, then daughter Madison (Sarah Ellen) in 2016 – eventually moved to Ramsay Street decades later.
Despite departing the programme over 30 years ago, Charlene was named #10 in a fan survey of Neighbours’ Most Popular Character of All Time. Scott was ranked #17.
When the news of Neighbours’ possible demise initially surfaced, it was rumoured that the show’s producers wanted Kylie Minogue to return for the final episodes.
According to The Sun, Jason Donovan has informed producers that he will be flying to Australia in April and that he may film a comeback.
According to the tabloid, he wants Kylie to join him, and his superiors “are doing everything they can to make it happen,” according to a source.
When asked if Scott and Charlene would return for the show’s finale, Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy) said it would be “wonderful,” but also backed the show’s existing ensemble, saying, “The present cast that we have, we will do it proud.” I’m confident we will.”
The Sun also claims that Neighbours executives are in communication with Guy Pierce, who last appeared on TV in December 1989 as Mike Young.
Neighbours is no stranger to bringing back old characters for special episodes, so it’s no surprise that a number of legendary characters may make a farewell appearance in the show’s final season.
Sky Mangel, Mark Gottlieb, Des Clarke, and Dylan Timmins, among others, returned for the 35th anniversary in 2020, while Lucas Fitzgerald and Vanessa Villante, as well as Janelle Timmins, Nina Tucker, Guy Carpenter, and Tom Ramsay, returned for the 30th anniversary in 2015.
There are still 6 months of episodes remaining to see (8 if you’re in Australia! ), so there’s much more to come before Neighbours’ possible final episode.
Kira, a new character performed by Gemma Bird Matheson, has just been unveiled. She will make her UK television debut on Wednesday, March 9th, with Australian audiences seeing her for the first time on Friday, March 24th.
“Mysterious and flirtatious,” she’s been called, but she’s also “morally driven and a nice girl at heart.”
Kiri will be thrown into the deep end, with Gemma suggesting that she will “certainly find herself in the heart of a lot of turmoil.”
In addition, the show is ready to launch a huge new storyline in which Harlow (Jemma Donovan) travels to London in search of information concerning her mother, who perished at the hands of Finn Kelly in the year 2020.
Amanda Holden will play Harriet, Harlow’s aunt and Prue Wallace’s sister, in the episodes (Denise van Outen).
In the London episodes, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor will make a guest appearance, and her words of wisdom will be useful to Harlow’s search.