The fan who organised a petition to save Neighbours has received a discreet thank-you from the show.
“Edward Skylover,” a Neighbours fan, started a Change.org petition in February, urging Channel 5 to reconsider its decision to cancel the renowned Australian serial.
Despite the fact that Neighbours is one of Channel 5’s most-watched series, the petition garnered 67,000 signatures and made headlines on both sides of the globe, Channel 5 refused to budge.
In a sequence starring Terese Willis and Chloe Brennan on Channel 5’s Neighbours on Friday (April 29), a veiled allusion to the petition was made.
Terese and Chloe were discussing their favourite topic – Fashion Week at Lassiters – when the unexpected happened.
“The livestream tickets to the show are selling like crazy,” Chloe said Terese.
“OK, who’s in charge of them?” Terese inquired.
Chloe responded, “Edward Skylover is a fictional character. He’s created a tremendous amount of buzz.”
The Neighbours staff appears to be quite appreciative of the help.
Another superfan, Alan – who maintains the Neighbours HQ page on Twitter – had a subtle allusion on screen earlier this month, so it’s not the first time the programme has given a stealth shout-out recently.
Shane Isheev, the writing producer for Neighbours, who came up with the concept, subsequently tweeted: “Just a little thank you for being such a fantastic and devoted fan of the programme. Who knows what other superfan identities will surface in the months ahead?”
In early February, Channel 5 announced its intention to cancel Neighbours, claiming to instead focus on “raising our commitment in original UK drama.”
Negotiations with Neighbours’ production firm, Fremantle, are reported to have broken down over expenses, with Channel 5 calling the Australian soap’s price tag “extremely pricey.”
Despite Fremantle’s efforts to find a new UK broadcasting partner, the search was fruitless, and production on Neighbours will now finish in June. On August 1, the final episode will air.
Fremantle’s spokeswoman said: “We regret to inform you that after over 37 years and approximately 9,000 episodes, Neighbours will be cancelled in the summer.
“We have no choice but to put the show on hold as a result of the loss of a significant broadcast partner in the UK, despite our efforts to find alternative funding.
“Since the news broke, everyone at Neighbours has been touched by the outpouring of love and support from the audience.
“The show has brought a sunny piece of Australia into the homes of millions of viewers around the world, as well as launching the careers of dozens of well-known people.
“However, as this chapter of Ramsay Street draws to a conclusion, we pledge to do everything in our power to give the programme the send-off it so richly deserves.”