Neighbours has been saved – just four months after its final episode aired, proving to be a ratings hit in both the UK and Australia.
The beloved soap came to an end in July after 37 years, with the last episode airing on Channel 5 – and in a shock announcement, Amazon Freevee and Fremantle revealed the show will be returning.
A new series will begin filming in Australia next year and will see the likes of Stefan Dennis, [Paul Robinson] Alan Fletcher, [Dr Karl Kennedy], Ryan Moloney, [Toadfish] and Jackie Woodburne, [Susan Kennedy], returning to reprise their leading roles.
However, castmembers were left bemused as only those four actors were told the news and the rest of the cast found out the news at the same time as the rest of the world.
The series will air for free on Amazon Freevee in the UK and US and will include streaming rights to thousands of episodes from previous seasons. The series will stream on Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Production is set to commence in early 2023 with a world premiere pegged for the second half of the year
Neighbours is SAVED! Iconic soap is set to return after Fremantle secures partnership with Amazon – just four months after the final episode aired (L-R) Jason Herbison with Ian Smith, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Annie Jones and Stefan Dennis
The Neighbours Twitter account announced the news on Thursday, as Dr Karl, Susan and Toadie all gathered to reveal the show was coming back in a hilarious clip.
The trio all excitedly hugged each other and called up Paul, who was sporting a beard and longer hair.
Toadie asked him: ‘Hello mate, what’s that all over your face?’
‘Oh, well it’s nice to see you too!’ Paul replied.
Telling him the show will be returning the second half of next year, Paul playfully says he will check his diary to see if he is free. ‘I will make myself available,’ he jokes.
Success: Back in July, UK fans got to see the last installment – featuring the return of Kylie Minogue Jason Donovan as beloved characters Scott and Charlene
Lauren Anderson, head of AVOD original content and programming, Amazon Studios, said: ‘Neighbours has captivated its audience for nearly 40 years, building a dedicated and loyal following for the lives and stories of the characters on Ramsay Street.
‘With the power of streaming, we’re able to offer a catalogue of thousands of Neighbours episodes for new audiences to discover this legendary series and current fans to relive their favorite moments.
‘We look forward to immersing the audience in new Ramsay Street experiences when we relaunch the show next year for Amazon Freevee and Prime Video customers.’
The Neighbours Twitter account announced the news on Thursday, as Dr Karl, Susan and Toadie all gathered to reveal the show was coming back in a hilarious clip
Some free time? Paul Robinson, played by Stefan Dennis has since grown a beard and longer hair but said he will check his diary to see if he is free for the return in the clip – and he was!
Fans went wild for the happy news, taking to Twitter to express their joy.
They wrote: ‘OMG OMG OMG everyone, this is the best thing that’s happened this year!!’
‘Crikey. Amazon has picked up Neighbours? Astonishing.’
‘Obsessed by the idea that Amazon are putting 37 years of Neighbours episodes on Prime. Some absolute legend out there will sit and binge them all.’
‘I literally can’t believe it am ecstatic so happy for the cast and crew and most of all us the fans #neighbours #neighboursforever I’ve missed it so much.’
Nice one! Guy Pearce also returned to the show for the finale in July as Mike Young
Others were not as happy and wrote: ‘Just let it die.’
‘Neighbours is starting again. oh no.’
Neighbours’ final ever episode ended on a high in July, as a peak of almost 3 million UK viewers tuned in to Channel 5.
UK fans got to see the last installment – featuring the return of Kylie Minogue Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce that month- with Australian fans tuning in the day before.
And while the extended special was a hit over here, down under it was a runaway success, with the episode winning the television ratings for the first time in more than a decade.
The last hurrah: The finale centered around Toadie’s (Ryan Moloney) wedding to Melanie (Lucinda Cowden) as many familiar faces reunited for the picturesque lakeside ceremony
Overnight UK ratings show Neighbours attracted an average of 2.6 million viewers, with the episode hitting a peak of 2.9 million.
The last hurrah garnered an audience share of 17.5% and came in fourth in the overall ratings behind BBC One’s The Commonweath Games coverage and ITV’s Emmerdale and ratings winner Coronation Street, which brought 3.5 million viewers to ITV.
Meanwhile, midweek episodes, dubbed ‘the final week’, leading up to the finale also creeped into the UK top 20 ratings, with the third till last installment getting 837,000 viewers.
While the number crept up for the penultimate episode, with 1.02 million fans watching.
In Australia, the episode, which was simulcast on Channel 10 and 10 Peach, drew 873,000 metro viewers across both stations, largely thanks to the cast of returning favourites.
Happy days! Twitter went wild for the shock announcement that their favourite show was returning
Oh nooooo! But others felt as though the show has had its day and producers should let sleeping dogs lie
No other entertainment program came close to Neighbours as it wrapped up its historic 37-year run with a 90-minute special, reports TV Blackbox.
It was the most-watched program overall on the night and convincingly won all key demographics between ages 16 and 54.
UK audiences were flooded with nostalgia during an emotional Neighbours finale which saw Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan make an epic comeback to the soap, joining a host of stars amid Margot Robbie and Holly Valance returning to Ramsay Street for one final time.
The Channel 5 soap first aired in 1985 and has been on screens for 37 years, but in March it was announced the Australian series was being axed after 8,903 episodes with the finale airing in Australia on Thursday and on Friday evening in the UK.
The finale was jam-packed with appearances from long-gone characters as fans were given a nostalgic glimpse through Neighbours’ history, with characters tearfully flipping through photo albums, a lingering melancholic piano score and the odd in-joke.
Winner: No other entertainment programme came close to Neighbours as it wrapped up its 37-year run with a 90-minute special episode in July (pictured; Ian Smith asHarold Bishop)
The finale centered around Toadie’s (Ryan Moloney) wedding to Melanie (Lucinda Cowden) as many familiar faces reunited for the picturesque lakeside ceremony and street party afterwards, while other pals – including Margot Robbie’s Donna Freedman) – sent their well wishes in sweet video messages to mark the big day.
And appearing on screens once again, Kylie and Jason’s beloved characters Charlene and Scott Robinson made their much-anticipated entrance to the garden party as they pulled up on Ramsay Street in their recognisable green Mini before surprising their pals.
And viewers were quick to gush over Scott and Charlene’s first appearance on Ramsey Street in more than 30 years, taking to Twitter to comment on how ‘nostalgic’ and ’emotional’ it made them feel.
As the iconic pair arrived on screens, Kylie and Jason’s real-life love song Especially For You belted out in the background, with fans left delighted at the unexpected crossover. Kylie and Jason recorded the love ballad in 1989 – one year after they left Neighbours and soon before they ended their three-year romance.
‘Pure nostalgia’: UK audiences were flooded with nostalgia during an emotional Neighbours finale which saw Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan make an epic comeback
Reunion: In the emotional scenes, the couple were seen leaning against their car, as they took in the surroundings and reminisced on their time together in the town
Scott and Charlene returned to Erinsborough for the first time since they bid farewell to the suburb and moved to Brisbane after tying the knot in a romantic wedding ceremony more than 30 years ago.
As well as Kylie and Jason making a final appearance on the show, there were also epic returns made by Holly Valance (Flick Scully), Natalie Imbruglia (Beth Brennan), Guy Pearce (Mike Young) and Ian Smith (Harold Bishop) as they reprised their roles on the soap opera.
They were joined by Daniel MacPherson, (Joel Samuels), Peter O’Brien (Shane Ramsay), Natalie Bassingthwaighte, (Izzy Hoyland), Mark Little (Joe Mangel) and Paul Keane, who memorably played Des Clarke.
Also appearing in the finale were Annie Jones (Jane Harris), Anne Charleston, who portrayed matriarch Madge Bishop, Jacinta Stapleton (Amy Greenwood), and Delta Goodrem (Nina Tucker).
And stars from more recent years on the soap joined the episode, including Olympia Valance (Paige Smith), Jodi Gordon (Elly Conway), Zoe Cramond (Amy Williams) and Kate Kendall (Lauren Turner).
With Ben Hall (Ned Willis), Olivia Junkeer (Yashvi Rebecchi) and Zima Anderson (Roxy Willis) completing the line-up of Neighbours alumni returning.
Meanwhile, the Neighbours set was due to be ‘dismantled’ following the soap’s 37-year run.
Ramsay Street, situated in the make believe town of Erinsborough was going to be demolished to make way for a new project, according to Terry Smit of Go West, the team behind the official ‘Neighbours’ tour.
Star-studded: As well as Kylie and Jason making a final appearance on the show, there was also an epic return made by Margot Robbie as Donna Freedman (pictured) as she appeared in a video message for Toadie’s wedding day
He told the Daily Star: ‘We are advised by Fremantle Media that the sets will be dismantled and that the space will be used for their next project, whatever that may be.’
It is said that the final Neighbours set tours will take place this weekend.
Terry went on to say: ‘As the sets are being dismantled, there is nothing left for us to tour, so the tour will be discontinued.’
Goodbye Ramsay Street: Meanwhile, the Neighbours set was due to be ‘dismantled’ following the soap’s 37-year run, with the space making way for a new project
Neighbours’ most memorable storylines
Scott and Charlene’s wedding
Perhaps the most famous Neighbours moment, 20million people tuned in to watch Scott and Charlene Robinson, played by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue, get married in November 1988.
The pair’s friend and family were seen in floods of tears as Charlene walked down the aisle to Angry Anderson power ballad Suddenly, with neighbour Nell Mangel catching the bouquet.
Mark leaves Annalise at the altar
Mark Gottlieb and Annalise Hartman’s nuptials didn’t go to plan in 1994. While both parties were nervous on the day, Mark left Annalise at the alter, saying he couldn’t marry her.
However, it wasn’t totally down to Annalise as he decided marriage wasn’t for him and decided to become a priest.
The death of Helen Daniels
Helen Daniels, played by the late Anne Haddy, established herself as the grandmother of Ramsay Street.
Embroiled in some gripping storylines, over the years she saw her life stolen by a conman, she had an affair with her daughter’s fiancé, and she fell down some stairs before suffering a stroke.
In a bid to bring the warring Ramsay and Robinson families together, she gathered them round to watch Scott and Charlene’s wedding together but, as they bickered over their differences, she quietly passed away on the sofa in her sleep.
The Lou, Madge and Harold love triangle
Madge Ramsay (Anne Charleston), Harold Bishop (Iain Smith) and Lou Carpenter’s (Tom Oliver) lives were entangled before the show even hit screens, with the trio knowing one another from their school days.
Madge fell head over heels for ‘Jelly Belly’ Harold but was also strongly attracted to cheeky Lou.
However, Madge’s life took an unexpected turn for viewers when she married Fred Mitchell, with their relationship soon becoming troubled.
Madge and Harold later got back together and he proposed much to the distaste of Lou who attempted to win Madge over. Madge eventually married Harold in 1988.
After Harold’s death, Lou set his sights on Madge once more and the pair planned to marry but they called it off when he realised he wasn’t a match for Harold.
Harold returns from the dead
Harold was killed off on the soap when he was swept out to sea when Madge’s back was turned, leaving nothing behind other than his glasses.
However, he made a shock return to Erinsborough five years later, declaring he’d suffered from amnesia, with Helen Daniels running into him by chance while browsing in a Salvation Army shop.
He returned to Ramsay Street to be reunited with Madge.
Madge appeared on the show from 1986 to 1992 and again from 1996 to 2001 as a much-loved character.
After Harold’s return, the pair renewed their marriage vows and fostered a child but she was later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Doctors told her she had just months to live but further tragedy struck when her life was shortened even further after she developed septicaemia after cutting her finger.
Before her death, Lou confessed his undying love for her and she died in the arms of Harold.
Susan’s memory loss
In typical soap style, Susan Kennedy (Jackie Woodburne) totally lost her memory after slipping on the milk from a spilled bowl of cereal in 2002.
She was convinced she was 16 years old again, a situation that left her incredibly confused when she found herself by chance at a 70s-themed birthday party.
Jarrod “Toadfish” Rebecchi, played by Ryan Moloney, found was first heartbroken just hours after his wedding to Dee Bliss (Madeleine West) in 2003 when he lost control of their car and drove it off a cliff, with her body never being found.
In 2010 he left Steph Scully (Carla Bonner) at the alter when he realised she didn’t love him and during his third wedding to Sonya Mitchell (Eve Morey) in 2013, a gas bottle exploded during the reception, destroying their marquee and leaving Sonya with a fractured skull and no memory of the wedding. Characters Priya Kapoor and Rhys Lawson were also killed in the blast.