Neighbours, which has aired for more than 30 years, now runs 240 episodes annually, but will soon expand to 258, plus additional specials.
The Channel 5 soap becomes the first Australian drama series to run all 52 weeks a year including the winter holiday season. Traditionally the soap has been off the air during the holidays.
The production increase is a result of Channel 5’s new multiyear deal with FremantleMedia.
In addition the production company and Channel 5 will work together to produce several yearly prime time specials. Loyal fans can expect the first special to air early next year.
Show executives were quick to laud the new deal as well as recognize the fans who have made the compelling drama a can’t-miss hit show.
“For more than three decades, Neighbours has been an unmissable daily drama and although Ramsay Street is on the other side of the world, the stories we tell have struck a chord in the hearts of the UK audience,” said Channel 5’s acquisition boss Katie Keenan.
Jason Herbision, the show’s executive producer, echoed that sentiment: “I’m excited to keep delivering our worldwide viewers with their daily fix of Ramsay Street. We are proud that our show, set in the Aussie suburbs, has touched the lives of viewers the world over.”
He went on to say that Neighbours’ characters and viewers have in common the fact that both span multiple generations, and added, “The best is yet to come!”
Neighbours debuted in January 1986, and has the distinction of being the longest running drama series in Australian television.
The series focuses on the people who reside and work in the fictional town of Erinsborough, supposedly a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. The chief storylines revolve around the inhabitants of Ramsay Street, a picturesque cul-de-sac, and Lassiters complex, a sort of city-center.
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