UK network Five has secured the rights to long-running Aussie soap, Neighbours.

Earlier on Friday, the BBC, which currently screens the soap, announced its withdrawal from the contest to sign the show it had screened for 21 years, citing the enormous episode price rise producers FremantleMedia wanted. It’s been reported that the cost had risen from £25,000 to £100,000 per episode.

Five’s deal with FremantleMedia will see Neighbours joining Five’s main channel and digital offering Five Life in early 2008.

Five’s managing editor of content, Lisa Opie, said: “I’m delighted Five has secured such a popular and sought-after series. Neighbours is quite rightly much loved by its many fans and it will be a greatly prized part of our schedule and suitably cherished by us.”

Five’s CEO, Jane Lighting, added: “Neighbours is a fantastic asset for us to add to Five’s family of channels, particularly as it is a household brand which delivers strong audiences daily.”

It’s likely that Five will create a daily super-soap hour, running Neighbours back to back with Home and Away.