Channel 5 has announced iconic Aussie soap Neighbours will be broadcast the same day in both the UK and Australia from January 4, 2016.
Neighbours is currently broadcast two weeks later in Britain than it is in Australia. To close the gap between the two markets, Channel 5 will screen an additional 10 episodes from December 7-18.
Greg Barnett, Channel 5 Commissioning Editor, said: “At a time when online piracy can often mean hardcore fans’ enjoyment of continuing drama is spoilt, this is great news for our millions of Neighbours fans. Not only for the first time will it actually be Christmas when it actually is Christmas (instead of February), but viewers will see the new year start with a bang for Ramsay Street rotter Paul Robinson and the woman he’s been taunting, Steph Scully, who are caught up in one of the series’ most gripping storylines.”
Jason Herbison, Series Producer, Neighbours commented: “We’re delighted that UK fans of Neighbours will be able to catch up with Karl, Susan, Toadie and the gang at the same time as Australian viewers. Thanks to today’s technology, and the collaboration of our friends at Channel 5, we’re now able to get episodes sent halfway round the world in record-breaking time, giving viewers of the show immediate access to our stories as they unfold.”
Since Neighbours first hit the airwaves in March 1985 UK fans have always been playing catch up with their favourite Australian soap. The initial lag between the Australian and UK broadcast was 18 months. In recent years, Channel 5 has sought to reduce this gap to two weeks.
Earlier this year, Neighbours turned 30, making it the longest running Australian drama, and it’s one of the most successful Australian TV exports ever.