It's been on the cards for a while and now the time has come for Neighbours fans to bid a final goodbye to the residents of Ramsay Street. The programme was once a major hit in Australia and a bigger success in Britain, but has fallen victim to waning ratings.
Back in March, the end of the soap was officially confirmed after Channel 5 announced in February it would stop airing the show. Bosses issued a message to the soap's fans in which they apologised to Neighbours' loyal following and explained the reason behind its cancellation. The show’s Twitter account said at the time: "We are so sorry to say that after nearly 37 years and almost 9,000 episodes broadcast we have to confirm that Neighbours will cease production in June.
"Following the loss of our key broadcast partner in the UK and despite an extensive search for alternative funding, we simply have no option but to rest the show."
The finale has since been teased for months with some of the soap's biggest names set to make a return for one last hurrah. And that included former love birds Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan who have reprised their roles as Charlene Mitchell and Scott Robinson as the Australian soap comes to an end after 37 years on screen.
Jason and Kylie, who are both 54, played Scott and Charlene from 1985 until their departures in 1989 and 1988 respectively. Their return to the soap was first announced in May. A statement by soap boss Jason Herbison was shared to Twitter which said: "Scott and Charlene are the ultimate Neighbours couple and it would not feel right to end the show without them. We are thrilled that Jason and Kylie have come home to play a very special part in our series finale…"
Their wedding episode was watched by more than two million Australian viewers when it first aired in 1987, and later pulled in an audience of almost 20 million when it was shown in the UK in 1988.
The soap also launched the careers of many Hollywood stars including Margot Robbie who will make an appearance in the final, hour-long episode alongside Guy Pearce, House actor Jesse Spencer and singer Delta Goodrem. According to reports, another Neighbours stalwart set to feature in the finale is the character of Madge Bishop, played by Anne Charleston, with some suggesting she may appear as a ghost following her character’s death in 2001.
Fans of Neighbours will be able to watch it for the last time when a double-episode special airs on Channel 5 at 9pm on Friday, July 29.
In a teaser, Guy, who reprises his role as Mike Young, the best friend of Scott and Charlene, is seen reconnecting with his old love interest, Jane Harris, played by Annie Jones. Global pop star Kylie and singer Jason are seen in character standing in front of a car, resting on its bonnet, with his arm around her before the words ‘Will they get their happy ever after?’ appear on screen.
Singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte is coming back as Izzy Hoyland and is seen in tears, telling a mystery figure: "Your story, my story. I wanted a reason to come back." Also returning for the finale is Peter O’Brien, who appeared in the show’s first episode as Shane Ramsay, Mark Little, who played Joe Mangel, and Paul Keane, who played Des Clarke.
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