Nobody needs good Neighbours

By Peter Allott

Jul 07, 2010

Is it the beginning of the end for the iconic Aussie soap Neighbours?

For decades, Neighbours has been the soap of choice for television viewers around the world, in over 65 countries, who are craving a dash of Australiana.

However, in recent years the support from the home crowd has started to diminish, slowly but surely.

In the late 1980's, the program was at its ratings peak. The iconic television wedding between Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan garnered over 1.5 million viewers in Australia, and commanded audiences of 20 million in the UK, where the show's popularity has always been hugely buoyant.

While the numbers in the UK have reduced, there is still a loyal following on Channel Five in Britain. In Australia, though, the ratings are slumping -- almost to a point of no return at the 500,000 mark.

Looking at the comparable drama Home and Away, which manages to bump the million viewer number almost without fail, there are clearly failings with the Neighbours' format.

It has been suggested that Neighbours serves a different purpose entirely by simply ticking bureaucratic boxes for TEN.

An industry insider has stated: "TEN needs the show to score the [government mandated] Australian content and drama points required for it to hold on to a broadcasting licence."

If this is the case, then quality is not something that TEN will necessarily strive for.

Neighbours is heading towards its 6000th show and 25th anniversary, which TEN promises to be filled with special guests and celebrations. With the hope that some of the many stars whose careers have been launched by the soap (Natalie Imbruglia, Kylie Minogue, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce) may return for a special, there may still be hope that a much needed boost will be given to the program.

However, in an age, where "edgier" shows such as Underbelly and Rescue: Special Ops are the belle du jour, perhaps there isn't a place any more for the relatively light-hearted suburbia that Neighbours presents?

Maybe scriptwriters should take the same direction as the video below.

Let us know what you think below.

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