Neighbours producer promises strong future for the Australian soap

Susan Bower, executive producer of Neighbours, has promised a ‘strong future’ for the soap despite a troubled 25th anniversary year.

The 25th anniversary year of Australian soap Neighbours hasn’t been the celebration that the producers hoped it would be. In its quarter century on-air it hasn’t been the drama on-screen that has dominated the headlines but rather the drama off-screen.

In its native country ratings for Neighbours have dropped to under 400,000 viewers and it was announced the soap would no longer air on Channel Ten. Instead the saga will soon move from Channel Ten to its new digital channel, Eleven, prompting such fears that the axe is looming for the soap all together. However, executive producer Susan Bower has promised a ‘strong future’ for Neighbours despite the gloom.

“Ratings weren’t all that flash, yes, but the stories were amazing and we had a very positive response from the audience. This move is an opportunity for Neighbours to be re-birthed.” – Susan Bower in the Australian Sunday Telegraph

Despite the move to digital channel Eleven the producer insists that the storylines will not become grittier and the soap’s classification will not be altered from G to PG with the move.

“No, we are not. I’m not sure where that came from. As I understand it, at this moment in time, the multichannels do not have the strict classification as the other FTA channels. Whether we are G or PG, we will produce stories that push the boundaries. We will continue to do that, but also continue to be family-friendly. We’re confident we can take our core audience over [to Eleven]. Neighbours has a strong future here and overseas” – Susan Bower in the Australian Sunday Telegraph

While Neighbours has been suffering from poor ratings in Australia its in stark contrast to the UK where it is now shown on Channel Five. The evening broadcast of Neighbours has recently seen its ratings climb to highs of 1.7 million viewers – dwarfing that of fellow Aussie soap Home & Away which is also shown on Channel Five in the UK.