Why the cancellation of “Neighbors” also marks the end of an era for world soaps (Column)

The cancellation of the long-awaited Australian soap “Neighbours” has resulted in an outburst of multi-generational nostalgia among audiences in the UK, where the show has been running since 1986. In view of the August 1 finale, “Neighbors” has received a boost did one of the most popular programs on Channel 5-backed Paramount. Not only that, but a nationwide tour with some of the most famous characters in the series has been announced. Why not visit Melbourne’s fantastic suburb of Erinsborough when Erinsborough can come to you?

Having been featured for 36 years, the majority of them on the BBC, “Neighbors” has all the hallmarks of a modern soap: cases, hospital visits, plane crashes, explosions, explosions, marriages that end with the bride and groom groom ride off a cliff and the bride is lost in the sea, before appearing decades later to avenge someone like her who stole her identity. And of course, the moment Susan Kennedy (Jackie Woodburne) slipped on the spilled milk, she was banging her head and thinking she was a teenager. However, the level of fanfares is not exactly what you would normally expect for a day TV show to be canceled.

More from Variety

Maybe it was due to the fact that for many years, you could not really avoid the “Neighbors”. Repeated twice a day at a time when there were far fewer channels, the show became a must-watch at home and in the break room at school or at work. More than 20 million people watched the wedding between two of his most popular characters, Charlene (Kylie Minogue) and Scott (Jason Donovan). Their relationship on screen and their next marriage in 1987 (photo) not only helped start their respective decades of music career, it was also one of the defining moments in British pop culture of the 1980s.

Surprisingly, even my name may be related to his legacy. Shortly after I was born, my mom asked my three older sisters to suggest names. Obsessed with their relationship, my older sister suggested Scott and the name stuck. (I reached out to my mom for a comment in this column. Her response: “I always liked the name Scott and it’s all random. Also, did you get this post we forwarded to you?”)

There were also other memorable, ridiculous and surreal stories. There was a time when Daphne Clarke (Elaine Smith) somehow managed to give birth without taking off her tights. It was the time when Paige Smith (Olympia Valance) had sex with a Catholic priest in the middle of a balloon disaster and when Cheryl Stark (Caroline Gillmer), who was visiting her son abroad, was abducted by Ecuadorian guerrillas and had a relationship with one of her abductors. And who can forget the episode when we saw what the dogs were dreaming about?

Tonic, “Neighbors” also felt in stark contrast to other British soaps. While everyone was murdered at “Hollyoaks” and after Christmas dinner at “EastEnders”, “Neighbors” always felt like it was a warm and upbeat watch, even when the stories were not. The Australian sunshine has always fooled you into believing that things were consistently better than they really were and thrilled viewers on those cool, wet, miserable British days.

Compared to other soaps, “Neighbors” has also taken steps to become more comprehensive. Weeks after gay marriage became legal in Australia, Neighbors celebrated its first gay marriage. The soap also featured his first trans character, Mackenzie, played by Georgie Stone, who has said in interviews that she works closely with storytellers to ensure fair representation. And shortly after the announcement that the soap was about to run out, “Neighbors” made its first non-binary character, played by Kathleen Ebbs. (It is a pity that such diversity did not always exist behind the scenes, with an investigation launched after allegations of racism on set last year.)

So why was “Neighbors” canceled? Many of them are due to its unique distribution model. “Neighbors” receives far more viewers in the UK than at home in Australia. Channel 5, which in recent years has been targeting an older and more aristocratic demographic, has decided not to renew its contract so that it can spend more money on its primetime lineup. A British broadcaster or streamer needed to indulge in the show to keep it viable – but no one intervened.

Many of them seem to be a matter of bad times. The days when a broadcaster snatched a bar of soap from an opponent, such as when Channel 5 allegedly paid 300 300 million ($ 367 million) to snatch Neighbors from the BBC in 2008. Flow wars have been unprecedented. competition and hundreds (very expensive) prototypes, but these services tend to target limited series that streamers can simply cancel if the program does not receive the immediate increase in subscriptions or ratings they expected.

Even if the flow wars had subsided and they were able to make longer-term commitments to their programs, the ability for a streamer to commit to more than 240 episodes a year right now is probably too much to enjoy, although millions of views are likely. the original episodes. It does not help that the soap is mostly watched in the UK and not in Australia and fails to reach significant ratings in many other countries. A streaming market would essentially mean supporting a year-round production on the other side of the world, which is exactly what Channel 5 is doing right now.

When many shows are canceled, they never have a chance to say goodbye. For “Neighbors” many of the series’ most notable characters can return to the final set of episodes, including Scott and Charlene. While the news of a cancellation is always difficult for fans and the crew, at least they can be comforted knowing that few shows leave us with almost universal adoration, even from viewers who have not seen an episode in years. “Neighbors” will say goodbye properly and maybe this is part of the series’ legacy.

The best of the variety

Subscribe to the Variety newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.