Karl Kennedy actor speaks out on “huge shock” of Channel 5 axing.
Neighbours star Alan Fletcher has spoken out on the news that Channel 5 is dropping the soap from its schedule this summer, saying that the show needs “a hero” to help save it.
It was confirmed over the weekend that Neighbours will be pausing production later this year until a new UK partner is found, with Fremantle Media executive producer Jason Herbison saying that “discussions are ongoing” but that until a new UK broadcaster is found, “production must end, effectively resting the show”.
Actor Alan, who has played Dr Karl Kennedy since 1994, addressed the news in an email to fans on his mailing list today (February 7) which has been shared on Twitter, saying that he knows that the news “has come as a huge shock to a lot of people”.
“The show still has upwards of 1.5 million viewers in the UK on any given day and it seemed to be going strong,” he wrote, adding that “it seems that the axing of Neighbours is a financial decision”.
He went on to share his hope for Neighbours‘ possible future and to praise his fans, thanking them for their ongoing support in a heartfelt message.
“We need a hero and, maybe, one will come along,” he wrote. “In the meantime we have at least 7 months of fantastic Neighbours episodes to look forward to.
“Can I say at this point how incredibly grateful I am for the support of all my subscribers. You have made my Neighbours journey fun and engaging through your incredible support. Sincerely, thank you for being such a huge part of making Neighbours the legendary programme that it has become.”
Following the news of Channel 5’s axing of the soap, Neighbours fans have started a petition to save the show, which has attracted over 20,000 signatures at the time of writing.
“Neighbours has been a staple on UK screens for over 35 years – and has been watched by generations,” the petition states.
“Neighbours is more than just a TV show – it is a source of comfort and entertainment for generations of fans who have watched it for decades – it is one of the most loved TV shows in the UK and brings lots of viewers from all backgrounds to Channel 5’s catalogue of channels. Even Adele is a fan.”
Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 6pm on Channel 5 (UK) and Mondays to Thursdays at 6.30pm on 10 Peach (Australia).