Neighbours star Rebekah Elmaloglou didn’t believe show axing news

Neighbours star Rebekah Elmaloglou has admitted that she struggled to accept the sad news that the soap would be ending.

In February, show bosses announced plans to bring production to a close after Channel 5 pulled out as Neighbours’ UK broadcast partner.

While there was a faint hope that another UK network would step in to finance more episodes, it was confirmed in March that Neighbours would be finishing after 37 years.

Rebekah, who plays fan favourite Terese Willis, has now told “We kind of knew it was on the cards for a while, but it’s like anything – when it actually hits you in the face, it was a huge shock.

“There was a lot of ‘in denial’ – and there still kind of is, I guess, in a way! On and off, the emotions are so all over the place.

“On that Monday morning when we were all called into the studios for the meeting, everyone was shocked, upset and speechless. There was such an array of emotions going on.

“But yet, we were all hoping that somebody was going to sweep in and save us. We really did.”

Neighbours remains Channel 5’s top-rated daytime show and its lunchtime screening frequently brings in the station’s highest audience share of the entire day.

However, talks over the show’s future broke down due to cost, with Channel 5 branding the yearly price tag for Neighbours too expensive.

Rebekah continued: “I thought it was all a hoax. I actually thought it was all set up, to be honest! I really thought it was a joke.

“I thought: ‘Okay, they’re just doing this to get a bit of publicity going’. For a while I thought it was a bit of a set-up, but then it wasn’t!

“There’s a part of me that still hopes someone will pick it up, but who knows? I think this chapter has to be closed.

“I think if anyone did turn around and say, ‘Let’s do something’, it certainly wouldn’t be the show that it is now. It’d be great, but it wouldn’t be the same format.

“As actors and crew, we’re having to put the denial behind us and get on with our lives and start looking for other work.”

A number of popular characters have bowed out from Neighbours in recent weeks, including Kyle Canning, Roxy Willis and Ned Willis. Harlow Robinson will also be leaving in the coming weeks as Jemma Donovan has filmed her final scenes and returned to the UK.

Asked whether Terese is staying until the end, Rebekah replied: “Absolutely. I don’t know if I’ll be in the final scene or not, but I’m definitely staying.

“I’m really sad that the cast members who have left over the past few months have left at this time. It’s such an amazing cast that we have at the moment and I was really hoping that some of them could have stayed until the end.

“But we’ve got so many amazing people returning, it’s crazy. They probably didn’t have room for everyone! There’s going to be so many storylines.”

Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 6pm on Channel 5 and streams on My5. In Australia, the show airs Mondays to Thursdays at 6.30pm on 10 Peach and streams on 10 Play.