Neighbours icon Natalie Bassingthwaighte ‘devastated’ over fears soap could be axed

Neighbours has been on UK TV screens for the last 37 years, but the legendary Aussie soap is facing the axe after Channel 5 announced it would not be renewing its contract to air the show

Neighbours icon Natalie Bassingthwaighte has shared her devastation over fears the soap could be axed after 37 years.

The future of the legendary Aussie soap, which launched the careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce and Holly Valance, hangs in the balance after Channel 5 announced it would not be renewing its contract to air the long-running series.

Bosses at the UK broadcaster, which bankrolls most of the production costs despite Neighbours being filmed in Australia, confirmed in a statement last week that they would not be continuing their partnership with Fremantle Australia, as they were focused on producing British drama instead.

Natalie, 46, played troublemaker Izzy Hoyland on the soap from 2003 to 2006, and was involved in a scandalous storyline that hooked viewers, as she and Karl Kennedy embarked on a torrid affair.

She said she was heartbroken over the decision, and feared for the future of those working on the soap.

“It’s devastating for everyone that’s been involved in the past almost 40 years, but mainly the people who are there now – it’s their livelihood,” she told Daily Mail Australia.

“I’m only hoping that someone will come in and save the day. I think there’s still hope, but my heart goes out to everyone that’s there.”

Natalie said she still stays in contact with past and current cast members, and revealed they were all devastated by the decision.

“It’s a hard time for everyone,” she sadly added.

Fremantle confirmed in an email to staff that the Aussie soap would finish on 10 June if a new broadcaster could not be found in time.

Neighbours’ executive producer Jason Herbison said that the future of the show “has been uncertain for some time”, and said despite efforts being made to find a new broadcast partner, the soap could be axed.

Fans are bereft at the thought of the long-running Aussie soap being axed

“These discussions are ongoing however there is no new broadcaster at the moment and production must end, effectively resting the show,” he wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Herald Sun.

However, a statement from the Channel 10 network confirmed they have “every intention” to find a new home for Neighbours.

“Network 10 has an ongoing commitment to the show, the cast and crew and is hopeful that Fremantle will find a new production partner. We will provide further updates as they become available,” they said.