The residents of Ramsay Street will be returning to screens across Australia — and the world — next year after Freemantle, the producers of Neighbours, secured Amazon Freevee and Prime Video as their international partner.
Network 10, the home of Neighbours for over three decades, will retain first-run broadcast rights in Australia. UK and US audiences can view the series free of charge on Amazon Freevee. The revitalised series will also be available ad-free on Prime Video in Australia and New Zealand seven days following the free-to-air viewing of the new series, and exclusively on Prime Video in Canada.
Along with the return of Australia’s favourite drama, Jackie Woodburne, Alan Fletcher, Stefan Dennis and Ryan Moloney have all been confirmed to be returning to their roles, with more casting announcements still to come.
Speaking to 10 Play, Jackie Woodburne said it felt like her head was exploding. “It’s just the best news, I was stunned to tell you the truth, I was just speechless. It didn’t sink into my brain because it was the last thing I was expecting, I truly was in shock.”
Ryan Moloney admitted that when Neighbours’ Executive Producer Jason Herbison told him the good news, "I actually swore at him. I was just like, that's not what I was expecting!”
For both Ryan and Jackie, returning to their iconic roles that have been parts of their lives for so many years was the easiest decision they’d made.
“Why wouldn't you? This is going to be the relaunch of an absolute Australian icon, you'd be mad to miss it,” Ryan added.
“It's the best job ever," Jackie agreed, "I get to work with my beautiful faux-husband Alan Fletcher again, which will be such a joy.”
Neighbours has been a staple of Network 10’s program schedule for decades, responsible for launching the careers of hundreds of actors, including household names Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce, Jason Donovan, Margot Robbie and Delta Goodrem.
“The nature of the show is that new people come through all the time so I imagine that will still be the case and, of course, all those young actors out there who have an opportunity to come onto a show, to learn, to have the opportunity to be part of this industry," Jackie said.
“It was such a great training ground for so many people and we're back to offer that to people in all aspects of the industry," she continued, adding that the show's Forest Hill studious have provided opportunities for those who also work behind-the-scenes. “It’s so exciting for the industry!”
Jackie and Ryan also agreed that it was such wonderful news not just for the cast and crew but the devoted fans who have been unofficial residents of Ramsay Street for decades.
“There was such an outpouring of love from everybody on Facebook and forums and all that kind of stuff," Ryan said. “There are a lot of people going oh my god, bring it back! So I think those people are going to be absolutely blown away.”
“Our fans are incredible," Jackie said, "they're so loyal, they've been with us for so long and they're ever-changing because we've been on the air for so long. Each generation you get a different wave of viewers coming through who are attached to the show.
"People are doing it pretty tough out there and, for a lot of them, that half an hour every day was just a little bit of respite from whatever their difficulties were, whatever they were faced with in their lives," she continued. “It was just that little half-hour of happiness for a lot of people, so the fact that we're going to be able to provide that again is such a blessing."
Beverley McGarvey, Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer, Paramount Australia and New Zealand said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Neighbours back home to Network 10, and while we loved the finale earlier this year and appreciated the incredible support from the cast, crew and fans, we continued to hold a small glimmer of hope that one day it would be possible to resume the series.
“We are grateful for the tenacity and determination displayed by Fremantle in securing a new production partner so our association could continue.
“A much-loved stalwart of our program schedule for over 35 years, we can’t wait to bring back the perfect blend of soap and sunshine to Australian audiences which will also add a fantastic boost to the Victorian and wider production community.”
Greg Woods, CEO Fremantle Australia, said: “The love for Neighbours is undeniable and we have been determined to explore every possible avenue to bring it back for loyal fans across the world. We are beyond thrilled to have secured this landmark deal with Amazon Freevee, along with Network 10 in Australia, long-term and passionate supporters of the show.
“We will be going back into the writing room immediately and production for this wonderful series will begin next year. Neighbours has been so important for the Victorian production community, and along with our partners, will provide new opportunities on both sides of the camera. We cannot wait to get started.”
Neighbours ran for 37 years and nearly 9000 episodes, garnering fans across the globe. The Australian-produced show has screened in multiple countries over its reign on-air including the UK, airing on both BBC One and most recently Channel 5 since its launch in 1985.
The final episode of Neighbours aired in July on 10, 10 Peach and 10 Play attracting an audience of 1.48 million viewers with Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce and Jason Donovan all returning to revive their beloved characters in the final episode, paying tribute to the series.
Jason Herbison, Neighbours’ Executive Producer - Fremantle since 2013, and Rick Maier, Head of Drama and Executive Production, Paramount ANZ will maintain their positions on the exciting new chapter of Neighbours, with Andrew Thompson returning as Producer.
Production is set to commence in early 2023 with a world premiere slated for the second half of the year.