By Connie Evans, PA Entertainment Reporter
Neighbours star Alan Fletcher has said the Australian soap was “too popular to let slip,” ahead of the show’s revival by Amazon Freevee.
The Neighbours reboot on the streaming service was announced in November, after it was initially dropped by Channel 5 following failure to secure new funding.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, 65-year-old Fletcher, who plays Neighbours favourite Karl Kennedy, said: “I had nothing to do with it. I can’t claim any credit.
“But you know, more than five million people watched the last episode in the UK and it was the highest rating programme here in Australia.
“I think that people just recognise that and realise this show is too popular to let slip, so we’re very, very pleased that Amazon has picked up the show.”
To which presenter Richard Madeley joked: “It must have been the fastest come back from the dead since Lazarus.”
Neighbours first aired in 1985 and followed the lives of those living and working in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough.
Despite its initial axing, the show’s return was revealed late last year with a social media clip showing Fletcher’s on-screen wife Susan Kennedy – played by Jackie Woodburne – excitedly informing some of the soap’s most recognisable characters, including Karl, Toadie Rebecchi and Paul Robinson, of the news.
After the finale, which featured a host of favourite characters returning to the cul-de-sac community of Ramsay Street, which attracted an average audience of 2.5 million, according to Channel 5, a revitalised series will premiere for free exclusively on Amazon Freevee in the UK and US and the site will also stream thousands of Neighbours episodes from previous series.
— Neighbours (@neighbours) January 2, 2023
Reflecting on the short period between the show ending in July and the revival being announced, Fletcher said: “I have to say that in the interim I had toured the UK with my The Doctor Will See You Now show and of course there were so many people expressing their profound grief that Neighbours had ended.
“And you know, I was actually very sad about it and knowing that I was coming back again in March to do the Neighbours farewell tour was quite shattering.”
However, he said he was relieved to now know the show will be back on screens later this year and added: “We are back. And there are so many people who are pleased. I think we’re going to have a fantastic show. People are going to love it.”
Along with the return of a number of recognisable on-screen characters, Jason Herbison, Neighbours’ executive producer since 2013, will maintain his position on the new chapter of Neighbours and Andrew Thompson will also return as producer.
Production is set to commence early this year, with a world premiere slated for the second half of the year.
Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 6am on ITV1.