POPULAR AUSTRALIAN soap Neighbours is to come to an end after 37 years this summer.
The future of the show was brought into doubt last month after its key UK broadcast partner Channel 5 announced that it would stop airing and funding it.
The official Neighbours Twitter account announced the news on Thursday, saying "after nearly 37 years and almost 9000 episodes broadcast we have to confirm that Neighbours will cease production in the summer."
"Following the loss of our key broadcast partner in the UK and despite an extensive search for alternative funding, we simply have no option but to rest the show.
"To our amazing, loyal fans, we know this is a huge disappointment, as it is to all of us on the team. We thank you for all your messages and support and promise to end the show on an incredible high. From here on, we are celebrating Neighbours."
To our amazing, loyal fans, we know this is a huge disappointment, as it is to all of us on the team.
We thank you for all your messages and support and promise to end the show on an incredible high.
From here on, we are celebrating Neighbours.
— Neighbours (@NeighboursTV) March 3, 2022
The soap has been a staple on Irish TV screens, airing at lunchtime and in the evenings on RTÉ alongside Home & Away.
It has also launched the careers of several Hollywood stars and entertainers, including Kylie Minogue, Russell Crowe, Margot Robbie and Natalie Imbruglia.
Although successful in Melbourne, Neighbours originally underperformed in the Sydney market and was cancelled by Seven four months after it began airing in 1985. It was immediately commissioned by rival network Ten for a second production season, which began screening on 20 January 1986.
Neighbours has since become the longest-running drama series in Australian television history. In 2005, it was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame.
The storylines concern the lives of the people who live and work in Erinsborough, a fictional suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. The series centres on the residents of Ramsay Street, a cul-de-sac, and its neighbouring area, the Lassiters complex, which includes a bar, hotel, café, police station, lawyers' office and park.
In 2008, it moved from the BBC in the UK to Channel 5 and since 2008 has largely paid for by the UK broadcaster as it was no longer commercially viable for Ten to fund it alone.