Is Home and Away ending? What is fate of Australian soap as final episode of Neighbours airs on Channel 5
Fans of Home and Away were concerned that the soap would follow the same fate as Neighbours which was axed by Channel 5 this year
Australian soap operat Home and Away is incredibly popular with UK viewers, and fans were worried that the show might be axed just like the another Ozzie show - Neighbours.
Home and Away first came to the UK via ITV from 1989-2000, and was one of the most popular shows on the channel at the time.
But when Channel 5 beat ITV in a bidding war for the soap, paying a £40 million for the rights, the show switched channels in 2001 after a year’s hiatus.
Channel 5 has remained the home of the programme since it moved, but when the final episode of Neighbours aired last month, the fate of Home and Away looked uncertain.
What is Home and Away about, how can you watch it in the UK, and has it been cancelled? Here is everything you need to know:
What is Home and Away about?
Home and Away chronicles the lives, loves, and heartbreaks of residents of Summer Bay, a small coastal town outside Sydney, Australia.
It is a soap opera, so of course there’s plenty of melodrama, murder, mayhem and marriage troubles.
Like Neighbours, the series has been a starting point for many famous Hollywood actors - Thor actor Chris Hemsworth starred in 192 episodes from 2004-2007, and his brother Liam also featured in one episode.
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain), Guy Pearce (Memento, Iron Man 3), Isla Fisher (Arrested Development, Nocturnal Animals), and Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive, The Impossible) have also appeared in the show over the years.
Has Home and Away been cancelled?
No, Home and Away has not been cancelled, fans will be relieved to know.
Channel 5 cut funding to Neighbours earlier this year with the intention to use that money to create original UK shows instead.
Producers of the soap failed to secure new funding and so Neighbours will cease making new episodes.
When asked if Home and Away would follow the same fate, Ben Frow, Channel 5’s head of programming, said: “No. But I think it will be interesting to see what we do with it as we evolve. There might be somewhere else to put it in the 5 spectrum.
“But it’s a life-of-series deal, so it’s not going anywhere until the makers decide to cancel it.”
A Channel 5 spokesman said: “Home and Away has broadcast on Channel 5 since 2000, and it has a longstanding and continuing home on the channel.”
When Channel 5 bid against ITV for the rights to the soap, they offered less money, but sweetened the deal with a commitment to air the show for as long as it was made.
This means that Home and Away will always have a place on the channel, but it may move to a less popular slot if programmers decide to prioritise other shows.
How can you watch Home and Away in the UK?
Currently Home and Away airs on Channel 5 on weekdays at 1:15pm and is repeated 5STAR at 6pm.
New episodes are shown at 6.30pm on 5STAR before airing the following day on Channel 5.
But, Channel 5 has confirmed that Home and Away will replace Neighbours in the broadcast slot, airing at 1:45pm.
The 6pm repeat and 6.30pm first look on 5STAR will remain the same.
The change will take affect from Monday 1 August. Episodes will also be available to watch on catch-up on My 5 as normal.
These broadcast slots may change again as Channel 5 puts more emphasis on producing new British programmes.