Neighbours to Return via Amazon Freevee

The latest episode of A Brit Talks Vintage TV is now available to stream and download!

Below is a transcript of the podcast.

Hello there, and welcome to A Brit talks Vintage TV, with me Jamie Dyer.

I was somewhat surprised to hear this week that Neighbours, the Australian soap opera that ended earlier this year, would be resurrected by Amazon through their Freevee streaming service. The show, which began in 1985 and ran for over 8000 episodes, ended due to cuts made at its UK broadcaster Channel Five. After this, it seemed as though Fremantle couldn’t find a partner to keep the show going, how wrong we all were.

While this show isn’t strictly vintage, I think it falls into a category of television that is mostly associated with the past. It is no accident that reports of the show’s demise were accompanied by cast photographs from the 1980s featuring Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan; The show made its biggest cultural impact in that decade; Especially in the united kingdom. If the BBC hadn’t picked up the show in 1986 as a bit of daytime filler, there’s a chance it wouldn’t have lasted five years…let alone thirty-seven.

It might seem strange to an American that this bizarre Australian institution is being resurrected by Amazon for new episodes, but it makes sense from all points of view. Neighbours, besides its corny reputation, was a show that broke boundaries, touched audiences and made stars of its cast. The likes of Liam Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Guy Pierce, Russell Crowe, Alan Dale, Natalie Imbruglia, Delta Goodrem and Holly Valance have all made appearances in the show, before making it big elsewhere. These names alone are enough to intrigue audiences who are yet to be introduced to the residents of Ramsay Street.

Part of the deal between programme makers Fremantle and Amazon is that thousands of episodes from the archive will be made available alongside new episodes. This is surely unprecedented for a soap opera, which normally seems to lock away a majority of past episodes to keep you interested in the new. This huge drop into their catalogue of content will also provide the ad-supported service with instant revenue potential too, which means a bigger chance of the deal being long-term. Audiences, old and new, will be able to experience the many iconic characters that have graced the street over the years. Personally, I’m looking forward to tracing the story of two characters who were like Neighbours’ version of Ken Barlow, Harold Bishop and Lou Carpenter. Those guys were the face of the show, for me, for a long time.

So overall, I think this is a solid move for all parties. Fans, who never wanted it axed in the first place, can rejoice that their treasured show has returned. Amazon and Fremantle can count the money while the BBC and Channel 5 watch from afar. As the theme tune says, “everybody needs good Neighbours”. It seems the show has found that with Amazon Freevee in 2023.

So what else is there to say? I’ve said enough. If you have anything to say about the shows mentioned in this podcast, you can email, tweet @OldTimeReview on Twitter or check out the Facebook page, Old Time Review. This is Jamie Dyer signing off.


Written and Presented By Jamie Dyer

This is an Old Time Review Production

Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

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