After 20 years Neighbourshas become an ‘invisible part’ of the BBC’s schedule, according to distributors Fremantle Media, which earlier this year sold the Australian soap to Five. [ALL]

After 20 years Neighbourshas become an ‘invisible part’ of the BBC’s schedule, according to distributors Fremantle Media, which earlier this year sold the Australian soap to Five.

 

Fremantle’s finance director Ian Ousey said that while Five is a sister company of Fremantle’s (both are owned by RTL), this was not the reason it had decided to sell the long running series to the broadcaster.

Rather, he said it was because Fremantle was attracted to Five’s plan to make a daily ‘Australian hour’ by scheduling Neighboursnext to Home and Away.

Ousey said: ‘We put the programme to market. We didn’t just aim to sell it for the highest price as we wanted to give it to a good home.

‘Five is [our] sister company but it was their idea to twin [ Neighbours] with Home and Awayand give it an Australian hour which attracted us.

‘Neighbours had been with the BBC for 20 years and was an invisible part of the BBC’s schedule.’

In May this year, Five poached the rights for Neighboursin an eight year deal worth £300m.

Starting from 2008, it is thought that Five will schedule the show at 6.30pm, where it has struggled to replace axed local soap Family Affairs. It will form an Australian soap zone with Home and Away. It will also air on Five Life.

At the time BBC1 controller, Peter Fincham said: ‘This is nearly three times the amount we pay at the moment.’