Sun, sea, sand and…an axe rumour? Channel 5 bosses and Fremantle Media recently confirmed the future of Home And Away, following the end of fellow soap Neighbours
Since the final episode of Neighbours on July 29, 2022, many fans of daytime television have feared that Home And Away would be the next.
The Australian drama, which has been airing in the UK for more than 37 years, follows the lives of characters who reside in Summer Bay and has captivated audiences for decades.
However, in recent years, well before the news about Neighbours was confirmed, there have been rumours that Home And Away will be cancelled.
Fans are currently asking the soap’s stars on social media if the programme might be the next.
The Daily Star has looked at the Home And Away axe worries following recent confirmations of the soap’s future from both Channel 5 and Australian broadcasters.
Home And Away star speaks out
Many fans have been concerned that Home And Away could be the next show to be cancelled after Neighbours.
On social media, viewers reportedly asked the soap’s stars to clarify the show’s future, with Summer Bay legend Lynne McGranger responding to the rumour that the show was being cancelled.
Since she has been portraying Irene Roberts for more than 25 years, Lynne took to Twitter when a fan tweeted that Home And Away would be cancelled.
“First I’ve heard of that,” she tweeted, adding an emoji of a shrug.
Lynne added in a subsequent tweet: “Even though I see all of this, I haven’t heard a thing. It might be true, but around 18 months ago, it seemed like I was definitely leaving the Bay.”
Additionally, it was noted at the time that neither Channel 5, which airs the soap in the UK, nor Channel 7, which airs the show in Australia, had responded to queries from fans on the axe rumours.
Ziggy Astoni in Home and Away, Sophie Dillman, also confirmed to Daily Star that they were not aware of any rumours regarding an axe, saying: “The loss of Neighbours has crushed me. Such a classic Australian television programme, it was.”
I don’t know what it means for Home and Away, but when we learned, we were all very, very sorry, she continued.
Past axe reports and ‘low ratings’ rumours
Home And Away has been linked to the chopping block numerous times throughout the years.
Media sites claimed that the soap opera’s low ratings were the reason it would be cancelled, but Home And Away executives promptly shot down the claims after issuing a statement.
“The hard-working cast and crew of Home And Away make the most adored and most-watched Australian drama on television,” said Angus Ross, director of networking programming, to Metro.
“I can assure fans that the narrative is complete nonsense. There are absolutely no intentions to change it from its 7 p.m. main channel time slot.
It has been revealed that Home And Away, unlike Neighbours, is on a life-of-series contract with Channel 5.
As long as Australian producer Fremantle Media continues to put out new episodes, the broadcaster will keep airing the soap opera.
Ben Frow, the head of Channel 5, also confirmed the story in a recent interview with Radio Times, saying that the network is eager to see how the soap will fit into their future programming.
I believe it’ll be interesting to see how we use it as we advance, he remarked.
“It might fit in the [Channel 5] spectrum somewhere else.
It is a life-of-series contract, therefore it won’t end until the creators decide to discontinue it.
Sadly, Neighbours was not covered by such a contract, and when Channel 5 decided not to air the soap anymore, no other broadcaster was willing to pay and air it, which led to its cancellation.
However, if Fremantle and Channel 7 did choose to halt the serial opera’s production, UK viewers would also have to wave goodbye to Summer Bay.
Fremantle Media has admitted that Home And Away is a highly “expensive” soap to produce, despite having a life-of-series contract.
According to Channel 7’s Director of Programming Scheduling Brook Hall, “Home And Away is our primary drama that we show pretty much all year. It is also our most expensive expenditure of content. And that is forgotten.
There isn’t another network that would charge as much for a show. Our largest production of the year is this one.
Speaking about the soap’s popularity and “high-quality”, Brook also added that despite the high price tag, the soap has huge success and that Channel 7 “believes” in the soap.
Brook continued: “I’m very proud of Home and Away, and it’s arguably our most important show and our biggest cash outlay. We don’t have to do it. We believe in it.
“We don’t do it because it’s a drama quota. We do it because it’s an amazingly successful show.”
So don’t worry Home And Away fans, it does not seem that the soap is going off air anytime soon.