Channel 5 have today confirmed to Back to the Bay that Home and Away will be remaining on air in the UK over the summer.
For several years the show has taken a transmission break on Channel 5 during the month of August, as well as at Christmas, in a move attributed to preventing the UK catching up with Australia during their own Christmas break.
With the Australian scheduling of the show being sporadic at the moment, the UK broadcasts are currently running between 6-7 weeks behind, so the lack of a summer break to extend the gap even further will come as welcome news to UK fans.
This is still in stark contrast to Channel 5’s other popular Aussie soap however. At the beginning of 2016, Channel 5 negotiated a deal to start airing Neighbours episodes on the very same day as Australia, with Channel 5’s commissioning editor Greg Barnett commenting “At a time when online piracy can often mean hardcore fans’ enjoyment of continuing drama is spoilt, this is great news for our millions of Neighbours fans.”
Neighbours producer Jason Herbison added “Thanks to today’s technology, and the collaboration of our friends at Channel 5, we’re now able to get episodes sent halfway round the world in record-breaking time, giving viewers of the show immediate access to our stories as they unfold.”
With that in mind, and with countries such as New Zealand currently airing Home and Away only a few days after Australia, a number of UK viewers have been left frustrated at Channel 5’s effort to maintain such a large gap.
Some of these fans have openly admitted to seeking out unofficial ways to watch the episodes online, in order to avoid being spoiled by those who watch at Australian pace—some of whom deliberately post spoilers on Channel 5’s official H&A Facebook page and elsewhere.
However, it may be possible that the UK will catch up by a couple of weeks later in the year if Home and Away takes a break in Australia for Olympic coverage.
At the time of writing, Channel 5 have told us that they do currently plan to take the show off-air again over Christmas—at which point the UK may still catch up by another week or so depending on the length of the break in Oz—but we will endeavour to keep you updated nearer the time.
UK fans who do wish to take sneak peek at what’s to come over the next couple of months can do so on our Upcoming UK Episodes page.
In other news, Channel 5 HD became free-to-air this week in the UK. Previously only available for subscribers of Sky and Virgin, the move means that all those with Freesat & Freeview HD enabled equipment are now able to view Home and Away in high definition on channel 105.