For the first time in its 36-year history, Neighbours will be broadcast just 4 days a week in Australia.
As first reported by TV Tonight, from 26th July the show will only be broadcast Monday to Thursday on 10 Peach, with the Friday episodes being replaced by reruns of Friends.
The move is reportedly being made to allow UK screenings to catch up with Australian broadcasts, suggesting that the show will return to five episodes per week once the two countries are more in sync.
In a statement, a spokesperson for 10 said, “From Monday, July 26, Neighbours will air four nights a week, from Monday to Thursday at 6.30pm on 10 Peach.
“On Fridays, viewers can laugh along with their favourite Friends at 6:30pm.”
UK viewers are currently watching episodes a month after their Australian counterparts, after the UK’s Channel 5 made the decision to reduce the frequency of episodes when the Coronavirus pandemic first took hold in early 2020.
From 30th March last year, the show only aired 2 nights a week in the UK, increasing to 3 per week from mid-April and back to 5 episodes per week in mid May 2020.
Meanwhile, 10 Peach continued to air five episodes per week throughout the pandemic, causing a gap to grow between the countries for the first time since the two countries’ airings were synchronised in January 2016.
While Channel 5 isn’t commenting on whether the move is being made specifically to allow the UK to catch up, TV Tonight understands that “the move is likely tied to bring Australian episodes more in sync with the UK playout.”
With the UK currently four weeks behind, reducing Australian airings to four per week means it would take 20 weeks for the UK to completely catch up with Australian airings.