Channel 5 has announced today that Neighbours episodes will be broadcast on the same day as their Australian broadcast from January.
Fans of the Australian soap will no longer have to wait to catch up, in a bid to reduce online spoilers and piracy.
Channel 5 will close the current two week gap by airing an additional 10 episodes between Monday 7 December and Friday 18 December.
When Neighbours returns following its traditional Christmas break on Monday 4 January, both UK and Australian viewers will see the same episode on the same day for the first time ever.
When BBC One first started airing the show in the UK, there was originally an 18 month gap.
Neighbours celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this year, making it the longest running Australian drama.
Greg Barnett, Channel 5 Commissioning Editor, said: “At a time when online piracy can often mean hard core fans’ enjoyment of continuing drama is spoilt, this is great news for our millions of Neighbours fans. Not only for the first time will it actually be Christmas when it actually is Christmas (instead of February), but viewers will see the new year start with a bang for Ramsay Street rotter Paul Robinson and the woman he’s been taunting, Steph Scully, who are caught up in one of the series’ most gripping storylines.”
Jason Herbison, Neighbours series producer, added: “We’re delighted that UK fans of Neighbours will be able to catch up with Karl, Susan, Toadie and the gang at the same time as Australian viewers. 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.”