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Five 20/6/2007

Following Five's acquisition of Neighbours, they gave us an interview with Lisa Opie (Five's Manager of Content).

Did the Deal include previous episodes?

No, but it's possible that Five would be given the opportunity to purchase older episodes in the future.

Assuming that you do an hour of Neighbours and Home and Away, which will be first?

It's not really appropriate to comment on scheduling yet. No broadcaster would reveal such detailed plans this far ahead of transmission.

Are you less likely to start a new soap opera of your own like Family Affairs?

I wouldn't say so, no. Acquisitions and home-grown commissions fulfil very different roles on the channel.

Are there any plans for a legal episode downloading service?

Five was the first terrestrial broadcaster to launch a video download service - Five Download (check it out at http://download.five.tv/). We are always seeking ways of exploiting our content across a variety of platforms.

A lot of fans of Neighbours are worried about it not being shown for a period of time after it finishes transmitting on the BBC - as happened with Home and Away when it moved to Five. Will there be a break in transmission?

All we can say is that we are eager to start showing Neighbours as soon as we are contractually able. We can't comment on how the BBC intends to schedule their remaining episodes.

Another worry is the given timeslot for Neighbours. Does Five currently have an idea of where they're going to put Neighbours so it doesn't clash with Hollyoaks, which appeals to the same demographic?

Again - sorry, but we can't comment on scheduling this far ahead - no broadcaster would.

There has been an absence of promotion for Neighbours on the BBC these past years. Do you think Five will be promoting the show like it does with Home and Away?

Neighbours is hot property and we are very excited to have it on the channel. We will be proudly supporting the launch of Neighbours with a high profile marketing campaign, as the first transmission approaches. Then, as Neighbours will be an important part of the identity of Five, you will see ongoing promotional efforts from us.

Given the fact that Five has paid 300 million over an 8-year period, is there a pressure on the show to perform well, ratings and quality wise?

We want all our programmes to achieve full potential in terms of ratings and quality - regardless of cost.

The ratings for Neighbours in Australia at the moment are seen by many to be a disaster. This has led to an almost transformation/ re-vamp of the show which will start airing this year. Is it not a worry for Five that if the show does not perform well after its transformation it will be axed by Network Ten?

Any long-running drama goes through some ups and downs in both creative ter ms and audience interest. The fact is that Neighbours has shown itself to be a consistently popular series throughout its 20 year history of being broadcast in the UK.
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