Kylie Minogue says she will be “forever grateful” for her time on Neighbours, after it was confirmed the long-running Australian soap will cease production within months.
However, the Australian favourite has made no mention of whether she will reprise her character – mechanic Charlene – for a special blockbuster farewell to the 37-year-old TV drama.
Confirmation Neighbours would end in June, after 37 years in production, came on Thursday night.
The soap, which has been shown on British television for more than 30 years, lost its key British broadcaster partner a month ago and failed to find alternative funding.
The popular show helped launch the careers of many stars, including Minogue’s. She joined in 1986 to play the role of Charlene Robinson.
She paid tribute to the soap on Twitter, writing: “I’ll be forever grateful for the experience & the friends I made on @neighbours.
“We had no idea how big the show would become and how passionately viewers would take it to heart.
“Pure love! I can still hear Madge calling … CHARLENE!!!!”
Neighbours executive producer Jason Herbison was philosophical on Thursday night about the end of the show, hinted at offering a fitting farewell from the residents of the fictitious Erinborough – via a blockbuster, all-star farewell episode.
Herbison told 10 News he and the crew were “very sad but we are also very proud”.
“Thirty seven years is an incredible achievement,” he said. “We are the longest-running drama show ever in Australia.”
Herbison said he hoped Minogue and Jason Donovan – who played Charlene’s husband Scott Robinson – would be part of the show’s final storyline.
“Kylie and Jason, they personify the Neighbours of the early years so we would love to see them back in Ramsay Street,” he said.
“They are busy people, as well [but] we hope that the planets will align and we can get them back on the show somehow, some way, but between now and June we will be working on it.”
The drama about the residents of Ramsay Street helped many actors – including Donovan, Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe and Natalie Imbruglia – find fame.
Australian actor Travis Burns, who played Tyler Brennan for three years, said it was an “end of an era”.
On Twitter, he added: “Super blessed to be a part of the show that created so many jobs for so many people.”
Neighbours‘ future had been in doubt after Britain’s Channel 5 confirmed in February it would stop airing the show.
On Thursday the show’s Twitter account said: “We are so sorry to say that after nearly 37 years and almost 9,000 episodes broadcast we have to confirm that Neighbours will cease production in June.
“Following the loss of our key broadcast partner in the UK and despite an extensive search for alternative funding, we simply have no option but to rest the show.
“To our amazing, loyal fans, we know this is a huge disappointment, as it is to all of us on the team. We thank you for all your messages and support and promise to end the show on an incredible high. From here on, we are celebrating Neighbours.”
Channel 5 said dropping the soap would allow funding to be diverted to original British dramas.
The longest running drama series on Australian television, Neighbours initially launched on the Seven Network in 1985. When the channel axed it, rival Ten picked it up the following year and it became an international hit.
In Australia it has been shown on digital channel 10 Peach since 2011 and has been reliant on the British broadcaster for funding.
Neighbours was shown on BBC One until 2008, when it moved to Channel 5.
It has featured several British guest stars in recent years, including Amanda Holden, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ryan Thomas and Janet Street-Porter.