CHANNEL 5 ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN NEIGHBOURS EPISODES AS NEW DEAL SIGNED 47

Britain’s Channel 5 has inked a new and expanded deal for “Neighbours” that will see more episodes of the long-running Australian soap produced, plus several new specials planned for primetime.

The agreement follows lengthy talks between the Viacom-owned channel and FremantleMedia, which had sparked concern that “Neighbours” could disappear from British screens after having been a programming fixture for more than 30 years. Negotiations were reported to have stalled and then resumed, with the two companies finally agreeing on a new deal to secure the show’s future and expand the number of episodes aired.

Currently there are 240 episodes of the show produced a year. That will increase to 258, plus the new specials, the final number of which is not yet known. The extended episodes order means that from 2018 the show will run year-round and through the winter holiday period.

“Just as our characters span generations, so do the people that watch ‘Neighbours,’” series executive producer Jason Herbision said. “We value our global audiences and are delighted to stay on this journey together. Come the end of 2018 we will also make history by becoming the first Australian drama series to screen all year round.”

The series has iconic status in the U.K. It first hit British shores in 1986, and went on to launch the careers of Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce, Kylie Minogue, and Jason Donovan. The daily soap has been on Channel 5 since 2008 after transferring from the BBC.

It remains a ratings winner for the free-to-air network and is its top daytime show in 2017, with a peak audience of 1.2 million. The broadcaster strips it through the week at 1.45pm and 5.30pm.

The series is produced by FremantleMedia Australia for Channel 5 and for Network Ten’s digital channel Eleven in Australia. “From small beginnings over 30 years ago, ‘Neighbours’ has grown to become one of the most iconic shows on television, a mainstay of the FremantleMedia drama catalog and, with the possible exception of Kylie herself, Australia’s No. 1 export,” FremantleMedia CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz said.

“I’m delighted ‘Neighbours’ will continue to air across the Channel 5 portfolio,” added Channel 5’s acquisition boss Katie Keenan. “’Neighbours’ is an important part of our schedule and is held in great affection by British viewers.”

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ITV CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR HIGHLIGHTS 2017 REVEALED 14

A sleigh full of specials, across entertainment, drama, comedy and factual entertainment, will decorate the ITV schedule this Christmas, with an added festive helping of exciting free-to-air film premieres, with Jurassic World and Spectre coming to terrestrial television for the first time.

Chigwell’s favourite trio return to ITV with a feature length one-off Christmas special of Birds of a Feather. Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph reprise their roles as Sharon, Tracey and Dorien in a new adventure for the ladies. (9pm Monday December 18th).

Then to the London Palladium, where Miranda Hart hosts an unforgettable evening of entertainment in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Royal Variety Performance, where a wide range of internationally acclaimed acts and West End stars are brought together for one night only on a single stage.(7.30pm Tuesday December 19th).

The heroes behind the uniforms will be celebrated and honoured in this one off Christmas special on ITV, A Night For The Emergency Services. Presented by Ashley Banjo and Diversity, the show will feature talented members of the emergency services performing alongside special celebrity guests including Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, Leona Lewis and Tokio Myers. (9pm Wednesday December 20th).

Next ITV has a Christmas special with renowned chefs Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo alongside First Dates Maître D Fred Siriex, in which Gino and Gordon will lay on a spectacular banquet for the heroes of 2017. Working against the clock they’ll be assisted by a number of famous faces as the two teams compete to serve the most impressive festive menu. Charming Maître D Fred will not only be tasked with running the service but he’ll be wrangling the results from our deserving diners, whilst keeping the self assured Brit and the feisty Italian apart. Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Great Christmas Roast will be full of festive delight, celebrating great food and even greater Britons. (9pm Thursday December 21st).

The Pub Landlord is back this Christmas to host a one-off festive special with Al Murray’s Make Christmas Great Again where the country’s favourite landlord will be behind the bar for a festive lock-in, with a host of special guests, interviews and sketches, the ultimate public house party. (9pm Friday December 22nd).

On Christmas Eve afternoon ITV will be making a festive splash in Cannonball: Christmas Special, with Freddie Flintoff, Frankie Bridge, Radzi Chinyanganya, Ryan Hand and Maya Jama. (4pm Sunday December 24th). 

Also on Christmas Eve, Bradley Walsh hosts a very special edition of The Chase. It’s a Christmas Chase: Celebrity Special as all five chasers try to catch Coronation Street star Patti Clare, comedian Matt Richardson, presenter Kirsty Wark and singer Jimmy Osmond. (5.50pm Sunday December 24th).

Next on Christmas Eve (6.40pm Sunday December 24th), West End legend Michael Crawford will guide seven well known celebrities through an all singing, all dancing musical theatre extravaganza, in All Star Musicals. Hosted by Freddie Flintoff, All Star Musicals features a cast of famous faces who will each perform an iconic number from a hit musical at the legendary London Palladium.

At 8.30pm on Christmas Eve Rowan Atkinson is back in 1950’s Paris, investigating another case inMaigret in Montmartre.(8.30pm Sunday December 24th).

Christmas Day treats include 60 minute specials of Coronation Street (8pm) and Emmerdale (5.50pm), and Paul O’Grady will be back at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on his Christmas mission to find new homes for more adorable four-legged friends, in Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs at Christmas.(7pm)

Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes will be back, in a feature length festive special of ITV’s epic period drama, Victoria at 9pm on Christmas Day.

On Boxing Day, Ed Chamberlin hosts live racingaction from the Winter Festival at Kempton Park and the Yorkshire Christmas meeting at Wetherby. He is joined at Kempton Park for expert analysis by AP McCoy and Mick Fitzgerald, with reporters Oli Bell, Luke Harvey, and Rishi Persad, Matt Chapman with the latest betting news, and Richard Hoiles in the commentary box. 

On Boxing Day too, ITV will bring viewers the terrestrial TV premiere of Jurassic World (6.40pm Boxing Day).

On December 30th, viewers are invited to Guess The Star as Jonathan Ross hosts a brand new one-off game show where five well-known stars are completely transformed into their favourite musical icon for a performance. The programme pits three celebrity teams against each other to try and deduce who the disguised stars are, in the shortest time possible. (7pm Saturday December 30th)

On New Year’s Eve, ITV cordially invite you to A Right Royal Quiz (3.30pm Sunday December 31st), Britain’s first ever panel show about the Royal Family and a celebratory and affectionate look at the Royals and the country’s obsession with them. Hosted by Fern Britton, two Royal-loving celebrity teams battle it out to win the prize, the ‘Crown of Right Royalness’. There will also be new Cannonball: Splash Hits (6.50pm Sunday December 31st).

On New Year’s Day Ed Chamberlin kick offs the New Year with the ITV Racing team live at Cheltenham for four races from the home of the National Hunt and two races from Musselburgh. Ed is joined for expert analysis at Cheltenham by Mick FitzGerald and Luke Harvey, with reporting from Rishi Persad and Alice Plunkett, commentary from Richard Hoiles and Sally Ann Grassick reporting from Musselburgh.

New Year’s Day also marks the free-to-air premiere that evening of the latest Bond film, Spectre (8pm January 1st).

Films across the Christmas holiday period on ITV include seasonal treats The Holiday, Santa Claus The Movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Jack Frost, plus family favourites Despicable Me, and Despicable Me 2, the Harry Potter and Hobbit films, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Mr Bean’s Holiday and Babe.

X FACTOR 2017: VOTING STATS REVEALED 19

What a series! Rak-Su may have been crowned your 2017 X Factor winner, but have they always come out on top?

Check out this year’s voting stats below…

Week 1 Saturday
Grace Davies – 21.9%
Holly Tandy – 15.9%
Lloyd Macey – 15.0%
Alisah Bonaobra – 11.8%
Rai-Elle Williams – 11.5%
Leon Mallett – 9.3%
Sam Black – 8.5%
Spencer Sutherland – 6.1%

Week 1 Sunday
Rak-Su – 22.2%
The Cutkelvins – 17.3%
Matt Linnen – 11.9%
Kevin Davy White – 11.1%
Sean & Conor Price – 10.6%
Tracyleanne Jefford – 10.3%
Jack & Joel – 9.2%
Talia Dean – 7.4%

Prize Fight Week 1
Grace Davies – 53.5%
Rak-Su – 46.5%

Week 2 Saturday
Rak-Su – 32.3%
The Cutkelvins – 15.1%
Lloyd Macey – 14.4%
Sam Black – 12.5%
Sean & Conor Price – 10.6%
Jack & Joel – 8.6%
Leon Mallett – 6.5%

Week 2 Sunday
Kevin Davy White – 21.9%
Grace Davies – 18.5%
Holly Tandy – 15.4%
Rai-Elle Williams – 14.3%
Matt Linnen – 13.6%
Alisah Bonaobra – 9.5%
Tracyleanne Jefford – 6.8%

Prize Fight Week 2
Kevin Davy White – 53.6%
Rak-Su – 46.4%

Week 3 Saturday
Kevin Davy White – 25.8%
Rak-Su – 25.7%
Matt Linnen – 14.1%
The Cutkelvins – 13.5%
Sean & Conor Price – 11.2%
Jack & Joel – 9.7%

Week 3 Sunday
Lloyd Macey – 26.4%
Grace Davies – 20.1%
Holly Tandy – 19.7%
Rai-Elle Williams – 14.4%
Sam Black – 11.1%
Alisah Bonaobra – 8.3%

Prize Fight Week 3
Lloyd Macey – 64.3%
Kevin Davy White – 35.7%

Week 4 Saturday
Rak-Su – 36.7%
Lloyd Macey – 22.8%
The Cutkelvins – 18.9%
Sean & Conor Price – 15.4%
Sam Black – 6.2%

Week 4 Sunday
Grace Davies – 26.1%
Matt Linnen – 22.5%
Kevin Davy White – 21.4%
Holly Tandy – 16.1%
Rai-Elle Williams – 13.9%

Prize Fight Week 4
Rak-Su – 61.5%
Grace Davies – 38.5%

Week 5 Saturday
Rak-Su – 26.1%
Kevin Davy White – 19.5%
Lloyd Macey – 19.2%
Grace Davies – 17.2%
The Cutkelvins – 10.1%
Matt Linnen – 7.9%

Week 5 Sunday
Rak-Su – 27.3%
Grace Davies – 26.0%
Kevin Davy White – 18.9%
Lloyd Macey – 18.2%
The Cutkelvins – 9.6%

Week 6 Freeze
Rak-Su – 41.7%
Grace Davies – 35.4%
Kevin Davy White – 22.9%

Week 6 Final
Rak-Su – 51.7%
Grace Davies – 40.1%
Kevin Davy White – 8.2% (Left competition at freeze)