CHANNEL 5 ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN NEIGHBOURS EPISODES AS NEW DEAL SIGNED 21

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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CHILDREN IN NEED 2017: PRESENTING LINE-UP REVEALED 5

Coming live from the BBC’s Elstree studios on Friday 17 November, the night will feature a spectacular star-studded line-up as they join together to help raise money for disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

Hosting BBC Children in Need for the first time, Mel Giedroyc says: “Tess. Ade. Graham. Rochelle. Marvin. The Power Rangers of the presenting world. I feel honoured to be joining their ranks and bagsy wear the blue all-in-one body-stocking-slash-helmet combo.”

Presenting the show for a second time, Graham Norton says of the charity: “BBC Children in Need helps so many children and young people up and down the country. Presenting the show is a lovely thing to be a part of; it’s a celebration of the best of people.”

Long-term supporter of BBC Children in Need, Tess Daly says of the Appeal: “I love presenting the live show, I love the adrenaline rush of it. The Great British public dig deep for BBC Children in Need as it’s a charity close to people’s hearts, raising vital money for children in the UK.”

Returning again in 2017, Ade Adepitan says of the show: “I am very excited and extremely proud to be presenting BBC Children in Need again with Tess, Graham, Marvin and Rochelle. The charity has been an incredible force for good in the UK, helping some of the most vulnerable people when they most need it. To be asked to play a part in helping these people is a real honour. I’m looking forward to a fabulous evening of tears, entertainment and most of all laughter. Get your popcorn and your tissues ready – it’s going be an incredible night!”

Rochelle Humes says of the charity: “BBC Children in Need has played such a big part in everyone’s life, including my own, ever since I was at school. It holds such a close connection with those around us and year on year we see the incredible impact it makes to those children who are in need, which is why so many want to get on board and help this wonderful cause. On the night itself, we have some amazing things for everyone at home to enjoy, so don’t forget to tune in and do all you can to make a difference!”

Also returning in 2017 is Marvin Humes, who says: “It’s so nice to be back again hosting. Last year was the first time Rochelle and I were part of the show together. We absolutely loved it. BBC Children in Need is such a great British institution. It’s incredible and a dream come true to be supporting once again.”

Further exciting news regarding the performances, sketches and content which viewers can enjoy on the night will be shared in due course. The BBC Children in Need Appeal Show is a BBC Studios production, executive produced by Clare Pizey and Leanne Witcoop.

X FACTOR UK: SAM BLACK RETURNS TO REPLACE ANTHONY RUSSELL AT JUDGES HOUSES 8

Sam Black is set to make his return to The X Factor, joining Louis Walsh‘s Boys at Judges’ Houses!

Following Anthony Russell‘s exit from the competition due to personal reasons, Louis has decided that Sam is the man to replace him, despite leaving the show at Boot Camp.

Louis explained: “Anthony has been fantastic across the series, a great singer and performer who we are really sad to see go. I had to think for a long time who could take the place.

“Sam had a great reaction from the British public when his Audition aired. So I re-watched it and realised we missed a trick not putting him through atBoot Camp. He has that retro 60s style viewers will love. He’s really likeable and talented and I can’t wait to hear more.”

Sam – who caused a stir at Boot Camp by proposing to his girlfriend on stage – added: “Obviously, I feel terrible for Anthony because he is not only an amazing singer but also a lovely guy.

“He has even messaged me good luck. I really appreciate the second chance I’ve been given and I feel so lucky to get this opportunity. My family and I are over the moon.”

You can catch Sam in action when The X Factor hits Judges’ Houses on Saturday 21st October, 8.20pm and Sunday 22nd October, 7pm on ITV.