Filming will complete in a week, and there will be a big closing party – but there’s a squabble behind the scenes.
Will 10 screen the Neighbours finale on its primary channel instead of 10 Peach?
That was a question I posed to 10 honchos this week.
After all, we’re ending up 37 years of history here, and a season finale featuring Kylie and Jason returning to Ramsay Street would be a huge draw for both new and old viewers when it premieres on August 1st.
“We would love to see a chunk of it get to the greatest, broadest audience,” 10 said when asked about their ambitions. We’re not entirely sure what we can do yet, but we’re certainly considering all of our possibilities.”
The final day of filming is less than a week away, on Friday, June 10, but TV Tonight has learned that a big wrap party is planned in a few weeks.
Personally, I’d like to see a primetime special commemorating the show’s legacy, similar to the one given by 10 for Young Talent Time’s 50th anniversary. A short glance at the Hey Hey specials reveals that nostalgia has a sizable following.
The special should air on 10 on the night of the conclusion, then cut to a pared down Project with the panel and guests commenting to the show’s final episode.
“Sounds like a great plan,” 10 said to that suggestion.
Meanwhile, the Guardian Australia reported on a conflict in which Fremantle Australia is refusing to fire cast directors, costume designers, directors, location managers, makeup artists, researchers, screenwriters, set designers, and producers.
According to union sources, Fremantle maintains that the workers are contractors, not employees, and hence are not entitled to the same benefits as regular employees, despite the fact that their contracts have been carried over year after year.
“Fremantle is trying to avoid payment to crew who have been loyal to the production, in some cases for decades, under the cover of rolling ‘fixed-term’ contracts,” the union told members in a bulletin after the show was axed.
“The company has responded by extending a deadline it had put to crew to accept lower payments to allow time for negotiation. Members will continue to work together over the coming weeks to ensure they are paid their entitlements.”
The majority of the staff, according to TV Tonight, were on yearlong contracts that lasted roughly 40 weeks.
“They were first offered a four-week’special leave termination’ if they’d been there more than 12 months on top of long-service leave and their annual leave paid out,” Paul Stanley, an organiser with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union, told the Guardian.
“We had a meeting with Fremantle and we got it up to eight weeks for some people, which helps. Employees of nine years are entitled to 16 weeks’ redundancy, but they’re offering them eight.”
While some staff have accepted the deal, others have held out, saying “it’s not fair, it’s not right”, Stanley said. “They want to see that film crews in the industry get treated better.”
Meanwhile, Guy Pearce has stated that he will return for the finale, according to UK Metro.
Guy Pearce, said: “It is very exciting and surreal at the same time being back on set again, however it feels like coming home.
“It’s where it all started for me professionally. I’ve been asked to come back on occasions over the years and wondered if it was the right thing to do, but once I knew the show was finishing, I knew I had to do it.
“While I’ve caught up with many of the cast I worked with on the show over the years, there is nothing like being here all together again.”
Jason Herbison, Neighbours’ Executive Producer, said: “I’m incredibly honoured that Guy is returning to the show for a very special story arc.
“Having him back on set has been poignant for him and for us. He’s been very involved in the storyline, and I can’t wait to finally answer the question for viewers – who is Mike Young today?”
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