Neighbours Returning Proves That Nothing Can Stop Paul Robinson

Australian soap Neighbours cannot die. Do you think Kylie and Jason feel a bit silly now?

Neighbours Paul Robinson Stefan Dennis
Photo: Fremantle/Channel 5

Capitalist demon Paul Robinson rides again! Neighbours is returning. After bowing out to much fanfare in July following its Channel 5 cancellation, a new series of the Australian soap is due to air on Amazon Freevee in the latter half of 2023. Actor/Feel Good Maker Stefan Dennis will be back as Paul Robinson, joined by Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne as Karl and Susan Kennedy, and Ryan Moloney as Toadfish Rebecchi.

Is it good news? It is for the cast, obviously, who won’t have to rely solely on UK panto roles and Strictly Come Dancing to pay the bills. It’s also good news for fans of cancelled shows everywhere crossing their fingers for resurrection. (Come on, The OA, we just have to believe.)

For viewers though, it feels like… medium news, a bit like finding out the family pet you buried months earlier has come back to life. Obviously ‘hooray’ but also, Rover is still pretty old and smelly, he probably won’t live that much longer and you did spend all that time and money on the funeral and that memorial bench.

This isn’t the first time Neighbours has reneged on a goodbye. The run-up to the trumpeted finale saw almost every family on Ramsay Street choose to up sticks and move on. The cul-de-sac became a sea of For Sale signs and Susan Kennedy’s tears as the fateful day drew near when they’d all be high-tailing it out of Erinsborough. And then what should happen in the finale but everybody… changed their minds and stayed put. When Ramsay Street wasn’t levelled by yet another explosion at Lassiter’s, we should have known they’d all be back.

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That finale, and the weeks leading up to it, also included goodbye cameos from some of the huge names introduced on the show. Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce, Kylie and Jason all came back to pay their respects to the soap that launched their careers. Something says that goodwill cheque has been cashed now, and the new episodes won’t be quite as star-studded.

Here’s the official announcement video, which appears to exist in a bubble universe in which the characters are aware of their own fictionality. Susan Kennedy runs excitedly up to Karl and Toadie outside Harold’s Café with the news that they’re coming back on Amazon Freevee, before video calling Paul Robinson, who’s grown his hair and a beard, and has to check his diary before confirming that yes, he will be able to exist again next year:

The Freevee deal means the new series will stream there in the UK and the US, along with thousands of existing Neighbours episodes (hopefully including the very first, which opens on a very odd dream sequence). In Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the new and old episodes will be available to stream on Prime Video, while Australia Network 10 retains first-run rights for the new instalments.

Neighbours will return with new episodes on Amazon Freevee, Prime Video and Australia Network 10 in 2023.