Actor Alan Fletcher has responded to allegations that Australian soap Neighbours might be axed from U.K. television.
The 59-year-old star has played Dr Karl Kennedy in the much-loved series since 1994, and remains one of the most popular cast members on the show.
Britain's Sunday People newspaper reported over the weekend that the relationship between Channel 5, which airs Neighbours in the U.K., and Fremantle Media, who make the show, had soured due to rows over contracts - leading to speculation it might be taken off the small screen after 31 years of being broadcast in England.
However, speaking on Nova 96.9’s Fitzy And Wippa radio show, Alan attempted to reassure fans of the show as he explained: "In 22 years of being on Neighbours it’s not the first time a tabloid newspaper has suggested that (the show) is in its death throes. All I can say is our relationship with our broadcasters at Channel 5 and (Australian network) Channel ELEVEN couldn’t be better and couldn’t be stronger."
He continued to insist that the storylines the show has focused on in recent months has made the programme even more popular with viewers in both Australia and the U.K.
"And the stories we’re doing at the moment – particularly right now with Toadie over in London chasing Dee Bliss – that storyline has been probably one of the most successful we’ve ever had in terms of audience numbers and interest,” he added.
The Sunday People claimed the negotiations over the show are "in jeopardy", with a source telling the publication: "The renegotiation of the Neighbours Channel 5 deal has become very fraught and is in jeopardy. Channel 5 really want to keep the show.
"But the failure to reach a deal is being blamed on Channel 5's new American owners Viacom refusing to sign off on the figures and not understanding the cultural importance of the show in the UK."