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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 April 2007, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
BBC threatens to drop Neighbours
Neighbours logo
Neighbours has been shown on the BBC since 1986
Long-running Australian soap Neighbours could be dropped by the BBC following protracted negotiations over broadcasting rights.

The BBC said that if agreement was not reached in the "very, very near future" the money would be allocated elsewhere.

It has refused to reveal how much it is offering for the drama, which has been screened twice a day since 1986.

ITV and Five have been connected with bids for the show. Its distributor, Fremantle Media, declined to comment.

No programme is indispensable
BBC spokesman
The BBC's director of acquisitions, George McGhee, told Broadcast magazine: "If a deal is not reached in the very, very near future, we will withdraw the money and move it elsewhere.

"We've made a good offer which is about to be withdrawn."

A BBC spokesman added: "We hope that Neighbours will remain on the BBC but no programme is indispensable and it has to come at the right price."

A spokesman for Fremantle said negotiations over a new contract were ongoing.

Neighbours is the second most popular programme on terrestrial daytime television after the BBC One lunchtime news.

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