This year has been something of a rollercoaster for Neighbours fans – with the long-running Australian soap having aired a star-studded finale in July, only to be saved by Amazon Freevee last month.

And now former star Guy Pearce – one of many big names who made a high-profile return for the farewell episode – has poked fun at the fact the finale has essentially become moot, quipping that it was an "expensive exercise."

The comments were made during a tribute to the show at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (Aacta) awards, with the actor remarking: "It’s hard to watch, isn’t it? Knowing we’ll never see another episode ever again.

"A painful reminder the things we love can be snatched away, never to return … unless Amazon comes in to save the day and makes our finale look like a rather expensive exercise.”

He went on to joke that another big name who got her start on the show, Margot Robbie, would be asking for the champagne she'd sent to the producers to be returned.

He said: "I don’t want to say [it was a] waste of time. But still, I’m sure that Margot will be happy."

Filming on the revitalised series will resume in Australia next year, with Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson), Alan Fletcher (Karl Kennedy), Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy) and Ryan Moloney (Toadie Rebecchi) among those already confirmed to be reprising their roles.

Mike and Jane in Neighbours
Mike declared his love to Jane in the Neighbours finale (Channel 5/Fremantle) Channel 5/Fremantle

When the news of the return was announced, Amazon Studios' head of AVoD original content and programming Lauren Anderson, said: "Neighbours has captivated its audience for nearly 40 years, building a dedicated and loyal following for the lives and stories of the characters on Ramsay Street.

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"With the power of streaming, we’re able to offer a catalogue of thousands of Neighbours episodes for new audiences to discover this legendary series and current fans to relive their favourite moments. We look forward to immersing the audience in new Ramsay Street experiences when we relaunch the show next year for Amazon Freevee and Prime Video customers."

And more recently, Amazon Freevee denied claims that plans were already in place to save the show prior to the finale, with Shahina O’Mahoney – the head of licensed content for the UK – explaining to Variety that: "At that point that the show ended, we did not know that we could save it.

"In an ideal world, maybe you do announce something like that before it ends, but that wasn’t an option for us.”

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