Neighbours legend Jackie Woodburne has admitted she was "overwhelmed" after finding out she had been crowned's Soap Champion.


The Susan Kennedy star beat off competition from 27 other soap favourites to be named winner of the fan-voted tournament – with an incredible 225,000 votes having been cast in the grand final alone.

And speaking exclusively to about her win, Woodburne admitted the news had taken her by surprise.

"I couldn't believe it, I wasn't aware that there was a competition happening!" she said.

She added that she had been so busy with the recent Neighbours Celebration Tour that she'd had no idea about the contest, but said that had made her victory all the more exciting when she found out.

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"I was a little bit overwhelmed actually," she said. "Because the response to the show has been incredible, just incredible. The response from the fans and all the people that have come to see the show, it's just been extraordinary. And then this on top of that was just that extra bonus, the cherry on the cake – it was just beautiful!"

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Woodburne continued that the award, coupled with her experiences on the UK tour, had given her a newfound appreciation for the fans – saying that it had been a "profound experience" to come face-to-face with lots of committed Neighbours viewers.

"They've shared their stories with us, told us what it means to them that the show is coming back, and how happy they are about that, and just the gap in their lives that will be filled with the show returning," she explained.

"We've all been very moved by that – when we're on the other side of the world, we're making this very fast-paced television show, you don't really get a sense of intimate importance that it has to people.

"So it's actually been very humbling to share people's stories and hear them tell you what that little half hour a day of escapism and blue skies and good stories, what that means to them."

Jackie Woodburne as Susan Kennedy in Neighbours
Jackie Woodburne as Susan Kennedy in Neighbours.. Fremantle

Reflecting on winning the award, she added that she was "just so thrilled" and called it a "lovely, lovely, lovely gift to be given".

"It means so much to me, it really does," Woodburne concluded. "Because I don't do a lot of publicity, I don't do any social media, so I don't really follow all of this that's going on. So when something like this happens, I feel so humbled by it because I feel like I haven't earned it!"

The Susan Kennedy star comfortably beat EastEnders favourite Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) in the final – scoring 68 per cent of the total votes to emerge victorious.

Meanwhile, fellow Neighbours characters Mike Young (Guy Pearce) and Toadie Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney) also made it all the way to the semi-finals in the tournament.

It was recently revealed that Neighbours would return to filming in April, with a premiere for the brand new episodes currently expected in the autumn.

Neighbours is available to stream on Amazon Freevee. Check out more of our Soaps coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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