Jason Donovan has said the axing of Australian soap Neighbours is sad but it is now time to celebrate the show.

Neighbours first aired in 1985 and follows the lives of those living and working in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough.

Donovan, 53, played the role of Scott Robinson in the soap from 1986 to 1989.

Neighbours stars Kylie Minogue who played Charlene and Jason Donovan who played Scott

The series, which centres on the cul-de-sac community of Ramsay Street, will cease production in June after failing to secure new funding since being dropped by its broadcaster earlier this year.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Donovan said: "I think it's sad… but I think it’s time to celebrate Neighbours.

"It has kept my family employed for a long time, to be honest.

"My daughter is currently in it, my dad was in it, I think we should be grateful for what it's given Australia, it’s given actors, producers, writers, directors."

Jason Donovan pictured with daughter who is in Neighbours

Donovan’s character Scott was the on-screen lover of Charlene Mitchell, played by Australian actress and singer Kylie Minogue.

Scott and Charlene were Ramsay Street’s power couple and favourites with the soap’s viewers.

Their wedding was watched by more than two million Australian viewers when it first aired, and later pulled in an audience of almost 20 million when it was shown in the UK in 1988.

The ceremony became one of the most-watched TV moments of the decade.

Donovan added: "My father in the 70s fought incredibly hard for Australian content in television because the governments at the time wanted to bring cheaper exports in and it’s as a result of that that we have productions like Neighbours, Priscilla, Muriel’s Wedding, we have Moulin Rouge, an identity through the arts."

After it was announced that Neighbours will cease production, Minogue, 53, said she will be "forever grateful" for her time on the show.

Paying tribute to the soap on Twitter, she added: "We had no idea how big the show would become and how passionately viewers would take it to heart.

"Pure love! I can still hear Madge calling… CHARLENE!!!!"

The show also launched the careers of Hollywood stars such as Margot Robbie and Liam Hemsworth.

Source: Press Association