Call me sad but I have shed a little tear as the countdown begins to the final episode of one of TV's longest running 'soaps' / Sue Plunkett column

You can call me sad if you like, I probably am, but for the past couple of weeks I have been preparing to say a final farewell to some very dear friends..... or ‘Neighbours.’

For, after 37 years, one of TV' s longest running soap operas is coming to a end.

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For some the event will go unnoticed (some people have a life, you may say) but for others it really is the end of an era.

Sue Plunkett is not ashamed to admit she will miss the soap opera Neighbours when it finishes today

I love my 'soaps,' and Coronation Street has always been my favourite, even though I feel it has lost its way in recent times, but Neighbours, well Neighbours was always ‘just there’ I suppose, in the background of life.

Neighbours is a bit like the iconic 70s soap opera Crossroads that was a mainstay for me as a child thanks to my Aunt Alice who watched it religiously. And that meant I did too as she provided childcare for me as a youngster.

I was first introduced to Neighbours by an ex boyfriend 30 odd years ago who was an avid fan. He couldn't believe I had never seen the glorious soap set in sunny Australia.

So I gave it a go and became almost hooked. Back in the days of Kylie and Jason, who played teen sweethearts Scott and Charlene, the show was a massive ratings winner. Indeed when Scott and Charlene tied the knot the whole world appeared to stop what they were doing to watch it.

As a cub reporter I was sent to a residential home where staff and residents were dressed up in their Sunday best complete with hats and flowers to watch the wedding. Some of them actually cried, they felt real emotion for the 'happy couple.'

Neighbours was always the soap to watch after tea, flopping down on the sofa at the end of a hard day's graft. It was an easy watch, you didn't have to concentrate or invest too much in it. And it had a 'feelgood’ factor as the Ramsey Street residents all had a pool in their back garden to come home to and the sun was always shining.

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The cheesy, catchy theme tune with the lyrics 'Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours' has been modernised but the premise of the show has remained the same... stories of everyday life, love, work, heartbreak and happiness.

And I am going to miss that flipping show!

Over the years characters have come and gone but several have been in the show for decades, namely Dr Karl Kennedy and his wife Susan. And, of course Paul Robinson, a cut price J R Ewing!

The touching scene when one of the show most popular characters, Helen died in the show, were heart-breaking. And more so when the actress herself, Anne Haddy, died in real life not long after.

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It's sad that the show is ending because production company Fremantle failed to find a new UK partner and Ten declined to fund the production alone. Neighbours has a strong fan base, it might not be cool to admit you watch it but I bet if you mentioned some of the characters to a few random people they would know who they are.

I've loved seeing some of the old characters return as the show builds up to the finale and it has made me feel quite teary. I suppose because I am a sentimental old fool and this little show that I have very much taken for granted, a kind of comfort blanket, is being whipped away.

Maybe there is a channel that is airing the show right from the very beginning? Yes I am sad, but if there is all I can say is 'Welcome home Scott and Charlene.'