Fans of Neighbours have begun an online petition to keep the soap on the BBC.

Over 4,000 people have already signed the petition calling on distributor Fremantle to "accept the BBC's offer to continue showing Neighbours," and warns the show will get less viewers on another channel.

Both ITV and Five are both believed to have made bids for the show. The BBC is currently thought to pay £25,000 an episode, but is understood to have offered to increase this to £70,000. ITV has reportedly offered up to £100,000 per episode.

Insiders at the BBC, which has shown the programme for 22 years, say the broadcaster is making plans to fill the two daytime slots which would be vacant from losing the soap. New acquisitions and original programming would be used in the 1.40pm and 5.35pm slots.

A decision on the Neighbours contract is expected imminently.

Source: Joanne Oatts, Media Correspondent,