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Heartbeat axed by ITV

Heartbeat

Story by Jack Foley

SUNDAY night police drama Heartbeat has been axed after 18 years, ITV has announced.

The long-running show, set in North Yorkshire, will conclude after the culmination of its current season, the final nine episodes of which which are due to commence next month.

Announcing its decision, a spokesman for ITV said: “We are overhauling our schedule to reflect the changing demands of our audience [and] refreshing the mix of programming we commission and broadcast.”

The writing had been on the wall for the show since last January, when ITV announced that production had been suspended, sparking fears for its long-term viability.

At the time, however, the broadcaster claimed it had wanted to clear a stockpile of unbroadcast episodes before filming resumed.

For once, cost-cutting hasn’t been blamed… the decision to wield the axe being based on boss Peter Fincham’s continuing plans to overhaul the channel’s output.

“We will continue to maintain our significant investment in the genre, the biggest of any commercial broadcaster, but ITV1’s future focus will be on new and varied drama commissions,” continued the spokesman.

Heartbeat has been an important part of the television landscape over the last 18 years and we are incredibly proud of what it achieved in its heyday as one of ITV1’s top rated dramas.”

Set during the ’60s, Heartbeat is based on the books of Peter Walker, who wrote under the pen name Nicholas Rhea, and follows the adventures of police constable Joe Mason, played by Joe McFadden, in Aidensfield.

Its current incarnation attracts up to seven million viewers in its Sunday night slot.

In its heyday, however, that fugire was double… and the first few seasons featured Nick Berry in the role of PC Nick Rowan.