‘BBC soap Doctors’ axe is sad when workers are struggling’ say top TV bosses

Top TV bosses are worried that the cancellation of daytime soap Doctors after 23 years could mean a "vital stepping stone" for newcomers in the industry is lost.

The BBC announced on Wednesday, 18 October, that the long-standing series, which revolves around the doctors and staff at a busy Midlands GP practice, will conclude.

Andy Harrower, the chief executive of industry body Directors UK, expressed his sadness, especially when directors and production teams are finding it hard to get work.

He said: "At a time when directors and production teams are struggling for work, it's especially sad to see this long-running drama come to an end. For many of our members, Doctors has been a launchpad for their careers."

He mentioned Jordan Hogg, whose handheld camera-style episode of Casualty won the show a BAFTA, and S J Clarkson, who has worked on dramas like Succession and Collateral, as examples of those who had "honed their craft" on Doctors.

He also talked about a training scheme for new directors that his organisation ran with the BBC and added: "Continuing drama is undoubtedly a training ground for directors. With this cancellation, coupled with that of Holby City, a smaller episode order of Casualty, and the move of Hollyoaks from linear to digital-only, we're extremely concerned that this vital stepping stone is being lost completely."

"We want to understand the BBC's plans as to how they will provide the career pathways that are being lost. How will the BBC ensure other recent daytime commissions bridge the gap to ensure continuing drama remains a rung in the ladder in the career of a director?"

Channel 4 had previously announced that Hollyoaks, popular among younger viewers, would adopt a streaming-first approach. This included revealing in September that episodes would be available to watch on channel4.com a day before airing on E4.

The last episode of Doctors will air in December 2024, and the BBC has promised to give the show "the finale it deserves".

The broadcaster explained that the show had become too costly to produce, requiring either investment for set refurbishment or relocation.

The BBC released a statement saying: "We have taken the very difficult decision to bring daytime drama Doctors to an end after 23 years.

"With super-inflation in drama production, the cost of the programme has increased significantly, and further investment is also now required to refurbish the site where the show is made, or to relocate it to another home.

"With a flat licence fee, the BBC's funding challenges mean we have to make tough choices in order to deliver greater value to audiences. We remain fully committed to the West Midlands and all of the funding for Doctors will be reinvested into new programming in the region. We would like to thank all the Doctors cast and crew who have been involved in the show since 2000.

"We know the crucial role Doctors has played in nurturing talent, and we will work to develop new opportunities to support skills in scripted programming."

"The final episode will screen in December 2024 and we are working closely with BBC Studios to give it the finale it deserves."

Doctors was filmed at Birmingham's Pebble Mill Studios until 2004, before relocating to BBC Drama Village, also in Birmingham.

The show has featured a raft of famous guest stars over the years, including Emilia Clarke, Alison Hammond, Ruthie Henshall, Joe Pasquale, Eddie Redmayne and Sheridan Smith.

It has been nominated for five BASTAs in its history, as well as a raft of British Soap Awards.

At the 2023 British Soap Awards, it was up for best British soap and eight other awards. The show bagged the prize for best on-screen partnership, thanks to Jan Pearson and Chris Walker, who play Karen Hollins and Rob Hollins respectively.

* This article was crafted with the help of an AI engine, which speeds up OK!'s editorial research and applies it to article templates created by journalists in our newsrooms. An OK! editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected]

    Source: Read Full Article