December 18, 2008

‘Summer Wine’ to end after 35 years

The 35-year-old British television comedy Last of the Summer Wine will not be renewed for another season, its longtime producer said.

Alan Bell, who has been a Wine producer for 27 years, told The Daily Telegraph the BBC decided not to order another season of the series after episodes shot earlier this year air starting next fall. A previously planned holiday special is also expected to run Dec. 31, 2009.

The BBC told the newspaper the show's future is still up in the air.

We accept there are no promises made, but the new shows we have just completed have been the best ever, Bell told the Telegraph. "Millions still enjoy the series and the actors love being involved. Russ Abbott has just joined us and would have become the main character.

When I broke the news to him he said, 'I'm gutted.' It has been a massive part of my life for 27 years, as it has for many, many TV viewers."

During the life of the show, which the newspaper described as the world's longest-running TV comedy, Burt Kwouk, Brian Murphy, Norman Wisdom, Eric Sykes, Bill Owen, Thora Hird, Brian Wilde, Peter Sallis, Jean Alexander and Frank Thornton have all had roles.

Kathy Staff, who had played Nora Batty since the show's pilot in 1972, died last weekend, the Telegraph said.