Axing Doctors is a ‘disastrous decision’ says screenwriter

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A screenwriter has slammed what he called the “disastrous” decision to cut much-loved BBC series Doctors.

After running for 24 years, production of the daytime medical drama is to end as it had been affected by “super inflation in drama production”, causing costs to rise significantly, the BBC said.

The final episode of the show, produced in Birmingham, will be aired in December.

Posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, Philip Ralph said stopping the show was a “disastrous decision”.

He posted: “Today is the last day of filming Doctors. A show that has run for 24 years, employed thousands of people, produced more than 4,500 episodes, will call ‘cut’ for the final time.

“As a writer on the show for the past 19 years I’m personally impacted along with hundreds by the disastrous decision to axe it.”

The soap follows the lives of staff and patients at a Midlands GP practice in the fictional town of Letherbridge.

It has been dubbed the “actor’s training ground” by TV critics and has featured household names such as Eddie Redmayne, Sheridan Smith, Nicholas Hoult, Rustie Lee and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Mr Ralph continued: “There is no other show in the UK industry that offers such variety of storytelling – everything from high drama and tragedy, to farce, dream sequences, stand-alone single plays, themed weeks on important subjects, you name it, we wrote it.”

In the 36-part thread on X Mr Ralph went on to explain the struggles those in creative industries are experiencing.

He wrote: “The TV industry is contracting. Production across the board is way down. BECTU recently surveyed its members and found 68% of them are currently out of work.

“Doctors was a much-needed ‘finger in the dam’ of this terrible situation. And now it’s gone with nothing to replace it.”

The award-winning screenwriter and former actor added: “The loss of Doctors is clearly disastrous for those who worked on the show. It is obviously disastrous for the industry. And, I would argue, it is also disastrous for the tone of public discourse.”

The BBC said the Drama Village, where the show is currently made, would have needed further investment to continue operating, with the only alternative being to switch production to another site.

It had been a difficult decision, but “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”, the corporation said.

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