Screenwriter Slams “Disastrous” Decision To Axe Long-Running BBC Medical Drama ‘Doctors’

The BBC’s decision to axe one of its longest running daytime shows has been called “disastrous” by one of its writers.

Medical soap opera Doctors will air its final episode in December after 24 years, with the BBC citing rising production costs and the need to invest in other programs for the cancellation.

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As the show completed its filming this week, screenwriter Philip Ralph expressed his frustration on X, formerly Twitter:

He wrote: “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.

“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.”

The BBC reports that Doctors has been dubbed the “actors’ training ground” by the industry, after giving roles to stars early in their careers. Big names to cut their teeth on the show, based in the UK’s Midlands, include Eddie Redmayne, Nicholas Hoult and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Ralph continued in his long thread on social media: “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 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.”

At the time of announcing its decision to axe the show, the BBC explained that “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.”

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