BBC axes iconic soap as it blames 'funding challenge' of 'flat licence-fee' for drastic decision

BBC axes iconic soap as it blames 'funding challenge' of 'flat licence-fee' for drastic decision

WATCH NOW: Doctors bags award at the British Soap Awards 2023

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 18/10/2023

- 14:14

Updated: 18/10/2023

- 15:28

Daytime soap Doctors is coming to an end after 23 years on air

The BBC has announced that daytime soap Doctors is to come to an end next year, over two decades on from its 2000 premiere.

The drama, which has been nominated for four BAFTA TV Awards and bagged numerous British Soap Awards, airs on the channel on weekdays at 1:45pm.

The BBC has released a statement explaining the decision, blaming "funding challenges" and "super inflation in drama production" as reasons behind it.

Its official statement reads: "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."

The statement continued: "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," the BBC signed off.

Inevitably, it didn't take long for upset fans to share their thoughts on the news, with one writing on X, formerly known as Twitter: "This is very sad news @BBCDoctors has been brilliant for local talent & I very much enjoyed filming with the team back in the early 2000’s. Sending best wishes to all the crew & present cast members #BBCDoctors."

A second added: "That is a shame, maybe bring back some of the cast from the past as a nod to the history of the show, hopefully Dr clay will be the last man standing."

Elsewhere, another weighed in: "How do people break into the industry now? I say this as someone who hasn’t written for the show but it was the closest thing to a path into screenwriting that the UK has."

And a fourth echoed: "Sad Times - Doctors was and currently still is a very watchable programme dealing with a number of issues that affect people in daily life."

Richard Armitage

Richard Armitage is just one famous face who starred in Doctors as a young actor


While a fifth commented: "Such sad new guys. So sorry to hear this for all the cast and crew. I learned so much directing this show. Love to you all x." (sic)

The show has become famous for giving a number of household names their first steps into the world of on-screen acting.

Among the star-studded cameos Doctors has witnessed are the likes of Eddie Redmayne, Sheridan Smith, Lisa Riley and Richard Armitage - who himself recently addressed the rumours he could be taking on the role of the next James Bond.

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