Friday, 9 October 2009


[15.30/Revised 21.30 - French Time] Life is Hell. Just when you begin to see clouds in shape of Care Bears in the blue sky, unicorns running in the fields (hello, Duncan!) and signs of recovery for ITV, Primeval is brought back from oblivion and Kingdom is axed.

According to Broadcast, ITV cancels Norfolk based Stephen Fry vehicle (launched in 2007) after three series. The news was revealed by Fry himself on his blog and twitter feed this morning ( « Our masters at ITV have decided that there shan’t be a fourth series of the television drama Kingdom. I am sorry because it was such a pleasure making them in my beloved Norfolk » writes Stephen Fry (1).

Peter Kingdom is a solicitor in the pittoresque small town of Market Shipborough. He must endure the creative lunacy of his sister Beatrice (Hermione Norris, a galaxy away from Spooks), the disappearance of Simon - his brother and partner in Kingdom & Kingdom, the family problems of his secretary (Celia Imrie), the bad luck of his trainee solicitor, and the eccentricity of the locals. Peter's aunt, Auriel - played by Phyllida Law, is his confidante.

Kingdom is often compared with reason to Doc Martin, the other rural comedy drama of ITV1. To write that the character of Peter Kingdom is modeled on Stephen Fry would be an euphemism to the point that some critics even consider that Fry is playing himself in the show. But it's probably true and it's what makes Kingdom so lovable, with also its great supporting cast and beautiful locations (

The third series of Kingdom (a show distributed by Portman) ended its run on ITV1 in July with a strong audience of 4.84m ( An ITV spokesman said: « Kingdom has performed well for us over the last three years but we will not be developing any further episodes. As has always been the case, we are constantly looking at ways to refresh the mix of drama on ITV1 to ensure that we get the balance right between both old and new titles » (

The reactions to the announcements range from astonishment to consternation. Following the unexpected resurrection of Primeval (axed after an abysmal third series) with an innovative funding deal where BBC Worldwide has the lion's share, Peter Fincham, the ITV director of television, said « I don’t think all drama will be funded this way, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of it. It’s a reality of a world in which it’s challenging for broadcasters to fully fund drama » (

Has Fincham Kingdom in mind? Who's next? The Fixer? Series 2 of the best British series of the moment ended its six-part run with 2.8m viewers ( But the fact that Scottish viewers cannot watch ITV dramas because of a dispute between STV and ITV certainly didn't help the ratings of this great show.

Will Kingdom get the Primeval treatment? Will ITV revamp the show as Dinosaurs do the funniest things - Market Shipborough Edition, with another Stephen... Stephen Mulhern. Thank God, Harry Hill's TV Burp comes back tomorrow (

Just kidding.


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