Sponsorship deal for Yorkshire Drama’s.
Tourism board Welcome to Yorkshire will sponsor the forthcoming seasons of Heartbeat and The Royal even though both Yorkshire based dramas have been effectively cancelled by ITV.
Tourism board Welcome to Yorkshire will be the sponsors of the forthcoming seasons of Heartbeat and The Royal, both of which are set and produced in Yorkshire. Both dramas are set in the 1960s with Heartbeat being police orientated and The Royal its medical-drama spin-off. Once upon a time both shows enjoyed huge loyal audiences and were a ratings puller for ITV1 but over the past year both dramas have suffered from big drops in audience. The decline in ratings, The Royal lost half of its audience, resulted in ITV deciding to suspend production on both shows following the completion of production on pre-ordered episodes – effectively cancelling both programmes. No new episodes of either show are expected to be produced until at least 2011, if at all. ITV has enough episodes already in the can to last until then.
The decision to suspend production on both dramas’s met with outcry in Yorkshire and soon after it was announced that one half of ITV’s Leeds studios would be closed to further cut costs for the struggling broadcaster. There was worry in Yorkshire that the cancellation of both shows would hit tourism in the county but now tourist board Welcome to Yorkshire is stepping in by sponsoring both shows when they return.
Heartbeat will return on April 19th with a special episode set in Australia. They’ll be nine episodes in the new series of Heartbeat and once that finishes a six part series of The Royal will follow. If the episodes recover the lost audiences ITV will give serious consideration to reviving the series when their stockpile runs out. However, if they continue to lose audiences or if they don’t increase audience levels on previous episodes then ITV will have confirmation they were right to suspend production.