Fate of several BBC dramas undecided

Garrow's LawThe BBC has yet to decide the future of dramas such as Young James Herriot and Garrow’s Law.

Yesterday the BBC’s controller of drama, Ben Stephenson, announced a raft of new drama commissions for BBC One as well as revealing Luther and Death in Paradise had both been commissioned. However, he also admitted that no decision had yet been taken over the futures of other BBC dramas.

BBC Scotland‘s Young James Herriot aired over three consecutive nights just before Christmas and was a prequel, of sorts, to the fondly remembered All Creatures Great and Small. The drama featured on the college years of vet James Herriot with Iain de Caestecker in the title role. The drama though was not a huge ratings winner with less than 5 million viewers, on average, watching each episode. It’s disappointing performance is perhaps why the BBC – which probably had high hopes for the drama – has yet to order a second series.

Sunday evening legal drama Garrow’s Law has never been a huge ratings winner for BBC One but it has built up a loyal fan base over the course of its three seasons so far. It’s short seasons, just a handful of episodes per series, isn’t down to the producers – they want the BBC to order more episodes but the corporation is reluctant too probably because of the costs involved in producing a historical drama.

Waking the Dead spin-off The Body Farm is another series whose fate has yet to be decided. The spin-off revolved around Tara Fitzgerald’s character of Eve Lockhart who has established her own experimental Tara Fitzgeraldforensics lab and established her own team of experts around her. Keith Allen played a police detective who turned to Eve and her team for help in investigating various murders. The Body Farm never pulled in the same kind of ratings enjoyed by Waking the Dead but then it aired on a different night and was not broken down into two-part stories like its predecessor. The Body Farm did have pretty much steady ratings over the course of its series though.

However, with the BBC cutting back its budgets in light of the licence fee freeze and yesterday’s announcement of a whole host of new drama commissions its possible the BBC doesn’t have the resources to renew any of the dramas. {jcomments off}