Good news: Inspector George Gently is making a comeback. Bad news: this will be the last time we see him.

After ten years and 23 episodes, filming for the eighth (and final) series of the BBC1 period police drama begins this week, with Martin Shaw as the DCI, Lee Ingleby as his sidekick Inspector Bacchus, and Lisa McGrillis playing Detective Sergeant Rachel Coles.

On returning to the part of Inspector Gently for the last time, Shaw said: "It's wonderful to be coming back to the show. We're a very happy and close company, and working with such friends is a joy.

"I'm excited at being able to bring the series to a proper finale, a farewell that befits such a popular series."

Series eight will consist of two feature-length episodes set in the North East, titled Gently Liberated and Gently and the New Age. 

Ingleby previously told RadioTimes.com that he hoped to take the series into the 70s, so he's in luck: the final two films are set in the year 1970, "when there is great change in the air." 

In the first of the two episodes, Gently and Bacchus become involved in an investigation that may be a miscarriage of justice. Guest stars will include Maigret's Dead Man star Anamaria Marinca and Call the Midwife's Victoria Bewick.

Gently's final outing will see the DCI giving evidence at the Old Bailey against his old enemies, the corrupt police officers in the Met. Before the end of his career as a detective, he is then asked to take on one last job by the head of a new Special Investigations Squad.

Guest starring alongside our old favourites will be Poldark's Richard Harrington, Before I Go To Sleep's Adam Levy and Trainspotting 2's Steven Robertson. 

Company Pictures CEO Michele Buck commented: "We felt the character was coming to natural end, and wanted to bring the audience an ambitious and exciting conclusion to such a well-loved show.”

The series was created by Peter Flannery and was loosely based on Alan Hunter's Gently novels, before heading off in a new direction.

Executive producer Flannery added: "It''s been a privilege along the way to work with talented and committed teams and I hope that many of them will look back on George Gently – as I will – with pride and pleasure."