BBC axes Italian detective drama Zen

Programme will make way for "exciting projects in development"

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The BBC has announced it will not be recommissioning detective series Zen. The three-part drama, starring Rufus Sewell as suave Italian policeman Aurelio Zen, aired on BBC1 in January.

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Adapted from Michael Dibdin’s novels, Zen was well received by both critics and fans of the books – not to mention RadioTimes.com users – and garnered an aggregated average of 5.7 million viewers per episode.

So why was it canned? Were Zen’s sharp suits and glamorous locations too expensive or was the show simply too middle-class for new BBC1 controller Danny Cohen, who has vowed to make more “blue collar” series?

Cohen told RadioTimes.com “BBC Drama has a lot of very exciting projects in development and going forward we’ve taken the decision to look at some of these new titles rather than commission a second series of Zen.”

Whatever the reason, it’s clear the decision has left a significant number of licence fee payers less than happy.

Yet there’s still hope for Zen fans. Production company Left Bank, who make the show, say they are in discussion with other UK broadcasters about bringing it back, so watch this space for further news…

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