Bradley Walsh has announced he is to leave Law & Order: UK – a decision that has prompted ITV to put the series on an indefinite hiatus.
The final episode of series eight will air this next Wednesday (9pm, ITV) and will mark the last time the crime drama will air on screens for the foreseeable future, after the broadcaster announced plans to give the series a break.
“There may well come a time when we re-visit Law & Order: UK,” said Steve November, ITV’s director of drama commissioning. “For the moment we’ll be resting the series whilst we continue to refresh our drama slate.”
Walsh – who has portrayed Detective Ronnie Brooks since 2009 – will play no further part in the series, attributing his decision to a desire to pursue other projects.
“Ronnie Brooks is one of my best friends,” he said in a statement. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to inhabit Ronnie’s Mac for as long as I have. Eight series is a wonderful achievement for everyone involved in the production.
“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I hope one day to revisit him, but for now I’d like the opportunity to pursue other drama projects which ITV are developing.”
He added, “I’d really love fans of the series, old and new, to watch the final episode to give the series a fitting and proper send off.”
Based on the American Law & Order franchise created by showrunner Dick Wolf, Law & Order: UK has become a firm favourite on ITV since it began airing in 2009. Regularly pulling in over 3 million viewers, the series has featured the likes of Freema Agyeman, Ben Daniels and Paul Nicholls and currently stars Peter Davison, Ben Bailey Smith, Georgia Taylor and Dominic Rowan.