Sarah Parish: “I would return to Monroe in a heartbeat”

The Atlantis and W1A actress says she's tempted to ask Amazon to recommission the axed ITV drama co-starring James Nesbitt

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In medical drama Monroe, ITV appeared to have a winning formula. Take Peter Bowker – the writer of Blackpool and, most recently, BBC2’s Marvellous – and add James Nesbitt and Sarah Parish and viewing figures were a certain bet, right? Wrong. 

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Despite support from critics and decent ratings for series one, competition from BBC1’s ratings juggernaut New Tricks sealed the fate of the neurosurgery series, with the broadcaster announcing its cancellation in November 2012. 

Two years on, Parish has a few ideas about what went wrong…

“I know why it was axed,” she tells RadioTimes.com. “Not enough people watched it but there are reasons why. The publicity wasn’t big enough – you need to really push shows like that. I think it probably might have been on the wrong channel at the wrong time.

“There are many reasons but you don’t really cancel a Pete Bowker show. It’s an odd thing to do when you’ve got one of England’s best writers offering you amazing scripts. We were all very disappointed and upset by the choice but what can you do?”

Not much back in 2012 but times are a-changing in TV land. With Amazon’s recommission of Ripper Street earlier this year following its cancellation by BBC1, there’s hope for ardent fans and showrunners. 

“I would come back to that show in a heartbeat; I thought it was brilliant,” says Parish. “I’m in half a mind to write to Amazon and see if they’d recommission it – just because I thought Jimmy Nesbitt’s performance was quite outstanding and the writing and characters and stories were brilliant.”

The 46 year-old actress has been busying herself with W1A – John Morton’s follow-up to Twenty Twelve – and a seven-month shoot for Atlantis series two, which begins this Saturday on BBC1

But first, you can catch Sarah picking her favourite tunes as part of Vintage TV’s My Mixtape. “One of them was Kajagoogoo’s Too Shy – it’s not a great song particularly but I have a very fond story behind it. There’s some Joni Mitchell and John Martyn thrown in there as well.”

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Sarah’s My Mixtape will air on Wednesday 12th November at 2pm on Vintage TV (available on Sky 369, Freeview 242, Virgin 343 and Freesat 515) and will be repeated at 2pm on Monday 17th November.