Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan comedy Count Arthur Strong will not be getting another TV series on the BBC, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
Beloved by its many admirers as it has been, the comedy which follows the fortunes of Delaney’ eccentric elderly actor is believed not to have got a sufficiently high audience in its new 8.30pm slot and the curtain is coming down after three series.
“There are no current plans for a further series of Count Arthur Strong on the BBC,” a spokesperson said.
A source added: “It’s just sadly reached the end of the line for now. Count Arthur Strong is such a loved character amongst the fans, I’m sure he’ll live on beyond the series. Graham Linehan is writing Motherland for us at the moment so we’re still very much working with him on projects also.”
The third series of Count Arthur Strong moved to a new 8.30pm slot on BBC1 in a bid to entice more of a family audience. Series 2 aired at 10.30pm on BBC1 after a first series debut on BBC2.
However the third series failed to pull in more viewers, averaging around 1.2m viewers for its run, roughly the same number who watched it at 10.30pm for series 2.
In an interview with RadioTimes.com, Linehan spoke of his love for Count Arthur Strong which he described as a brave attempt by the BBC to introduce a new kind of comedy to family audiences.
“It’s an experimental show in the sense because I wanted to prove that you can have a popular show that would be shown at half eight at night,” Linehan said.
“A lot of comedies that are aimed at a wider audience have a dumb appeal to the lowest common denominator and I don’t think that’s a necessary prerequisite for a show like that to work, so it’s an experiment enough to see if it could be done.”
As well as Count Arthur, the comedy featured Rory Kinnear as his baffled friend Michael and an array of likeable misfits who congregated at Bulent’s Cafe, including Eggy(Dave Plimmer), Birdie (Bronagh Gallagher) and John The Watch (Andy Linden).
Bulent the cafe owner was played by Chris Ryman and the role of his sister Sinem, who was also Michael’s girlfriend, was played by Zahra Ahmadi.
Linehan, the co-writer of classic Channel 4 comedy Father Ted, is the co-author of Motherland, a sitcom about the perils of modern parenting which he is writing with his wife Helen Linehan, Holly Walsh and Sharon Horgan.
It is being made into new six-part series for BBC2 following the successful half-hour pilot starring Anna Maxwell Martin and Diane Morgan (AKA Philomena Cunk).