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ABC axes its most popular series, The Doctor Blake Mysteries

The ABC has announced the end of its most popular TV series The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

The show – which stars Craig McLachlan and Nadine Gardner and is set in Ballarat in the 1950s – will end after its fifth series, currently in production, is broadcast later this year.

Twilight for Doctor Blake

During 2016, The Doctor Blake Mysteries was the ABC’s most popular Australian-made program, averaging 1.659m national viewers. The only regular ABC program to get a fractionally bigger audience was its rebroadcast of British TV show Doc Martin which averaged 1.67m nationally.

The only other regular programmes to outrate The Doctor Blake Mysteries nationally were Seven’s My Kitchen Rules, Wanted, House Rules and Seven News, and Nine’s The Block and The Voice.

Last year, The Doctor Blake Mysteries was also one of Australia’s most time shifted programs with the average overnight metro audience of 1.148m growing by 31.4% over the subsequent 28 days via catch-up viewing.

The finale episode will be a feature length finale.

In tonight’s announcement, the ABC’s head of scripted production Sally Riley said: “Dr Blake has had a sensational run on the ABC and we feel that the time is right to go out while we are still on top. We have a fantastic final season still to come and we look forward to wrapping the series up with a satisfying movie-length finale, as we bid farewell to an Australian TV icon.”

The show was produced for the ABC by December Media. Show-runner George Adams said in the announcement: “Having been the ABC’s number one returning Australian drama year on year we felt that we wanted to go out on a high.

He hinted that viewers would get “answers to many of the remaining mysteries between Blake and Jean.”

October 27 update: The Seven Network has picked up The Doctor Blake mysteries, which will run during 2018 as a series of telemovies (details via this link)

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