THE man who brought Last of the Summer Wine to the nation’s TV screens is quitting the programme.
Producer and director Alan J W Bell, the man behind 27 series of the world’s longest-running comedy, blames the BBC for his decision.
He is angry that the BBC has refused to make a decision on whether or not the show has a future.
He also says the BBC reneged on a promise made to him in a top-level meeting.
He was summoned to meet BBC chiefs last week after breaking the news in the Examiner that the show was set to be axed.
The BBC said no decision had been taken.
BBC producers told him they would arrange for the filming of a one-off special next year.
But Mr Bell says that within hours they had told him that would not be possible because of the costs.
He added: “I have now decided I will not do it again.
“I have had enough of the BBC’s attitude.
“Summer Wine was a joy to work on and I have loved coming to Yorkshire for the filming.
“I had spoken to the writer, Roy Clarke, and our new star, Russ Abbott, about the idea of a feature special next year and they were very supportive.
“Now the BBC has come back and said they had no money. I’m tired of the lot of them. I have done 244 episodes and I believe I know what works.”
The cost of a one-off special was believed to about £250,000.
The new series was filmed over the summer. A festive special goes out on New Year’s Eve.
A BBC spokesman said: “Despite rumours that Last Of The Summer Wine was due to be axed the commissioning team at the BBC is happy to confirm that this is not the case.
“There is life in the old dog yet!”