A VETERAN actress has joined the call to keep the Summer Wine flowing.
Juliette Kaplan, who has played battleaxe Pearl almost since the comedy series began, has waded into the row over the series’ future.
Director Alan J W Bell insists he has been told there will be no more. But the BBC say that it’s just “mere speculation” that Last of the Summer Wine will be axed.
Ms Kaplan says fans had the right to know about the show’s future.
“What annoys me is the BBC haven’t got the guts to say what’s happening and they keep trying to stall.
“My main beef is the hypocrisy of the BBC who are prevaricating. Is it or isn’t it?”
Juliette said the show was still popular and fans had started a petition against it being taken off the screen.
She said: “I really think it’s time the BBC started listening to the audience – they do pay the TV licence after all.
“The thing is that the commissioners are usually in their 20s and if it hasn’t got sex and swearing they don’t want it.”
Fan Terry Bartlam has started an online petition calling for a further series or at least a final special to be filmed.
Mr Bell insisted he had been told there will be no more episodes filmed of the hit series, much of which is filmed around Holmfirth and the Colne Valley.
He said: “They didn’t want me to announce it until August when the series is due to air, but we’ve got cast and crew who need to look for other jobs. It’s not fair to keep everyone hanging on.”
He said that the last six episodes had come in under budget and he believed it was a personal decision by someone at the BBC not to carry on with filming.
“It’s someone’s point of view whether a series stays or goes and that’s no way to make a decision.
He continued: “We are all disappointed. There was a slight misunderstanding in that when they commissioned six episodes, which were filmed in autumn of last year, we were under the impression that they would see how they went and then make their minds up.
“But out of the blue they’ve said these will be the last six episodes.”
Last of the Summer Wine has been running for 37 years. A Songs of Praise special is expected to be filmed at one of the churches in the Holme Valley, which could coincide with the six episodes being broadcast.
Mr Bell said: “You don’t kill off your longest-running and most successful programme. If the viewing figures were going down I could understand it, but they’re not.”
A spokesman for the BBC said it was “mere speculation” that the show was ending.
Filming the new series usually begins in July or August, but the broadcaster said they could not say when a final decision would be made public.
For the online petition, visit www.summerwine.net