BBC have cancelled Holby City 'to create new soap to rival Coronation Street'

The decision to axe popular medical drama Holby City after 23 years is a move that has shocked and upset fans – and been a real blow to the drama industry.

But the BBC may have reached the decision to open up a budget in order to launch a Northern soap which it hopes may rival Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

BBC chiefs previously alluded to opening up more drama series in the North – so could this be the reason for Holby’s demise?

A source told The Mirror: ‘This is part of the BBC’s recently announced Across the UK strategy.

‘We will continue to invest in long-running drama, as we recently announced we will invest in two long running drama series outside of London over the next three years – one from the North and one from the Nations.’

This appears to fit with the rhetoric of the announcement made earlier today, which discussed implementing a strategy to become more relevant to all parts of the UK.

The statement read: ‘We are incredibly proud of Holby City but it’s with great sadness that we are announcing that after 23 years, the show will end on screen in March of next year.

‘We sometimes have to make difficult decisions to make room for new opportunities and as part of the BBC’s commitment to make more programmes across the UK, we have taken the difficult decision to bring the show to a close in order to reshape the BBC’s drama slate to better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country.

‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank the amazing team at BBC Studios and all the cast and crew who have been involved in the show since 1999.

‘Holby has been a stalwart with audiences, delighting millions of viewers each week and winning hundreds of awards with a compelling mix of cutting edge medical stories and explosive personal stories.

‘We look forward to working with the team over the coming months to ensure that when it ends, Holby goes out on a high.’

Holby will leave our screens in March 2020.

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