Bring it Back Now – We Won’t Take Less!

Stuart Ian Burns on how to bring back your favourite axed programme

First published August 2003

You’ve logged onto the internet or looked in the latest issue of whatever TV magazine you read during your lunch break and you find out that your favourite television programme, the one show you’ve been pouring your heart into for the past year or so has been cancelled.

Within a month the gentle banter/massive plot twists/keen eye for detail won’t be around any longer and will be seen only in repeats or reruns (or in really lucky cases DVD releases). You’re shocked, stunned and braying for the blood of the person who had the audacity to remove this piece of art from public consumption. What can you do? Is there anything you can do?

Can I save my show?

Firstly, calm down. This isn’t the first time that for whatever reason a television programme has been cancelled, in fact in the US it happens with even greater regularity than in the UK (and often in the middle of series). You are not alone. Because this isn’t the first time, you can learn from the mistakes and successes of those who have gone before you, build up an action plan and go forth. Yes, OTT is here with a step-by-step guide to getting your favourite show back on the air …

Is my favourite show worth saving?

The easy answer to this question would be yes! You’re a fan of it aren’t you? There must be millions like you. But in truth, the actual answer is probably closer to maybe. The reason you have to ask this question is because over the next few months you’re going to be dumping your life and soul into this. Look at the thing carefully. Ask what other people think, maybe play some episodes to someone who has never seen it before because they’re the people you’re going to have to convince and convert in the long run. If they have a rational argument as to why the show is no good take another look yourself.

Also remember the geography rules. You will find that the majority of “prematurely” cancelled programmes are in the United States. This is because they have a much more commercial orientated television market. If a show fails to make a splash in its first week, with high enough ratings in the demographic it was aimed at it may be yanked after two weeks. The American versions of This Life (First Years over there) and Cold Feet both suffered this fate. This article won’t be considering those kinds of programmes, however, because they aren’t the sort which engender these kinds of campaigns – they aren’t on long enough to even have fans. But it is worth noting that if your show managed to last a season or even two someone will have been watching to begin with and there might be enough goodwill to stand you in good stead.

In Britain, television shows are very rarely cancelled in the middle of a season, and in fact there have been very few occasions worth noting (although Duck Patrol, Hardwicke House and Sin on Sunday are notorious). That’s because, with the exception of soap operas and faux-soaps such as Casualty, the series is already in the can before it’s shown. Here unsuccessful shows are quietly buried late at night so that only the dedicated can see them (Chris Evans’ Boys and Girls) – and frequently the final episode will appear on a different day making way for something that the network actually think people will want to watch. At the time of writing the most recent example of this has been Hugh Laurie’s return to television, Fortysomething, which failed to ignite the post-Heartbeat slot on ITV’s Sunday night (after starting with 6.2 million viewers it quickly dropped to 4.3 million) and found itself lost at 11.05pm on a Saturday after only two episodes.

As a rule campaigns in the UK are a very rare occurrence (there have been some high profile exceptions which we’ll come to) but in the main shows are usually allowed to die a natural death, even if like the Paul McGann lawyer drama Fish or the classic before its time North Square they were very, very good.

So, is your favourite show worth saving? If the answer is still “yes”, read on.

So what’s the first step?

It’s important not to get too disheartened at this early stage, so let’s look at a perfect situation that proves that with the wind in the right direction you won’t be wasting your time. This is the story of Bjo Trimble who actually entered the inner circle and become friends with a show’s creator. Trimble was the brains behind the campaign to keep Star Trek on air into a third season beyond its original cancellation due to low ratings. She has been the I-Ching for similar campaigns over many years and it’s always worth looking back to her example.

It was at the World Science Fiction Convention in 1966, the year that Star Trek began, that she ran into series creator Gene Roddenberry. At a previous convention Trimble had organized a futuristic fashion show and although she had been asked to organize one this time, a prior commitment meant that she gave the job to a friend who subsequently fell ill which meant Trimble ended up bringing it together anyway. This was at the dawn of the Star Trek production schedule, but as part of the publicity for the show, Roddenberry turned up with three costumes he was particularly proud of. Trimble originally refused to accommodate him as her allotted time on the stage had already been filled, and didn’t see why she should give preference to someone she hadn’t even heard of. But the organizers advised that they had made promises so she relented.

The producer had brought his own models who also helped out with amateurs backstage and the show didn’t overrun. Some episodes of the new series were played, everyone was happy and Roddenberry and Trimble became acquaintances; friends enough, in fact, so that whenever Trimble and her husband were in town the producer would invite them to visit the sets and have dinner. Welcome to the inner circle. Sometimes you can luck yourself in there without even being a fan of the show – in fact that might even help. Once the campaign had ended Roddenberry hired the Trimbles to set up a Trek mail-order company for him and she also ended up answering his mail. But of course, none of this will ever happen to you.

So that’s not actually the first step?

Well no. But …

This isn’t helping.  Now that people have found out my favourite show is ending, some of the casual audience can’t be bothered and are looking elsewhere.  I need help now!

How do you know that people have stopped watching?

I looked at the ratings.

In that case you’ve taken the first step already. You’re researching. Television is about ratings. If your show was in the top 10 week in week out, the channel or network wouldn’t even consider pressing the stop button. Find out how many other people have been watching TV at the same time, and work out why they weren’t tuning in to the same channel at the same time as you.

Not all shows are as heavily promoted as something like EastEnders or ER. It’s not as uncommon as you might think that a network will commission a programme, put it on somewhere and hope it gets an audience without any promotion at all. It’s argued that Joss Whedon’s attempt at a non-Buffy series Firefly befell this fate being shown at 8pm on a Friday when its target audience would be out (echoes of Star Trek here, which eventually on its first run at 10pm on Friday night when the key demographic were not in front of their TV’s).

But the thing is, programmes can also disappear even when they do get high ratings if the people watching aren’t who the network want to be watching. Murder, She Wrote, the popular detective series with Angela Lansbury was supposed to be attractive to a wide demographic. During its run, the network began to take notice of the Nielson ratings (the US version of BARB) and cancelled it because the audiences were over 55; an unattractive age group for advertisers.

But conspiracy theorists will argue that a network will also follow this lead if they want to actively “kill” a show. Time to evoke the prime UK example of Doctor Who. In 1989 after a rocky (and record breaking) 26 series, the Time Lord and his companion drifted into the sunset for the final time. The last series had been hardly promoted at all, and then appeared in a non-traditional Wednesday night slot, with Coronation Street on the other side. Cancellation came with the BBC claiming that the appetite for the series had subsided. Fans argued that the quality of the show had increased in the latter couple of years and that if it had been in its traditional Saturday night slot and advertised properly it would have been garnering a decent audience. They felt that the Corporation just wanted rid of something from the old regime and that this mad rescheduling was just an excuse, although this did conveniently ignore the fact that during its last year on Saturday nights the show’s viewing figures had vacillated disappointingly between 3.9 and 5.6 million).

Well, I’m really angry about this – I want to do something.  I know there must be other people like me.

Time to form an action group, then. There are no hard and fast rules for this. If you’re already a big enough fan of the show you might be part of a club in the real world or nowadays online. Your seniority in that club will dictate how involved you’ll be in the attempt to save the show. But just remember that all of this should be through mutual consent. You can’t and shouldn’t try and force people to help you. If you find yourself becoming obsessive and abusive it might be time to take a step back from the screen and realize that your expending a lot of energy over a television programme. You won’t get anywhere by annoying the very people you eventually want to continue watching. It will just spoil it for everybody.

Unlike many fans Bjo Trimble found out about the cancellation from the Vulcan’s mouth. Her husband had finished work early one day and they had decided to visit the Star Trek set. They’d noticed that although the actors were working hard on screen, they didn’t have the same camaraderie between takes. After asking around they heard that the show was due to end and decided they were going to try and keep Star Trek on the air. However, before proceeding they called Gene Roddenberry to make sure he was still interested and hadn’t given up himself. He advised that had already been discussing with his staff ways of letting the people who had been watching that there might not be a third season. Startlingly the makers of Star Trek weren’t even aware of the fact that the show had built up a fanbase. People had been writing to them but the letters hadn’t been getting through the filter of both Desilu (the production company) or NBC (the network). Luckily Trimble already knew were to begin:

“So we got the Tricon mailing list [where SF fans had first seen some Trek episodes] and a book dealer’s mailing list. Then we asked Gene to get the fan mail so we could use those addresses. When he called the mailroom, they said there were 40 sacks of Trek mail that had never been opened! So we got several hundred addresses from those, but we had no time to answer that mail. Remember, this was before computers were common household appliances, so everything we did had to be done by hand or on a typewriter.”

Trimble’s campaign turned out to be a temporary force, but there is one organization which has remained on the radar of all the television networks in America; the recently disbanded Viewers for Quality Television. The organization began when Cagney and Lacey were making their premature final arrest after a season and a half in 1984. Believing that the show offered a unique quality other programmes at the time did not (a strong role for women, for example) VQT’s founder Dorothy Swanson personally wrote 500 letters of support signing the names of friends and relatives (in a story recounted her book The Story of Viewers for Quality Television: From Grassroots to Prime Time). Her gambit helped to influence the network to continue with the cop show.

Over the years, the VQT spearheaded campaigns which successfully saved amongst others Designing Women, Homicide: Life on the Street and I’ll Fly Away (well, at least for a season). It became large enough to organize conferences and an awards ceremony that would purposefully honour shows ignored by the Emmys. It even had a respected list of endorsed shows which looked at programmes from all ends of the rating scales. Swanson remained very picky, and although she became friends with the creators of both Cagney and Lacey and Designing Women she quickly fell out with them after refusing to endorse their follow-up programmes.

There is little doubt that a void has been left by the cancellation of the VQT – perhaps you’ll be the one to fill it. The fact they tried so save shows set in “the real world” also puts lie to the misconception that it’s only science fiction fans who mount these kinds of campaigns.

Well then, what’s the quickest and simplest way I can get in touch with the people in power?

If you feel the need to say something right now you could try ringing the television channel involved. All have different policies on receiving telephone comments, but they can sometimes really work. The BBC has a duty office set up for the purpose and news stories are frequently spun on the number of complaints about something broadcast which are recorded here. Whilst there haven’t been any recorded examples of programmes being renewed based solely on this method, the BBC are nonetheless wise to the duty office being a focus for campaigning. In an essay for a recent Doctor Who Magazine Special about the programme’s years off the screen, archivist Andrew Pixley uncovered how the BBC prepared themselves for a day of action which took place in 1990:

“On Monday 26 November, the BBC’s Premises Operations issued a warning to BBC staff about the potential disruption on Friday 30. On the day itself, callers were greeted with a message informing them ‘We apologise, but within our limited space/time continuum lines to the duty/information office are busy at the moment, but rest assured an automatic record is being kept of all telephone calls on this subject … Certainly a break for the Doctor could not be seen as a one-way ticket to Gallifrey. Thank you for your interest.’”

And so you might prefer to email. One of the first high profile utilizations of this was “Operation Life Support” set up to save My So-Called Life, the teen show from the early 1990s. Even though the internet was yet to become as commonplace a medium as today, the network which cancelled Life, ABC, reportedly received up to 5,000 messages pleading for the show to be saved, and over 2,500 postings on the channel’s discussion boards. Their opinion was clear. As one fan put it: “May the fires of Hell split the Earth and envelop you and all your evil cohorts who have so heinously murdered such a fine program.” Hmmm. Can I suggest a bit more tact?

Good idea.  Perhaps it’s a good job I don’t have much access to the internet.  Should I just give up now?

Not necessarily. When The Sentinel, the story of a cop with heightened senses returned for another season, their campaign organizer Karen Irving argues it was because they “spent a lot of time suggesting that individuals not represent themselves as part of an Internet campaign.” In an article from online magazine Salon, Dorothy Swanson of the VQT explains: “[It] used to be, a viewer would have to get out a piece of paper, put it in the typewriter, type it, place it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and take it to the mailbox. That showed commitment and forethought,” she argues. “Now, [you] click on an icon and can send an immediate message. While that’s fine, executives know it doesn’t require much effort to do that, and they don’t know whether it was a 4 year-old or someone in their desired 18-to-49 year-old demographic group.” Which is why you’ll notice that the successful campaigns may have gathered on the internet but were taken note of because of the ancient art of letter writing.

How many letters does it take?

Don’t know. You see there isn’t a hard and fast rule. For some commissioners it’s enough that a lot of people in a key demographic care. For others it’s a general spread throughout the audience. Some like the idea of a passionate group of fans banding together to make a noise, some don’t like the idea of being told what they can and can’t produce, still others don’t care either way and it’s all about the ratings.

You said earlier that British shows don’t tend to get cancelled, instead they disappear to another timeslot or reach a natural end.  If that happens is it even worth starting a campaign?

Although it’s true to say that programmes in the UK tend to end with a lot less fanfare than elsewhere, there have been a fair few low key campaigns. When Ballykissangel reached what some would call a natural end in 2001 Save BallyK began with a simple website and claimed to gather 450 signatures. Similarly when This Life ended the fervour amongst television writers, especially in the broadsheets was extraordinary. Rather like the recent State of Play, it was case of the media focusing much more interest on something than the viewing public. A typical reaction from Cristina Odon in The Daily Telegraph:

“The phone calls from my desperate, furious friends began earlier this week: ‘Can you make them see sense?’ ‘Can you change their minds?’ The Daily Telegraph had published a news item that revealed that the success of This Life, with an audience figure of three million and rising, had taken the BBC completely by surprise … Here, finally, was a successful series that attracted that elusive youthful audience: why didn’t the BBC nurture and cherish a series the rest of us were mad about?”

But not even the intervention of influential writers changed the BBC’s decision.

What the British actually seem to be very good at is forcing schedulers and programme-makers to reverse changes made to shows still on air. An early example is The Magic Roundabout. When that began it was shown in a 5.50pm slot, and although developed for children the subject matter and writing had led to garner an adult audience as well. For scheduling reason the BBC moved it backwards to 4.55pm and caused utter consternation amongst an audience who weren’t getting home in time for their fix of Dougal. BBC4′s Time Shift recently remembered how adults began to flood Junior Points of View with letters of complaint:

“I hope that at the age of 20 I am not too old to write to your programme. I am a dedicated Dougal fan and I may probably never see him again as I don’t get home from work until 5.15pm. What about the workers!”; “May I as a dad express my grief. I used to cancel business appointments in order to get home for this programme … Three un-cheers for the men who rearranged the programmes!”; “Pay freeze, £50 travel allowance, high taxes and now you’ve altered the time of The Magic Roundabout!” And then a couple of letters, one magnificently signed “26 office clerks” and the other one even better: “100 angry draftsmen”!

Needless to say ‘Roundabout was shortly returned to its original slot.

Similarly when the BBC’s perennial medical drama Casualty reached its seventh series, a new production team, eyeing American dramas and in particular ER, began to treat the video footage they were shooting to give it a “filmic” look (see also recent Brookside). Unfortunately the viewing public reacted very badly the consensus being it gave the show an artificial look and had the knock-on effect of making them feel as though the whole programme had completely changed. Although there wasn’t an organized campaign, hundreds of phone calls to the duty office and letters to the Radio Times and Points of View reversed the decision, to the point that episodes that had already been processed were scrapped and broadcast in their video-taped versions. Now both Casualty and its spin-off Holby City are the only prominent primetime non-soap drama series made in this way.

So, the viewers can influence things, but only to a limited degree?

Well, there are other things you can do. Some fans actually use the media to further their own causes, exploiting the same information channels and techniques as the networks to put their point across. When Steve Joyner of Operation Life Saver put his proposal for advertising the campaign to contributors at the discussion board for the show (which ABC had set up at America Online) it piqued the interest of a New York Post reporter who wrote a story. This was picked up by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, People, and even on Entertainment Tonight and CNN. The resultant pledges the campaign received (which peaked at £6000) were used to order spots in Variety and Hollywood Reporter, a move which had helped other similar campaigns to success in the past.

More impressively fans of the space series Farscape managed to put enough money together to produce a television commercial. It was a stylish affair (aping the popular Apple Mac “Switch” campaign) in which fans from all walks of life were shown saying “I am Farscape“. It appeared on 24 major channels in the US and although the fans could only afford slots in “the middle of night” in some places – and the commercial only appeared once – the fact that some people who like a television show would go to these lengths created publicity with column inches and mentions on many news programmes. Some of this coverage is of course out of curiosity, but it was all publicity for the cause. In June 2003 (some months after the initial cancellation announcement) a second campaign of shorter 10 second “spots” was planned by the Save Farscape website, with the goal of raising $100,000 so that there campaign could secure more visibility on primetime on more popular channels.

Now that’s depressingly expensive!

But a pittance in comparison to the average budget of a television show. Fund raising really can work. If there are people as passionate as you who knows what could be accomplished? And if you do raise this kind of capital you could use it to make more cash. Sink it into another revenue stream by merchandising.

T-shirts and badges?

To begin with. Or you could do what the Doctor Who fans did and release a record.

I can’t sing.

That didn’t stop them. However, in truth this is the option that is least likely to succeed but you might at least have some fun doing it. At the end of its 22nd series Doctor Who was taken off air for an 18 month break while its producer John Nathan Turner was asked to rework it for a modern audience. Smelling the series might actually have been cancelled for good, future Take That producer Ian Levine spied some Live-Aid style charity record potential and talked the then lead actors Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant into a recording studio with a raft of “celebrities” (Faith Brown, Justin Hayward from the Moody Blues, Hazel Dean, Mike Nolan of Bucks Fizz) and formed the “supergroup” Who Cares? The idea was to raise money for the campaign but sensing this might not spark record sales the final beneficiary was a Cancer charity.

That’s nice.  But say I do raise a load of money and the network still refuse to make the show – what then?

Offer to pay for the show yourself. This isn’t an entirely stupid concept. While Firefly was being shopped around alternate networks, much discussion appeared in prominent sites about the possibility of the show going pay-for-view with some speculating that they’d be willing to pay over $10 an episode, perhaps with the series going straight to DVD or even cinema. When Doctor Who ended within a few months fans were setting up video and audio production companies to make and distribute their own stories via the sell-through market which skirted the edges of Who. So The Doctor became The Stranger or The Professor as played by bona-fide Doctors Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Bill Baggs’ BBV production company even licensed the rights to some of the monsters from the series and carried on their stories. A decade after cancellation Big Finish productions are producing officially licensed new adventures featuring “official” BBC casts, even continuing the story of the eighth Doctor Paul McGann. The net result of all this? The BBC itself has been shown a potential new avenue for the franchise and this month announced another in a series of brand new “official” Doctor Who adventures debuting online, before being made available in the sell-through market, this time featuring a ninth Doctor Richard E Grant.

That’s fine but I want my show to stay on television.

Something which has worked in the past is pleading with other networks. Although it was in no position to fund a new season of the show itself, MTV took the unprecedented step of stripping episodes of My So-Called Life on a daily basis. This gave Operation Life Support renewed impetus, but almost had the effect of crippling them financially. A week into the run, an interview was aired with Steve Joyner along with the OLS toll-free number. 25,000 phone calls later their operational costs grew to the point where the volunteers who had gathered from throughout America could not keep up with the response.

When the British TV channel five began, one of its highest rated shows was US-import Sunset Beach, an Aaron Spelling attempt to create a daytime soap opera. It was a campy mess, but it played up its own trashy extremes, tricked about with its format and became extremely popular with some viewers who watched both ironically and not. At its peak the ratings in Britain were even higher than in the US. Unfortunately the show was then cancelled. Its network NBC weren’t used to getting 1.5 million viewers for anything and they wanted to try something else in the slot. Realising they were about to get a hole in their schedule and lose one of their “best” shows, five began a campaign to “Save Our Sunset”, giving out the postal address for NBC and other stations on air to aid the rescue. Like MTV they were tapping into and organizing the natural impulses of the fan. Jeff Ford, the then Head of Acquisitions explained at the time: “We want to try and mirror what happened when Baywatch was axed in the US … Sunset Beach doesn’t rate highly in the US but it does have some value here.” But unlike Baywatch it lacked a global appeal and the sun set in December 1999.

What happens if nothing works?  None of the networks want to keep the thing on the air, interest is drifting away and the final episodes were shown after midnight.

Was there a cliffhanger ending?

Why’s that important?

Because it means the programme makers aren’t going down without a fight. Even the shortest lived of series once given their marching orders produce a final episode which ties things together. When the Seattle grunge series The Heights left the screens after just eight episodes (paradoxically poor ratings considering the theme How Do You Talk To An Angel? was massive hit on the US Billboard chart) the writers gave the rock band which featured in the series a record deal which would make it impossible to keep the tone of failure that had pervaded the rest of the series.

It’s the shows with cliffhangers that tend to suggest they really don’t want to finish and that there are other stories they want to tell. Adam Sweeting in The Guardian: “The end of the second series of This Life has prompted much chin stroking speculation. What news of the third series? Will Anna be in it? Or Miles? Is this great television, or just better-educated EastEnders populated with self-regarding monetarists? … Writer Richard Zajdlic, possibly sizzling with rage over the BBC’s bumbling indecision, turned the final episode into a series of cardiac arrests, culminating in the multiple cliffhangers … Then the end credits rolled and we were left dangling over a void of scheduler’s indecision …”

Pessimistically, what happens if I’ve followed all of your advice and the next time I see my show is at midnight on some satellite channel in a rerun?

Walk away and look for something else that fulfills the sensibilities you’re looking for. Whatever you do, don’t bite the hand that fed you in the first place. As a fan it hardly shows solidarity to a TV executive who might be wavering after all. Take Steve Joyner of Operation Life Support who posted an article on the campaign website entitled “Claire Danes brings death to Life” in which he essentially blamed the star of the show for being the main reason it was cancelled, allegedly because she wanted to leave to make films. Danes was hurt by the allegations. She told Liz Smith of the New York Newsday:

“Look, if I wanted to make movies, I could do them on hiatus, like lots of people do. The truth is, My So-Called Life was a tumultuous saga from the get-go. It was delayed a year. It was at the bottom of the ratings. I loved the show, but I won’t take responsibility for ABC’s not picking it up. It had nothing to do with my so-called movie career. I really don’t know where all this is coming from, but it’s hurtful. As far as I’m concerned, I wish ABC had cared as much then as they say they do now! It’s all about money and ratings, and I wish the people who loved the show, and who miss it, could get that. It wasn’t one person’s ego that killed it – certainly not mine!”

Joyner later said that although in hindsight he might have reconsidered the headline, he stood by what was in his article. It is clear that Danes looks on the show fondly. On the audio commentary for his film Jerry Maguire Cameron Crowe relates how he’d asked the actress if she had noticed the subtle homage he had put into his film to the show. “Well – duh!” she retorted.

And if all else fails, never, never be impolite to the network. At least not without some distance. In 1995, the vogue was for the networks to unveil their schedule to posters to the discussion boards at AOL. 300 posters gathered in the ABC room as they unveiled its autumn schedule. Most couldn’t care less about the other programmes they were trying to make a splash with. They wanted to know about My So-Called Life. When Joe Busch, the network man opened the floor to questions, he was immediately heckled on the subject. He praised the show, but it was clear it would not be coming back. The general reason offered by Busch for cancellation was that its appeal was too narrow for his network. The response was angry; he was an “asshole”.

The other thing you have to bear in mind (which Bjo Trimble certainly did) is that although you may be desperate for a programme to return, the appetite may not be quite so keen within the show’s production crew and cast. Once a programme is slated for cancellation, and the final episodes are made, everyone will start to think about drifting off to other projects. Not all actors, for example, are earning the high salaries the viewers expect and need to work as much as you or me.

When This Life ended, the cast had mixed feelings about a return. The Observer Review section on 3 August 1997 gauged the chances of the show’s return. Jack (Miles) Davenport said: “he would sign up for series three in a flash, if only the BBC would give it the go-ahead. Rumours that he has committed to other projects are, he insists, inaccurate.” Amita (Milly) Dhiri was more cautious: “Well, there’s another one being written. But I don’t think we’ll be anything to do with it.” In contrast, though, Andrew (Egg) Lincoln was obviously already eyeing up all that future voiceover work: “He doesn’t seem particularly bothered about a third series” reported the article. “I loved doing one and two” he said, “but can’t see where it can go.”

In the wake of the cancellation of Farscape, SFX magazine ran a series of articles investigating the whys and wherefores. All of those involved were sad to see it go, but the producers made it clear that making another series after a gap would be very difficult because the main sets, had been struck at the end of shooting. To recreate those accurately would be extremely expensive. Despite that fans live in hope. As always.

Is hope all I have? Are these campaigns ever successful?

That depends upon your definition. With support, classic Star Trek only lasted two extra seasons but now its still one of Paramount’s cash cows. Without three seasons under its belt it would never have been the huge success it became in syndication. Alongside that there wouldn’t have been the film series and the subsequent TV series. The Viewers for Quality Television saved Cagney and Lacey which continued through many more seasons and reunion movies. Granted My So-Called Life didn’t even get to complete its final series, but nearly a decade later the interest was still in place for a DVD release. Meanwhile, as mentioned about, a ninth Doctor has been announced in the shape of Richard E Grant which certainly wouldn’t be happening if there was Time Lord apathy. And Firefly is also heading to DVD with a future movie version looking very promising.

The moral of this story has to be this: If you do embark on this quest to get your favourite (cancelled) TV programme resurrected the key message above all is not to give up until you have. Do everything you can, when you can. But if it really doesn’t look hopeful that your show will ever comeback then it’s time to enjoy what you had and move on. As sad as it may be there are still some who think that all is not lost and that ITV might have yet have another go at cracking Crossroads.

If after reading all of the above you’re still motivated, good luck and jump to it. The autumn season on TV is being announced in a few weeks time and you’d better make damn sure that your show is at the top of the list.