KEVIN Whately, who plays the title role in the hit ITV detective series Lewis, has admitted that he does not like crime dramas.
For most television viewers, Whately is synonymous with crime dramas, having played the dependable Oxford detective Lewis on our screens for more than 25 years.
But the popular actor has admitted that he has never liked police shows and revealed that he would not even watch his own programme if he were not in it.
The current series of Lewis on ITV1 will be the last after Whately voiced concerns that he was getting too old to play a police officer and expressed a yearning to swap the "factory" of television productions for the challenges of live theatre.
Whately (61) first appeared as Detective Sergeant Robbie Lewis in 1987 as the sidekick to John Thaw in Inspector Morse.
That series ended after Thaw's death in 2002, but ITV revived the characters in 2006 to create Lewis, which is now in its seventh series.
Yet Whatley admitted: "I never have liked detective dramas. I try to watch all of them to see what's going on, but I don't like them. I'd almost certainly not watch Lewis if I wasn't in it," he said.
"I have no idea why it's still so popular. I think we are very lucky in a lot of ways. The city of Oxford is very attractive and the chemistry seems to work between the cast. It's one of those intangible things but I'm gobsmacked. It's ludicrous."
He and fellow actor Laurence Fox (34), who plays Lewis's cerebral deputy Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, decided that they wanted a break from the series.
Whately said: "As an actor you do try and keep it fresh, but there are only so many variations and it can start to feel like a factory."