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Wednesday 16 January 2019

I'm heartbroken, says Leigh as RTE axes hit Clinic series

SHOCK: Crew stunned by end of seven-year series

Clinic actress Leigh Arnold today spoke of her shock at the sudden axing of award-winning drama series The Clinic.

In spite of being one of RTE's most successful programmes, going from strength to strength in the past seven years, RTE announced it was pulling the plug on the medical drama, much to the shock of the show's stars.

Top actress Leigh Arnold, who plays Dr Clodagh Delaney in the medical series, said the crew are all "flabbergasted" about the sad news of the programme's lengthy run coming to an end.

"I heard about it alright in the last couple of days, what can I say? It's heartbreaking.

"I'm really sad about it, as are my fellow actors.

"I've had some wonderful years playing the character since 2005.

"It was my first ever professional acting gig and it wasn't just a job to me, it was an unforgettable experience," she told the Herald this morning.

"I've made some really good friends there and I've learned so much."

However, she says she feels grateful that the IFTA-winning programme enjoyed so many good years and pulled in such acclaim among audiences.

"The truth is it really is going out on a high and people have been really supportive. Gary Lydon has won awards, Amy (Huberman) was nominated and I was nominated. We were really, really lucky it got noticed.

"I feel it was quite cutting edge and controversial and it represented that it wasn't the same old fuddy duddy Ireland anymore.

"It dealt with issues like sex and drug addiction and unexpected pregnancies and the writers did a brilliant job," she said.

While the leading cast members were told the shocking news a few days ago, none of them were given any reason as to why the programme was coming to an end.

"I really didn't hear why exactly RTE had decided to axe it. Obviously it came as a massive shock to me and I'm still flabbergasted. We are all still upset as no one expected it," she said.

The show's resident villain, played by Dominic Mafham, also expressed how "sad" he was on his Facebook page.

He wrote: "Just thought you ought to know The Clinic has been cancelled by RTE.

"There will be no more from Clarence Street. Last Sunday's episode was the last ever Clinic.

"Feeling rather sad right now, but I think we went out on a high and it is a show I'm extremely proud of, that has left me with some amazing lovely memories."

Now, a new series is in the works to replace The Clinic, filling Sunday night's drama quota, but there are still no details as to what viewers should expect as its replacement.

A set source revealed: "The show has had a great run and has helped the careers of many actors but management felt it's run its course.

"Viewing figures are down and costs are increasing so the decision was taken to end it at the series end. But there will be a new drama series commissioned to take the place of The Clinic."

RTE's commissioning editor Jane Gogan confirmed the show's cancellation and also hinted that we should expect to see some of the programme's stars on other home-grown shows in the near future. "RTE is proud of The Clinic but we believe that it is important to constantly review to ensure that we are delivering the best possible choice, variety and quality to our audience."

hnews@herald.ie

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