EXCLUSIVE: Seven is not proceeding with more of The Blake Mysteries in 2019, all but signalling the end for the Doctor Blake franchise.
The network has cited lack of time slots in its 2019 schedule as the reason behind its decision.
A Seven spokesperson told TV Tonight, “The Blake Mysteries performed very well. The numbers keep building and confirm the commercial success of the movie length episode. The cast delivered superb performances, developing the continuous story themes beautifully.
“At this stage, our 2019 schedule is firming up and we simply don’t have appropriate time slots for a series.”
Sadly the show, and indeed the network, has been caught up in events working against it.
After the December Media show was axed by ABC, Seven threw it a lifeline with a plan for 4 telemovies. But following headlines involving star Craig McLachlan it scaled back to one telemovie with Nadine Garner as the newly-wedded Jean Blake, testing the waters as the lead in “A New Beginning.”
Isolated on the final Friday in the ratings year the drama was certainly up against it.
It drew 450,000 in overnight viewers and another 143,000 in 7 day timeshifted viewing -a not-unexpected result given it had no series momentum and limited audience awareness. But it was a long way from the 900,000 plus who had backed the show on ABC.
Despite the initial backing of the franchise, Seven’s dilemma has been twofold: the unforeseen absence of its leading man at the same time as it greenlit another ABC spin-off in Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries.
Suddenly the network found itself with 2 mystery dramas, both with female sleuths in Victoria in the 1960s. But only one was dogged by headlines.
The news will disappoint loyal “Blake Army” international fans whose passion for the show, with social media campaigns and petitions, was crucial to the show’s future at Seven. Their support for McLachlan, yet to face any police charges, has been unwavering. Despite being torn over their high regard for Nadine Garner it has only ever been McLachlan they want to see in the title role.
Now it appears untested allegations from a stage production in Adelaide have killed off any hope of either doing just that.
Garner will be seen in 2019 in 10’s upcoming comedy Mr. Black alongside Stephen Curry, while McLachlan’s defamation case begins in February.
Updated: Producers Tony Wright and George Adams said, “What a personal privilege it’s been to bring you this show from Season one until now, and what a delight it was to create this telemovie for Channel 7.
“Nadine Garner and the entire cast and crew were indeed superb. Once again, thanks to all of you who got behind it.”