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Last Tango in Halifax renewed for a third series

Sally Wainwright's hit BBC drama about Celia and Alan will be back in late 2014

Popular BBC drama Last Tango in Halifax has been confirmed for a third run in 2014 after the hit show won a Bafta award earlier this year.

The show about Celia and Alan -  a couple in their seventies played by Anne Reid and Sir Derek Jacobi - is expected to return next autumn after consistently drawing television audiences of over 5 million per episode.

Writer Sally Wainwright, who has also penned At Home with the Braithwaites and Scott and Bailey, described the news as "exciting" and spoke of looking forward to taking her characters further.

"What's so great about writing for characters like Celia and Alan is that there is a wealth of back story to explore," she said. "Series three will be a whole new emotional ball game."

Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker also star in the series, inspired by Wainwright's mother, who fell in love again as an older woman after the death of her first husband.

In Last Tango in Halifax, Celia and Alan, both widowed, rediscovered a passionate relationship that started over sixty years ago when their respective grandsons put their details on Facebook.

The last episode of the second series, in which the couple renew their marriage vows, was broadcast on Christmas Eve.

BBC Drama commissioning controller Ben Stephenson praised Sally Wainwright's "heartfelt scripts combined with [an] outstanding and stellar cast".

"I can't wait to see where these wonderful characters and stories will take the audience to next," he said.

Last year, BBC One controller Danny Cohen described Last Tango in Halifax as "an absolute gem that is captivating audiences of all ages" with it's central idea that romantic heroes need not always be young.