'Holby City' spawns new police drama - a spin-off of a spin-off

When the BBC's drama department decided to show viewers what was happening in the wards that formed the backdrop to Casualty, its long-running medical drama Holby City was created.

Seven years on, BBC1 is now planning a spin-off of a spin-off - a drama set in a police station close to the fictional hospital.

It is the latest in a long line of programmes to have spawned new shows, both in drama and comedy, with varying degrees of success, from the hugely popular Cheers spin-off, Frasier, to the less successful Friends follow-up, Joey.

Provisionally titled Holby Blue, the series is co-produced by Tony Jordan - the veteran EastEnders writer who created the recent BBC1 hit Life on Mars and the slick con artist drama Hustle.

His company, Red Planet, is in the early stages of making the pre-watershed show, which is likely to fill the poorly performing Wednesday night slot that BBC1 controllers have struggled to fill. A creative team is currently deciding how much crossover there should be between the parent show and its offspring. A BBC spokeswoman said: "We're in really early stages of script development. How and why it will be linked to Holby, we're just discussing. Holby is a key part of a fantastic brand that does really well for us."

Holby City was launched in 1999 by its drama chief at the time, Mal Young, who had been unimpressed by blueprints for other hospital dramas. He decided instead to build on the strengths of Casualty, which had been running for 13 years.

Apart from the occasional Christmas special, characters from Holby City and Casualty rarely appear in the other show.

The faster-paced Holby City, which draws an average eight million viewers to its pre-watershed Tuesday night slot following EastEnders, attracts a younger audience. Its glamorous cast includes Tina Hobley, Hugh Quarshie and the Footballers' Wives actor Ben Richards, while previous stars have included Angela Griffin, Lisa Faulkner and Jeremy Edwards.

Steven Murphy, the editor of Inside Soap, said: "From a BBC point of view, it's a much safer way to launch a new show than doing something cold. Holby gets eight million viewers and you hopefully bring a proportion of those with you. The worry is you end up with five hours in one week which are very much of one style, in the same genre, with the same stories ... it's all going to get a bit samey."

Details of the new show emerged just days after BBC director general Mark Thompson announced a new focus on long-running dramas with broad appeal. Mr Thompson told staff: "We must cherish and where necessary invest in the titles that bind us emotionally to the broadest audiences - EastEnders, Casualty, Holby."

ITV successfully attempted something similar in 2003 when it launched The Royal, set in a cottage hospital near the fictional North York Moors village of Aidensfeld, the location for its popular Sunday night police drama Heartbeat .

Frasier was one of the most successful spin-offs in television history. Launched when the Boston bar comedy Cheers drew to a close in 1993, it followed one of the regular characters, Dr Frasier Crane, as he returned to his home town of Seattle, where he hosted a radio therapy show. Joey, starring Matt LeBlanc, reprised his character from Friends, but failed to repeat the success of the New York sitcom and was pulled halfway through its second run.

Ratings winners and losers

SPIN-OFFS THAT WORKED

Frasier/Cheers

When Cheers came to an end, one of its main characters, Dr Frasier Crane, moved from Boston to his home town of Seattle, where he lived with his father and worked as a radio psychiatrist. Audiences were so charmed that the sitcom ran for 11 years, the same length of time as the show that spawned it.

The Royal/Heartbeat

In 2003, ITV launched a spin-off to its popular Sunday night police drama Heartbeat. The Royal, set in a nearby cottage hospital, shared a soundtrack of Sixties classics, but characters and storylines were quickly differentiated, adding to the show's success.

The Green Green Grass/Only Fools and Horses

When Del Boy's creator John Sullivan decided to relocate the second-hand car dealer Boycie and his wife, Marlene, to rural Shropshire, 9 million viewers tuned in to see the result. The BBC liked it so much they commissioned a Christmas special and a second series.

Softly Softly/Z Cars

Z Cars, launched in 1962, featured police officers on the beat in fictional Newtown, near Liverpool; Softly, Softly focused on CID officers in the same force. It ran from 1966 to 1976.

Lewis/Inspector Morse

Kevin Whately was reluctant to reprise his role as Inspector Lewis after the death of his co-star John Thaw. When ITV finally persuaded him to go back to Oxford for a one-off pilot, they liked the result so much they have now commissioned four more episodes.

... AND THOSE THAT DIDN'T

Joey/Friends

Friends was always going to be a hard act to follow. The spin-off starring Matt LeBlanc initially gained respectable viewing figures but NBC pulled it halfway through its second season after ratings slumped.

Going Straight/Porridge

The sequel to Porridge, broadcast a year after the original sitcom ended, followed the exploits of Norman Stanley Fletcher after his release from Slade Prison. It failed to capture viewers' imagination and has rarely been repeated.

Swiss Toni/The Fast Show

Flagged as one of the highlights of the new digital channel BBC3, there were high expectations for Swiss Toni , a comedy based on the character from The Fast Show. But audiences seem to have tired of his habit of comparing every activity to "making love to a beautiful woman".

Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballAccording to revelations from Sergio Aguero's new biography
News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Life and Style
Meow! ... Again, Kim Kardashian goes for a sexy Halloween costume, wrapping her body with a latex catsuit and high heeled knee boots
fashionFrom Heidi Klum to Kim Kardashian
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Extras
indybest
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
Life and Style
tech

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Business Development and Analytics - TV

competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Business Development Manager Content/Subscriptions

£50k + commission: Savvy Media Ltd: Great opportunity to work for a team that ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker