Mirren and La Plante in 'Prime Suspect' rift

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The Independent Online

The actress Helen Mirren and the writer Lynda La Plante have fallen out over the future of the television detective Jane Tennison, leaving ITV to order new scripts for a revival of the Prime Suspect crime drama.

After several years of wooing the award-winning actress, ITV had succeeded in persuading Mirren to film a sixth series this summer, six years after the last was broadcast.

But she was unhappy with what would happen to her character and two of the two-hour scripts written by La Plante, who created the drama for Granada Television, have been put to one side.

Nick Elliott, ITV's head of drama, said: "There was a slight disagreement between these two great divas. It was not to do with the four hours, but what would happen after that."

La Plante's drama will now be developed in another way and a new writer is on the verge of being signed up to the project. "I can't say who because they haven't agreed to do it yet," Mr Elliott said.

However, the plan is for the new scripts to be delivered in time for filming to go ahead in July. The last Prime Suspect series was broadcast in 1996 and Mirren then took a break, saying she feared she would not be able to escape the role.

But in an interview in next week's Radio Times, Mirren, now 55, said: "Now enough time has passed, we are discussing how the character could come back."

Mirren was named best supporting actress by the National Society of Film Critics in the United States on Sunday, for her performance in the Robert Altman film Gosford Park.