ITV suspends Heartbeat production

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The Independent Online

Production of 1960s police drama Heartbeat is to be suspended to clear a stockpile of unbroadcast episodes.

ITV insisted the show was still an important part of the channel's schedule amid reports it is to be axed.

A spokesman for ITV said the long-running police series was still in production.

But it is understood that by the end of the year the channel will have built up more than a whole series' worth of episodes, and wants to broadcast them before making new ones.

It is unclear how long the break in production will last.

An ITV spokesman insisted: "Heartbeat and the Royal (a spin-off medical drama) are an important part of the ITV schedule and are currently in production."

Heartbeat, set in North Yorkshire, has been an ITV Sunday night staple since it first aired in 1992.

Earlier this week, five members of the show's cast and crew were taken to hospital after a tractor accident during filming.

One actor was airlifted to hospital in Middlesbrough with chest injuries, though these were not life-threatening.