The Crimson Field axed by BBC, 'gutted' writer Sarah Phelps confirms

The First World War drama will not return to make space for new shows

Jess Denham
Wednesday 11 June 2014 11:10 BST
What a lovely war drama: ‘The Crimson Field’
What a lovely war drama: ‘The Crimson Field’ (Todd Anthony)

BBC One has axed The Crimson Field after just one series, writer Sarah Phelps has confirmed.

The First World War drama followed the lives of nurses and their patients at a Western Front field hospital in France.

It first aired in April and finished with a “feel-good finale” last month.

Phelps had hoped for at least four more runs of the show and had sketched out future plots, Radio Times reports.

Phelps took to Twitter to announce the news, admitting that “gutted doesn’t even touch the sides of how I feel”.

The first series of The Crimson Field was set at the start of the conflict in 1914 and broadcast 100 years after the real-life action took place.

Oona Chaplin, who played Kitty Trevelyan alongside co-stars Hermione Norris and Suranne Jones, revealed earlier this year that Phelps “knew exactly where the characters were on 11 November 1918” – Armistice Day and the end of the war.

The BBC has issued a statement thanking “all those who worked so hard” on The Crimson Field.

“However, in order to create space for new shows and to keep increasing the variety of BBC One drama, it will not be returning for a second series,” it continued.

Further First World War dramas coming up this year include The Passing Bells and War Poems. Phelps, meanwhile, had adapted JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy for a BBC series.

One factor in the decision to axe The Crimson Field is likely to be its lukewarm critical praise and average audience figures. The show opened with over 6 million viewers but fell to a series low of 4.4 million during its penultimate episode.

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