Sky TV the last chance for Heartbeat? - HAVE YOUR SAY

A GLIMMER of hope remains for Heartbeat's legion of fans amid rumours Sky television is interested in taking over the ITV show's production.

Debate has been raging that both the BBC and Sky may grant a reprieve to the now suspended ITV drama, which is filmed in and around the Whitby area.

Arthur Newton (55) who has loaned his period vehicles to Yorkshire Television including the famous Greengrass's truck, the breakdown crane from Scripps Garage and the show's police vehicles since the screening of Heartbeat's first episode, told the Whitby Gazette he'd heard Sky were interested.

He said if the show was resurrected he would be over the moon, as since it got the chop, he's lost his livelihood.

"I'd heard someone from Sky wanted to take it over but it's all cloak and dagger," he said "But I'd also heard ITV are refusing to sell the rights.

"The rumour was it was going to come back in the 70s, which would mean my vehicles would be redundant. I personally think that would ruin it.

"The show is absolutely dead in the water, the studio is gutted. I would love to think it would happen but I don't think it will."

Mr Newton added when filming was suspended by ITV in May, he was told by them to keep hold of his vehicles.

But he received a telephone call in November advising him to sell them, although he has vowed not to and he says he will be bringing some of them to Whitby in June for a special 60s event organised by English Heritage.

Campaigner Brian Taylor who owns Goathland Post Office and has amassed a 105,000 signature petition to save the show, said he'd heard a rumour the BBC were considering taking Heartbeat over.

"People have come into the shop and say things like the BBC are interested in taking it over but when I listen to people in the know at ITV they just seem to think it's dead and buried," he said.

But head of communications for BBC1 and Fiction Julian Payne told the Whitby Gazette it was not the case the channel would pick up the production of Heartbeat.

"Sorry I cannot offer fans of the show more positive news," he said.

Publicity manager for Sky1, Susan Collins said Sky is not ruling out the possibility.

"We are in discussions regarding new shows for Sky1 all of the time but we have nothing specific to announce at this time," she said.

Mr Taylor added he is now planning to hand over his petition in the New Year to ITV's new chief executive Archie Norman, once the final nine episodes are screened which will complete all the stockpiled episodes which have been shown.

It had been hoped the final episodes would be screened in April but a spokeswoman for ITV Studios said they have not been scheduled yet.

She said she was unable to comment on the possibility of a planned meeting between Mr Taylor and Mr Norman as the new chief has not yet started his role.

The spokeswoman added she was not aware of any discussions which have taken place betwen ITV, the BBC or Sky with regards to selling the rights for Heartbeat and could not comment further as to when or if the show will come back.

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