Long-running TV series Last of the Summer Wine to end

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Long-running BBC comedy Last of the Summer Wine is to be axed after 37 years, the BBC has announced.

The series - which has followed the exploits of Compo, Nora Batty and friends - made its TV debut in 1973.

Over the years it has featured a host of famous faces including Eric Sykes, Dame Thora Hird and Bill Owen as Compo.

Jay Hunt, controller of BBC One, said the final series to be shown this summer will be a "fitting farewell" to the well-loved characters.

It will feature Peter Sallis as Norman Clegg alongside several other cast members including Russ Abbot as Hobbo and Brian Murphy, who plays Alvin.

Every single episode of the sitcom has been written by Roy Clarke and produced and directed by Alan J W Bell.

There had been speculation for many years that the show would be retired but it was continually commissioned.

Cheryl Taylor, controller of comedy commissioning, said the decision to end the show was "very tough".

"It is a testimony to the wit and warmth of the characters that Roy Clarke originally created that this amazing series has endured over several decades," she said.

"The BBC feels enormously privileged to have played host to its many charms for such a long time and we very much respect the affection in which it is held.

"It is very tough to have to call time on such a cherished institution but we are very sincere in our gratitude for, and admiration of Last Of The Summer Wine. It is the undisputed champion of long-running comedy series."

BBC One will celebrate the end of the long-running series with special editions of Countryfile and Songs Of Praise.

Both will come from Holmfirth, the village in Yorkshire where the series has been filmed since it began in 1973.

Ms Hunt added: "I am delighted some of the channel's other heritage brands will be helping to say goodbye in style."

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