BBC is to axe New Tricks after 12 years

New Tricks is being axed after 12 series of the BBC1 detective drama.

The BBC announced the decision, saying it was time to make way for new series on its flagship channel.

Launched in 2003, New Tricks will screen one last series featuring Larry Lamb, Tamzin Outhwaite, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Denis Lawson.

Dennis Waterman appeared in the last series before announcing he was leaving, following former co-stars Amanda Redman, Alun Armstrong and James Bolam out of the show.

BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore and BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson said in a joint statement: ”We are incredibly proud of New Tricks and would like to thank Roy Mitchell, the brilliant creator, Wall to Wall and Headstrong, and all the cast and teams involved across the 12 series.

“However, on BBC1 it’s important to make room for new series and continue to increase the range of drama on the channel, so it won’t be returning after the next series airs this summer.”

BBC bosses promised that the final series, featuring 10 new episodes, would go out on a high.

In 2012, Redman, who played Sandra Pullman in the show, criticised the drama for becoming “bland”.

“The characters are not being as anarchic as they used to be, which I think is a huge shame”, she said.

Armstrong also complained at the time: ”My character has got saner. Which I’m not too enamoured with.”

New Tricks, which follows the fictional Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad, launched in 2003 with a single 90-minute drama, before it became a full series in 2004.

The last series, which was screened last year, averaged 4.9 million viewers – a record low for the drama.

The highest ratings were in 2008 when it averaged 8.8 million.

The format has been sold around the world.