ITV1’s long-running police drama Heartbeat is to be axed after 18 years, the network has confirmed.

A spokesman told the BBC News website that the next series of the 1960s set show would be the last.

It follows the announcement earlier this year that production of the show had been suspended.

“We are overhauling our schedule to reflect the changing demands of our audience and refreshing the mix of programming we commission and broadcast,” the spokesman said.

He added that the decision to cancel the series was part of ITV chief’s Peter Fincham’s plans to overhaul the channel’s output.

“We will continue to maintain our significant investment in the genre, the biggest of any commercial broadcaster, but ITV1’s future focus will be on new and varied drama commissions,” the spokesman said.

“Heartbeat has been an important part of the television landscape over the last 18 years and we are incredibly proud of what it achieved in its heyday as one of ITV1’s top rated dramas.”

The show, set in North Yorkshire and famous for its 1960s soundtrack began in 1992 with Nick Berry in the lead as PC Nick Rowan. Joe McFadden currently stars in the show as police constable Joe Mason.

It averaged 14.5m viewers in its first series but currently attracts an audience of around seven million.