ITV has surprised the TV industry by cancelling popular 80s comedy drama Brief Encounters, but CPL Productions says it is looking at 'alternative options' for the show

ITV has axed the popular 1980s/Ann Summers-inspired comedy drama Brief Encounters, despite earning excellent ratings over the summer.

According to Broadcast online, Brief Encounters launched with a consolidated 5.9m (22.9 per cent) and picked up a series average of 5.7m (23.2 per cent) across six weeks in a 9pm Monday slot, solidly above the channel’s 3.4m (16 per cent) slot average.

On the face of it, the cancellation seems a peculiar decision.

But ITV defended its action. The network said the decision was made to’refresh’ its drama slate and recently renewed Cold Feet, which screened in the same slot this autumn.

A statement read: “ITV has taken the difficult decision not to recommission Brief Encounters for a second series… As a broadcaster, we seek to commission a diverse range of drama and as a consequence continually refresh our drama portfolio.

“We’d like to thank the writers Oriane Messina and Fay Rusling, the production team at CPL Productions and the Brief Encounters cast for their commitment and hard work in creating the drama.”

Writers Oriane and Fay issued a joint statement on Twitter: “Thanks to the 5 million who spent their six week summer holiday with Brief Encounters. We got drunk together, argued, laughed, cried, got sexy and fell in love…

“Sadly, we won’t be holidaying together next year, but we hope you will come with us on our next TV adventure.”

But Brief Encounters’ makers CPL Productions said it was considering the show’s future on ‘other platforms’.

CPL added: “Our funny and forthright women struck such a chord with audiences in the UK and worldwide that we are confident there is an appetite for more Brief Encounters, and are looking into all alternative options.”