The BBC has announced a third series of Still Open All Hours - starting with a Christmas special. But Lynda Baron will not be returning to play the role of Nurse Gladys Emmanuel

BBC1 has announced a third series of Still Open All Hours, but without Lynda Baron as Nurse Gladys Emmanuel.

The 77-year-old actress will not be returning to the role, which she first played in 1976. In a statement, she said: “It just isn’t possible to fit it in with my schedule.

“I was thrilled by the huge success of Still Open All Hours and was very happy to be a part of it. I am disappointed, not least because it is beyond doubt the nicest cast and crew a girl could wish for. There are as many laughs off the set as there are on. Long may they stay Open All Hours.”

Lynda appeared in EastEnders earlier this year, playing Jane Beale’s mum Linda Clarke, and will be returning to the soap for a Beale family storyline.

The last series of Still Open All Hours was the highest rated comedy series of the past 12 months, with the last episode attracting more than eight million viewers in January 2015.

The third series opens with a Christmas special where Granville (Sir David Jason) and Gastric (Tim Healy) find themselves playing marriage counsellors, whilst Leroy (James Baxter) adopts a festive disguise to avoid relationship trouble of a different kind.

Meanwhile, Mrs Featherstone (Stephanie Cole) struggles to get into the Christmas spirit and Kath (Sally Lindsay) attempts to bring the street together as one harmonious choir of carollers and beat Finkle Street once and for all. Does Granville have a trick up his sleeve to help them out?

They will be joined by series regulars Maggie Ollerenshaw as the love of Granville’s life, Mavis, plus Johnny Vegas as Eric, Kulvinder Ghir as Cyril, Brigit Forsyth as Madge, Nina Wadia as Mrs Hussein and Geoffrey Whitehead as Mr Newbold.

Location filming will start soon, with studio filming to follow from October.

 

Sir David Jason said: “I can’t wait for viewers to see the scrapes Granville gets into this series, almost as much as I can’t wait to start filming them.

“Roy Clarke has once again written seven fantastically warm, funny and inventive scripts, full of the humour and eccentric characters that the nation has come to love over the years.”

Executive producer Gareth Edwards said: “I continue to be bowled over by the incredible audience response to Still Open All Hours, so it’s a real pleasure to welcome the series back to BBC One.”