Diane Keen has called for her long-running daytime BBC soap Doctors to be given a primetime slot.

The star blasted the ‘stigma’ attached to daytime TV and said the weekday drama, which marks its 10th anniversary this week, was worthy of an evening slot.

Diane, who has played practice manager Julia Parsons in Doctors for the past eight years, said: “It’s nice to be associated with something that’s got better and better. It makes you proud because daytime TV has a bit of a stigma attached to it and I don’t know why because some daytime stuff gets amazing viewing figures, so daytime is not a bad thing to be.

“But the show has changed a lot over the last 10 years. It’s grown up. It’s become a fully-fledged, worthy-of-primetime show.”

The actress, who is also known for her roles in 1970s series The Sweeney and The Cuckoo Waltz, added that she was baffled at programmers’ decision to keep Doctors in the afternoon despite regularly attracting more then two million viewers per episode.

“I often see things on in the evening and wonder how on earth it actually ever got made in the first place. There is stuff you watch and you think, ‘that was so bad, how did they get that on?’ And then you have a show like this that is so consistently of a high standard and totally unafraid to deal with very difficult issues,” she said.

But Liam Keelan, controller of BBC Daytime, said: “While the show does get repeated every evening at 6pm on the BBC HD channel, its true home will always be as a hugely appreciated early afternoon drama.”

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