Bradley Walsh has said quitting Law And Order: UK was ‘one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make’, but refused to rule out a return to the show, which ITV said it is ‘resting’.

The actor, who has played detective Ronnie Brooks for eight series, said the character had become ‘one of my best friends’.

He said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to inhabit Ronnie’s Mac for as long as I have. Eight series is a wonderful achievement for everyone involved in the production.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I hope one day to revisit him, but for now I’d like the opportunity to pursue other drama projects, which ITV are developing.”

The final episode of Law And Order: UK is on ITV at 9pm next Wednesday (June 11), but studio bosses said it could make a comeback.

Director of drama commissioning Steve November said: “There may well come a time when we re-visit Law And Order: UK. For the moment, we’ll be resting the series whilst we continue to refresh our drama slate.”

Law And Order: UK, based on a popular US drama, was first shown in the UK in 2009.