Actor James Bolam is leaving BBC1’s hit crime drama New Tricks after eight series.

James – who plays Jack Halford in the show – told producers during filming of the last series which has just finished airing, according to BBC Online.

New Tricks, which also stars Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman and Alun Armstrong, has since been commissioned for a further two series – and the corporation is keen for James to return for one episode next year.

“We are very sorry to see him go,” said the show’s executive producer Richard Burrell.

“But we fully understand that the time and commitment involved in filming a series is quite considerable,” he added.

“We are very excited about the return of the rest of the cast and are thrilled to have been commissioned for another two series by the BBC.”

James’s real-life wife, Susan Jameson, plays the wife of Alun’s character, Brian Lane, in the series.

James, who was appointed MBE for his services to drama in 2009, also stars in CBeebies programme Grandpa in my Pocket.

He made his name on TV as Terry Collier in The Likely Lads.

SUBSCRIBE to TV Times magazine NOW and you could save up to 29%