The stars of BBC One police drama New Tricks have criticised TV ‘censorship’, saying that the broadcaster is afraid of causing offence.

An eighth series of the show, featuring Amanda Redman, Alun Armstrong, Dennis Waterman and James Bolam as police brought out of retirement to work in the Met’s Unsolved Crime and Open Case squad, has just been filmed.

Alun, who plays ‘oddball’ Brian Lane in the show, told the Radio Times: “We tend to come up against the BBC mainly when there are edicts and memos and script changes, which we never get to discuss.”

Dennis, who plays Gerry Standing, added: “We play the game of, ‘was this written by the writer or a BBC executive?'”

James, who stars as distinguished detective Jack Halford, added: “And we can always tell.” The former star of The Likely Lads went on to say: “I object to the censorship. In the Sixties, in the theatre, we fought very hard to get rid of censorship from the Lord Chamberlain’s office. And nowadays, in television, one is more heavily censored than ever.”

Amanda, who plays Det Supt Sandra Pullman, told the magazine: “They’re terrified of offending anyone.”

Ex-Sweeney star Dennis added: “They have a phrase that is used to our producers: ‘Audience expectation’. They say that viewers don’t expect us to swear. But we’re ex-coppers!”

Alex Graham, the show’s executive producer, said the lack of swearing was ‘a recurrent complaint from the actors,’ but added: “I don’t really recognise this version of events.

“I don’t want to sound old-fashioned, but – although it’s technically a post-watershed show – New Tricks is a family programme. Part of its appeal is that all the generations watch it.”

The show has run for eight years and talks have begun over a new two-year deal.