Kingdom Come, Kingdom Gone

Sad news from TV-land. Well sad for me and for some others. It may well have you skipping about like a lamb on ketamine, trilling with joy.

Our masters at ITV have decided that there shan’t be a fourth series of the television drama Kingdom. I am sorry because it was such a pleasure making them in my beloved Norfolk. I am sorry because the crew of mostly local East Anglians was so cheerful, professional and delightful to work with: the riggers, sparks, grips and location; the camera, caterers, dressers, make-up and props, production assistants, accountants and co-ordinators, the sound men and the drivers, assistant directors and runners, the security, police and councillors who always tried to help. The cast of local people who cheerfully subjected themselves to the indignities of a background artist’s day. They will all be missed and their memories cherished.

Above all, the people of those Norfolk towns and villages on which we descended for days on end. The citizens especially of Castle Rising, Wells-next-the-Sea and above all of Swaffham who put up with our desire to control traffic (something of a vain, Canute-like hope in Swaffham’s central buttermarket – Norfolk’s Piccadilly Circus). They were kind to us, considerate and understanding. It was a charming and cheerful experience for us all. I am lucky to live there much of the time – for the rest of the Kingdom cast and crew it will be a sad farewell that was never properly said.

All things must pass. That is why we must be so grateful to Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, and mother of the muses. Heigh ho. Onward and upward.

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233 comments on “Kingdom Come, Kingdom Gone”

  1. kirvineb says:

    Wanted to share with you a message sent to ITV.

    Program manager:

    You may be interested to know that surprise and disappointment in your decision to discontinue the Kingdom series extends beyond the boundaries of the UK. Because in many countries the necessity of mass appeal for commercial entertainment has led to numerous shallow and exploitative shows, when a broadcasting corporation anywhere produces and airs a show blending intelligent humour, good screenwriting, high quality acting and an empathetic view of a community, celebration is in order. ITV did that with Kingdom and deserves praise for promoting quality entertainment.

    We realize that all sectors of the economy are subject to constraint but, for a corporation in the cultural sector, one would hope that maximizing financial returns not be the primary motivation for programming decisions.

    Please accept this testimony from Canada that Kingdom was greatly appreciated, accompanied by a request that the decision to discontinue be reconsidered.

  2. skb72362 says:

    It just doesn’t make sense, that a series carrying such a high rating was cancelled. Maybe the program director should have been cancelled.
    We don’t have enough wholesom family series on tv. Had to watch series 2 & 3 online, but enjoyed enormously. Kingdom will be missed greatly.

  3. kaylabear says:

    I just started watching Kingdom this year (I’m in California so we get British shows kind of late, via Public Broadcasting). I’ve grown to love it for it’s charm and sweetness so I’m sorry to hear there won’t be anymore episodes. :(

    Still, I’ve been a fan of Stephen’s for a while and will look forward to his future projects! :)

  4. Rylan says:

    I am sad to hear the news that Kingdom will not be returning for a fourth season, I was enthusiastically looking forward to it.

  5. Krazy_B says:

    Russia is going to miss Kingdom…

  6. Sillogizm says:

    Russia will be miss it so much.

  7. juice says:

    :’(

    Kingdom has been a delight to watch. Looking forward to ‘Last Chance to See’. Great work, Mr. Fry. Best regards from Croatia.

  8. margi wiles says:

    Hi Stephen i am new to your site though i have been following you on twitter. but i am gutted to see that there will be no more Kingdom.
    a great programme with great actors. it was good to see Tony Slattery doing something again,i suffer with depression myself and know how difficult it can be.

  9. jayem says:

    I am a recent convert to Kingdom having for some reason missed it and have managed to catch up with Series 1 and 2 on dvds.

    Shame on ITV! This was such a good series, was always entertaining and amusing and had such excellent backdrops. Wonder what the ITV shareholders view is and on what basis ITV can justify its decision, given the obvious success of the programme and the positive effect it has had on tourism and the economy of Norfolk?

    Perhaps it is time for the project to be commissioned by a smaller independent company?!

  10. ymarkone says:

    It seems to me that if a show like Primeval can be resurrected, that a show like Kingdom MUST be resurrected. I understand that the majority of TV viewers are eagerly anticipating the Underwater, Topless, Midget, Mud Wrestling show that will undoubtedly take it’s place, but Kingdom was damned good and good for you. I urge you to request all your twits to write to ITV and request that it be resurrected. It’s the only second coming that I’m looking forward too!

  11. sabina says:

    What a sad news :( I’ve just started to watch Kingdom some weeks
    ago on Russian tv and I love it very very much. I think it is absoutely
    wonderful family series with good actors and nice script. And I’m so excited with the charming beautiful views there. Can’t believe that we won’t have chance to have more seasons. :(
    Thanks a lot Mr. Fry for your amazing job there it is always very gratefully to see you in any film or show and I still hope we’ll have Kingdom more.

  12. Defector says:

    Well, I’ve waited for my anger/frustration/surprise/bewilderment and so on – to subside since I heard this news, and I am sorry but I just cannot believe that ITV can be so short sighted, commercially inept and just plain idiotic.

    This series is a hit, the cast are superb,it is ideal Sunday(or any evening) viewing material and yet they cancel it.

    Please BBC, pick up on this superb series and commission at least another 2 series’!

    Let’s all write to the drama commissioning department at the Beeb.

    Phil

  13. Stop X Factor From Bankrupting ITV says:

    X Factor is bankrupting ITV and ‘Kingdom’ is suffering as a result. It’s that simple. Britain’s oldest and best loved commercial broadcaster is being screwed by the people behind X Factor while sport, news and other entertainment programmes on ITV are cut and hundreds of UK staff are laid off. To pay the extraordinary cost of X Factor, ITV has had to close studios, lay off young production staff and cancel hit shows. Alongside ‘Kingdom’, in the last 12 months This Morning and The Bill have had their airtime and budgets cut. Heartbeat and The Royal have both been dropped. The ITV production of A Passage To India has been cancelled. Both A Touch of Frost and The South Bank Show will close in 2010.

    ITV spends over £800 million on making TV programmes each year. 10% of this huge budget is now spent on just two shows – X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. The attempt to win a prime time audience through reality shows is bankrupting ITV financial and culturally.
    The new series of X Factor is more glossy, brash and expensive than ever before. It now costs £900k a week to stage X Factor.

    The cost of Cheryl Cole’s dancers alone on X Factor when she performed ‘Fight For Your Love’ was £106,000. The same weekend X Factor paid over £160,000 to fly Whitney Houston and her entourage into the UK appear on the programme. The enlarged studio and HD set at Fountains Studio where X Factor is set cost over £2.4 million to build. The bill for decorating Simon Cowell’s dressing room alone – complete with leather wallpaper and marble floors – came in at over £170k. By far the biggest cost to ITV is the salary paid to judge Simon Cowell: £20 million was paid to appear in X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent in 2008, far more than any other TV judge and more than four times the earnings of Ant & Dec.

    I have no idea what the budget was for Kingdom but have no doubt it would have continued to flourish if all that the money hadn’t been sunk into X Factor.

  14. Fan of Fry says:

    Hello! This is my first ever blog – how cool is that eh? I’ve just read that there is to be no more Kingdom! I can’t believe it! It was such a good series, with a fantastic cast. Gosh I hope ITV change their minds. There should have been some sort of conclusion I reckon. Well, guess I’ll just have to watch the DVDs…….

    Bye for now….

  15. ritapal says:

    Stephen

    Heaven knows whether you read any of these comments. Perhaps you do. I am a friend of Dr Liz Miller whom you know quite well. Today, I asked her to email you about a stranded dog at the RSPCA that requires re homing. He cannot find an owner at present. I wondered whether you would kindly tweet it for us. Anyhow, here is the dog – he is called Ben http://www.oldies.org.uk/?p=10184

    Hope you can do this one little favour :) and it is for a good cause!

    Regards

    Dr Rita Pal
    http://www.ward87.blogspot.com

  16. ElenaBG says:

    I so much like the English humor! I’ll really miss Kingdom!

  17. Rumpio says:

    Y’see, this is one of the things that puzzle me. Kingdom is made by an independent production company, right? So why don’t they just say “well if ITV don’t want it, we’ll take it elsewhere” ?

    Men Behaving Badly started out as an ITV show before moving to the BBC and becoming a huge hit. Why not Kingdom? It’s not as if it’s the sort of show the BBC would shy away from. You have the contacts I’m sure, Mr Fry, why not use them? So many quality shows are shelved by a tv channel never to be seen again when a pitch to “the other side” might prove fruitful.

    Kingdom doesn’t have to die just because ITV are cutting back on expenditure.

  18. I adore Stephen Fry says:

    oh crap, that is really sad news. Loved the series, and not just because I simply love anything that has the wonderful Mr Stephen Fry in it. Kingdom was funny and clever, with just the right amount of heart-warming bits; so well written, beautifully shot, and the cast were just superb!

    but of course with Kingdom there were no dodgy phone-in competitions, no filming in glitzy bad-taste locations like slave-built Dubai, and probably no scope for dubious manipulations of TV awards… add to that the fact that it was not a show for cretins really… he he he, it’s not a surprise that the morons at the top of ITV axed it – it is suprising that Kingdom came to be in the first place.

  19. Rory Haines says:

    I emailed ITV to protest at their decision not to commission a fourth series of this great series and got a standard PR speak reply that said nothing.

    My wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed every episode and cannot believe that viewers can be left in the air with the uncertainty over Peter Kingdom’s parentage at the end of the last episode of Series 3.

    It was well written and acted, gently humorous, and mercifully free of four letter words, with topical, up to date plot lines that were deftly woven together.

    Isn’t there another TV production company that would like to keep it going?

  20. Defector says:

    Rumpio said:

    “Y’see, this is one of the things that puzzle me. Kingdom is made by an independent production company, right? So why don’t they just say “well if ITV don’t want it, we’ll take it elsewhere” ?”

    Exactly!!!!!

    Surely there has to be someone out there that can see the value in commissioning such a brilliant series!

    Phil.

  21. Cornelia says:

    Dear Stephen

    Your comment regarding “lambs on ketamine” made me laugh. It is well-known in vetinary circles that ketamine can make a Shire horse immobile! Keep up the good work, although ‘Kingdom’ is ending we still have QI and your books to console ourselves with.

  22. JamesFrobisher says:

    That’s ITV for you. You must surely be able to raise enough to produce this yourself, without recourse to the barbarians of ITV..? Pass a virtual hat around your Twiterati so we can all buy shares! This series has “endless repeats” and “foreign dubs” written all over it. We’ll get our cash back with interest.

  23. JudithJeanne says:

    Just found this wonderful site – I adore all things Stephen Fry – and what’s the first thing I read? ITV is axing Kingdom. I can’t believe it. What a lovely, joyous and gentle series it is. The characters believable and loveable, especially the incomparable Mr. Fry, who obviously relished every moment. Thank God for QI and my dvd of Peter’s Friends, that’s all I can say!! Down with ITV – booooo :(

  24. pdrobi says:

    Well yet again the bosses of TV land bow to the wants of the many. Kingdom was a well made, well acted, well written and well loved show but alas it was not in the same league, viewing figures wise, as the trashy soaps that has a large number of people glued to them. Why do we all have to suffer and be subjected to such shallow, depressing and poorly made programs at the expense of quality. Well I for one will mourn the passing of a quality show.

  25. bswits says:

    I simply adored this show and am terribly disappointed that is has been cancelled. It was a warm, witty, and enjoyable show to watch. It’s just a shame.

  26. ManicCJ says:

    I’m at the “How dare they” stage. Kingdom is an amazing programme. A gently humourous drama. It is filled with beautiful countyside and sea views, a wonderful advertisement for Norfolk.
    Surely there must be another channel willing to take on this project.

  27. trzecia says:

    I am so sorry to see that this has been canceled. I am an American living in Canada. There is so little on TV these days. I rely on the UK to produce quality TV that I can enjoy. I am saddened by the loss of this wonderful program.

  28. Devonman says:

    I read that Stephen Fry is leaving Twitter. I was never in or on it, nor on Facebook or anything else. It is unsafe and unwise to leave all your personal details for everyone to see. The European Union will eventually turn into another kind of Soviet Union, and what better gift for a newly formed KGB to see all this information voluntarily supplied by the citizens of what might become an intrusive and oppressive regime of faceless bureacrats. My advice, come out of all these electronic sites and let them get their information by banging on your door at 3 o’clock in the morning like any other dictatorship worth its salt.

  29. The Comfy Chair says:

    Hum. This just goes to show what TV executives know. I remember reading in Eric Sykes’ autobiography that he was unceremoniously dumped by the Beeb shortly after receiving an award for his work.

    I assume that this aberration is to do with the bed-bound state of the county’s financial condition and that once the heat is off normal service will be resumed.

    After visiting Norfolk last year I can say that Kingdom certainly captures the feel of the place and for that reason alone it should live on. Kingdom for me was the dramatic equivalent of Southern Television’s ‘Country Ways’ and it filled a void left by Jack Hargreaves’ departure.

  30. annteeannt says:

    Re- stephen Fry leaving twitter.
    I hope this is nonsense. I have just read your honest and open article on your page and enjoyed it. I agree that I don’t know where twitter and its ilk will lead but they are exciting.
    I can remember when the internet was in its infancy my excitement at feeling that ordinary people around the world could communicate with one another. At this point everyone was thinking about how to aquire information or making money through selling goods. I think twitter and facebook have been worth waiting for and I really enjoy being able to talk to my son in Vietnam and my daughter in Glasgow as well as complete strangers. It feels good to be able to read a strangers views and find they can make me think again about an issue. It strikes me that celebrities can become ordinary people with their opinion on issues only on the internet. You may have more clout than I do but hey I think thats ok especially when the opinion you express is similar to mine and if I disagree I may write a comment.
    Please think about whether to leave or not. Can I suggest that maybe you sit back a bit and just take a middle road. You strike me as an all or nothing kind of guy but remember you can just be an ordinary punter Why not take a look once a week /or two weeks . I am new to twitter and really like your views but if you decide to go I will enjoy hearing your views in another medium but poor you, you wont hear mine or the other almost 900000 followers. I shall respect your decision and will always admire your honesty and openness and your general decency. Finally where are you gonna be able to apologise for your next cock up no pun intended. Lots of love ann t.

  31. Modeta says:

    So disappointed that Kingdom is to be no more. Probably going to be replaced with some ghastly ‘reality’ tripe. Bugger.

  32. REEPHAMBOOKWORM says:

    Hello Stephen,

    I have always loved this Programme of your’s Kingdom, also it features many spots here in Norfolk of which is where I live also.

    Loved the storyline to the scripts, and shall feel very upset to know that Kingdom will be no more.

    Bring back Kingdom.!!

  33. kpennington1982 says:

    Whilst I absolutely adored the idea of Stephen being in a show as Solicitor in Norfolk, I’m afraid I never managed to get into Kingdom. As a Solicitor who trained in Norfolk (and indeed who grew up here) I found it very difficult to get past the legal inaccuracies as compared to my own experiences. However, this is no reflection on Stephen whatsoever as I have the utmost respect for both him and his work. Sorry the series is being cancelled.

  34. rubylol says:

    I would just like to say it is an extreme shame that Kingdom is no longer. I work in Swaffham aka Market Shipborough and it was great to watch the scenes being filmed locally. My work is situated in a square where alot of filming was done and we have seen some funny shoots. One time over 2.5 days in particular for an episode with Tiger Lily’s shop in. This was filmed in the shop next door and I can honestly say my colleagues and I have never laughed so hard watching the charity shop transformed and the “props” going up in the window. I had the pleasure in meeting Karl Davies and John Thompson who kindly stopped to chat and have their photos taken but was not lucky enough to meet Stephen Fry in person(Stephen, you were in your car before I could get out of the branch door to ask if you would have your photo taken with us, your legs are a bit longer than mine :) The film crew were fantastic and always friendly, always chatting to us. Alot of the customers in the branch were extras and everyone is very disappointed there will not be another series. Please send our regards and thanks to everyone involved, you will all be missed. Well done on a great few series.

  35. Midgery Margery says:

    Daaaaamn! What sad news! Surely something can be done? The suggestion above to sell it to the BBC sounds sensible. We can’t let this happen.

  36. DavidRobertson says:

    Thats a shame Stephen I will miss Kingdom, but like you say all things come to an end, and im sure the next program will be just as good, Qi and last chance are ace, what fun it must be to have done the program last chance. stay happy stephen.
    all my best, David.

  37. Sam13397 says:

    NO more Kingdom! That is a descrace I will be personally writing a letter to ITV to be putting it back on air! Kingdom is such a British show, the fallouts and the scwables make it fun to watch, it reminds me of my life!
    In a good way though! I’m shocked to hear the bad news, but I will complane no the less and try to get a result!

  38. shummel says:

    Ah, what a shame! It was such a charming series. I fell in love with the characters and was anxiously waiting to see where they would be taken next. I will truly miss this series!

  39. AxmxZ says:

    This post leaves me full of hopeful melancholy. Soraengst, if I may.

  40. wafflefan says:

    Never saw the show as it’s not screened in Australia but anything Stephen is in is always good. I guess he’ll move to another project that we can enjoy. :)

  41. LauraMcGovern1983 says:

    It’s a shame. I really liked the series but got really annoyed when STV stopped showing it and other series like Doc Martin and The Bill to save costs. Hope to see Stephen in another drama/comedy series soon. Till then we will always have QI.

  42. LeighCarter says:

    I am very sorry this series will not continue. Not only was Stephen Fry’s performance wonderful, but the stories are genuinely compelling and entertaining in a lovely Sunday evening with a cup of tea sort of way. This kind of drama is what makes British television so treasured by people around the world. Pity that ITV cannot support it. I echo the question above, why can the independent production company shop it to BBC or another broadcast partner. Why does it have to end there.

    I just hope Stephen Fry will keep getting continued offers for this kind of part. We are just better off with him appearing regularly in our culture… I am happy to seek out his other projects through this site and elsewhere, but TV is in desperate shape and without actors like Stephen Fry.

  43. renny1966 says:

    Stephen…I hope you read this.
    Kingdom deserves a better ending than a cliff hanger that will never be resolved. We (all 5 million plus of us), deserve more than this. Perhaps we need to start a Star Trek-like campaign? A different network? Perhaps just a two hour special to answer and tie up all the questions.

    Please Stephen, viewers, Fry fans… don’t allow Kingdom to disappear without a formal farewell.

  44. yuan mei hua says:

    I’m crushed to read this news. Kingdom is such a charming and fun programme. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the next series. What will I do without my weekly visit to Market Shipborough?

  45. wgreshes says:

    With all the garbage on TV the geniuses at ITV cancel one of the finest shows I’ve ever seen. I live in America but got hooked on Kingdom when the first season was shown over here on PBS (Public Broadcasting System). Fortunately I’ve been able to watch season’s 2 and 3 on UTube (I have not watched the final episode yet, I’m savoring that moment).

    I have been a great fan of British TV for many years and I can honestly say that “Kingdom” ranks right up there with the best of them. Thanks to Stephen Fry and the entire cast and crew for your terrific work. And a big “Stuff it,” to ITV.

  46. ScoobySims says:

    “Rylan says:
    19 October, 2009 at 6:03 am
    I am sad to hear the news that Kingdom will not be returning for a fourth season, I was enthusiastically looking forward to it.”

    I agree with Rylan, and all the other posters.
    ITV are bang out of order cancelling this wonderful series. They are also cutting a lot of other good programs to make way for their reality tv shows.
    I hate the soaps (Corrie etc), I hate X Factor, Britains Got Talent and anything else in the same genre.
    ITV should give us some more good dramas, or get off the airways.

  47. penfold1969 says:

    Why don’t we organise a petition, hand to BBC,point out the millions of viewers, the fact there is really nothing in the schedule to battle with it, the opportunities for money out of box sets (a la Men Behaving Badly), books (a la Men Behaving Badly), etc.

    The series goes down a storm in the USA, BBC USA anyone? Come on, get thy thinking caps on and lets get this started… Word to the wise mullah whom ovesees all this, Stephen, old fruit, you have some clout in the Beeb still (having been one of it’s luminaries for many years), get them to launch a hostile take over for Kingdom, save thy kingdom…

  48. bebefryyounge says:

    Dear Mr itv producer

    please put kingdom back on rather than SHIT like x-factor and bgt and i’m a celeb

    otherwise i’ll do something i haven’t thought of yet

    annoyed kingdom fan who never got the ending!

  49. Debc says:

    What are the prodcuers thinking of!

    I cannot tell you how infuriated I am to hear it is to be axed.
    I love Kingdom and am disgusted (not of Tonbridge Wells) that it is finishing – it is one of the few things worth watching on TV.
    No doubt it is to make way for more rubbbish like talent shows and boring crime series – all very samey.

  50. Annecenters says:

    I am disappointed that there will not be a fourth season of “Kingdom”. The music, visuals, quirky characters, integrity of Peter Kingdom will be sorely missed. Who is his father then?

    I had never even heard of you before, but someone posted how good “Kingdom” was on my Facebook and I have been watching it ever since. I see the first year on Hulu and Season 2 and 3 on You Tube.

    Is there someway ITV would change its mind? I’d be glad to sign a petition.

    Thank you.

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