It’s been a grim week for British fantasy television with the BBC ruthlessly swinging the axe to BBC3’s IN THE FLESH and CBBC’s WIZARDS VS ALIENS (which is said to be ‘on hiatus’ for financial reasons). Now comes the news that the Corporation will not be commissioning Saturday night adventure drama ATLANTIS for a third season. The series, created by Johnny Capps, Julian Murphy and Howard Overman - the team behind the BBC’s hugely-successful Saturday night series MERLIN - tells of the exploits of modern-day explorer Jason (Jack Donnelly) who finds himself plunged back through Time to ancient Atlantis (before it sank beneath the waves) where he teams up with Pythagoras (Robert Emms) and Hercules (Mark Addy) to battle monsters and Gods and evil forces working against Atlantis itself.
The series commenced its first series in September 2013 and scored an impressive total audience of 7.36 million viewers, which the BBC reported as its biggest ‘new Saturday night drama’ launch since 2006. But audience interest quickly fell away; a second series was commissioned in October 2013 but by the time the final episode screened in December 2013 ratings had fallen to 4.90 million. The second series, which began last November, started with a stronger 5.32 million, tailing off to a low of 4.49 before rising to 5.69 for the sixth episode of the series, screened on December 20th. The final seven episodes of the series are expected to air in the Spring.The BBC told Digital Spy, “We would like to thank Urban Myth Films and all the cast and crew but the series will not be re-commissioned. We are very proud of both series but to keep increasing the range of BBC One drama we have to make difficult decisions to bring new shows through."
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