Doctor Blake fans protest hit show's surprise cancellation

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Dr Lucien Blake left Ballarat as a young man, but now he finds himself returning to take over his late father's medical practice and serve as the town's on-call police surgeon.

Never get between murder-mystery enthusiasts and their favourite television show.

Diehard fans of ABC TV's Doctor Blake have started an online petition demanding the national broadcaster reverse its decision to cancel the top-rating drama.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 5400 people had signed the Change.org petition. Organisers say they are "devastated" and "angry" with the ABC's decision to cancel Doctor Blake after its fifth season.

Dr Alice Harvey (Belinda McClory) and Dr Lucien Blake (Craig McLachlan) in The Doctor Blake Mysteries.
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Dr Alice Harvey (Belinda McClory) and Dr Lucien Blake (Craig McLachlan) in The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

The petition hopes to encourage the ABC to change its mind. More than 2000 people put their name on the petition within the first 24 hours.

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ABC head of scripted production, Sally Riley, said in a statement last week that Dr Blake had a "sensational run" on national television.

"We feel that the time is right to go out while we are still on top," she said. "We have a fantastic final season still to come and we look forward to wrapping the series up with a satisfying movie-length finale, as we bid farewell to an Australian TV icon."

However fans aren't happy with this explanation, mobilising in their hundreds in an attempt to whip up a grassroots campaign aimed at getting the ABC to change its mind. A Facebook group has been set up, and even a "SaveDrBlakeMysteries" Twitter account.

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Craig McLachlan, the man who plays Doctor Blake himself, has taken to social media to share the "disappointing news".

"Like Poirot or Midsummer Murders, I always believed The Doctor Blake Mysteries could run and run[SIC]," he said. "Certainly, one might think the viewing figures at home in Australia alone would support the notion … there really is no business quite like show business."

Season five of Doctor Blake is due out later this year, followed by a telemovie to wrap up the beloved series.

 

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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