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A Farewell Visit

Nicholas Rhea describes one last visit to the Heartbeat studios:

Peter Walker (Nicholas Rhea) on the 'Heartbeat' set with his granddaughters

"On Friday 6 March 2009, I took two of my grand-daughters, Eleanor and Anna, and their Mum, Janet, to the Heartbeat Studio to watch the shooting of several scenes for Episode 20. Eleanor, 15, has been a fan, since she first visited the set in Goathland in her baby buggy.

It was an especially poignant visit as we had just been given the news that Heartbeat will probably not continue after the current series. The cast and crew were very concerned, as many have been with the series right from the start. They work so well together, like one big happy family.

However, we were warmly welcomed on set and felt most privileged to see what goes on behind the scenes. We were invited to sit in front of monitors as the make-up team checked every fine detail as it would appear when finally screened - not a hair was allowed to be out of place. We watched the costume department at work, ensuring the cast never lost their continuity and the sound engineer explained how he coped with unwanted background noise.

Later, during breaks from filming, the actors came over to chat to us - the ones who joined recently, like Joe McFadden (Joe), Rupert Ward-Lewis (PC Don Wetherby), Lisa Kay ((Carol), Nikki Sanderson (Dawn) Gwen Taylor (Aunt Peggy), and those who have been there since the first episodes like Tricia Penrose (Gina), Derek Fowlds (Oscar), Bill Simons (Ventress), Peter Benson (Bernie) and David Lonsdale (David). In fact we met the whole cast who were working that day.

Recently there have been reports of the demise of Heartbeat and on Wednesday 11 March, ITV's chief operating officer, John Cresswell, called the cast and crew to a private meeting in Whitby. He spoke to the Whitby Gazette and confirmed that ITV is "standing down the production of the show", but would not say if or when it will be back. Brian Taylor of Goathland Post Office, who started a petition to save Heartbeat, presented a letter to Mr Cresswell on behalf of the 15,000 people who have signed the petition so far. Brian has vowed to continue the fight and you can read the Whitby Gazette report, and watch a video recording of scenes outside the meeting.

Heartbeat will be back on screen in April, and we can look forward to seeing 18 episodes. So keep watching, enjoy the repeats, sign the petition and, fingers crossed, Heartbeat could be revived...."

Read about an earlier visit to the studios or return to the Heartbeat main page