Once we’ve had a glimpse of Paradise it seems there’s nothing else that can compare - which is why viewers of an axed BBC costume drama aren’t willing to let it go without a fight.
Fans of The Paradise were left stunned when TV bosses decided to scrap the North East-made series, following a fall in viewing figures, and were quick to launch a social media campaign to bring it back.
A Save The Paradise petition, which has 5,000 signatures, is now catching on abroad with new fans joining the call for a third series and an Italian fan page on Facebook decorated with images of stars Emun Elliott and Joanna Vanderham.
At the time it was cancelled a spokesman said: “We are incredibly proud to have made two successful series of period drama The Paradise. However in order to make room new dramas to come through, The Paradise won’t be returning.”
But that has not been accepted by viewers left hanging at the end of the second series of the period drama, which was filmed at the Lambton Estate in County Durham, who remain desperate to know how the romantic entanglements and convoluted plot might play out.
Among the comments on the online petition which describes it as “a beautiful and much-loved series around the world” is Lauren Sloan of Cheltenham saying: “The Paradise is one of the best period dramas I have viewed on TV,” while Emilia Middleton from Houston in Texas says: “Since the first time I watched The Paradise I fall in love with it! Is one of the best drama I have watched!”
As well as the US, The Paradise has been shown as far afield as Australia and sold to Italy and Russia.
In response to one fan’s suggestion that the Lambton Estate set could be opened for tours, a Doris Richardson from Adelaide responded: “Well I for one would come home from Oz for that kind of visit!”
One fan, Marilyn Mudd, who is from the North East but now lives in Surrey, says the loss of the series is a blow to the region in general, including the pool of 100 local extras who regularly found work on it.
She said: “I’m concerned with what it could do for the North East when you think of the amount of money spent by the cast and crew over five months on accommodation and extras.
“We want to encourage more productions to the North East and I think cancelling dramas like The Paradise certainly doesn’t help.”
She suggests that if the BBC can’t be swayed, there may still be a way to rescue the drama in a similar way that period drama Ripper Street was saved after it too was axed by the channel. A new series is being made with the support of internet giant Amazon.
“With Ripper Street, which was made by a production company and the BBC, there was a big petition with 40,000 signatures which persuaded Amazon to finance the production of a new series,” she said. “Amazon are going to stream the new series then the BBC will show it.”
Interest from a production company, like Amazon or Netflix, could save the day if the BBC agreed to the commission, she said.
As for the campaign, she added: “A lot of people are passionate about The Paradise and it will keep going.”