After all the waiting for it to come to air, all the column inches devoted to its ups and downs, a last minute shortening of its name, mixed reviews and a respectable 3.6 million audience, ITV has finally admitted that comedy drama Jane Hall will be axed after just one series.
Life was never easy for Jane Hall in the programme, but life for the programme itself led an even more tortuous dance. The series finished filming in May 2004 and was due to air in October of that year. It was pulled from the schedules at least four times and was the victim of staffing changes at ITV but they finally settled on a July release this year – two years after the show had been put in the can. Then, just before it aired, ITV decided to change its name to “just” Jane Hall from the original Jane Hall’s Big Bad Bus Ride.
Even with all these problems it still achieved a sizeable audience, especially when compared to some of the other offerings ITV forced on us through the summer, but while it was lauded in some newspapers it was roundly panned by others. For me, it never really gelled as a comedy. Even though there were a few really good laughs in it, they were TOO few, and spread too thinly to lift Jane Hall above the mundane. Even with a very strong line-up of cast (including Sarah Smart, Gillian Taylforth, Geraldine James and a pre-Green Wing Stephen Mangan) the individual plots were often far-fetched and the running stories just not interesting enough to fire the enthusiasm. ITV clearly agreed and a spokeswoman has confirmed that it will not be coming back, although no definite reason or explanation has been given to producers Red Productions.