The end of Stephen Fry's Kingdom

IT was a dream job for actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry, filming on his doorstep and helping bring fame and fortune to Swaffham and other Norfolk towns.

IT was a dream job for actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry, filming on his doorstep and helping bring fame and fortune to Swaffham and other Norfolk towns.

But, after three series of the popular comedy drama, Kingdom, the Norfolk market town of Swaffham will no longer be dressed up as fictional Market Shipborough because the show has been axed by ITV.

When the first series was screened in 2007 it was watched by millions of viewers across the country every Sunday night and put its locations of Swaffham and coastal areas such as Wells and Holkham on the map. Swaffham became a tourist destination for viewers keen to see it for themselves.

And for Mr Fry, who starred as solicitor Peter Kingdom, it couldn't have been nearer to home, with his west Norfolk property a couple of miles down the road.

The cast included Celia Imrie as Gloria Millington, Tony Slattery as Sidney Snell and Karl Davies as Lyle Anderson.

But this week, on the social networking site Twitter, Mr Fry expressed his personal sadness that there is to be no fourth series. The last series ended in July with almost five million viewers.

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'Our masters at ITV have decided there shan't be a fourth series of the television drama Kingdom. I am sorry because it was such a pleasure making them in my beloved Norfolk,' he wrote.

Mr Fry, who is often seen in the check-out queues in local supermarkets, said he was sorry the series has come to an end because the crew of mostly local East Anglians was so cheerful, professional and delightful to work with.

He added: 'The cast of local people who cheerfully subjected themselves to the indignities of a background artist's day will all be missed and their memories cherished. But above all the people of those Norfolk towns and villages on which we descended for days on end.'

He talks of the citizens of Castle Rising, Wells and Swaffham, who put up with the programme makers' desire to control traffic which he describes as 'something of a vain, Canute-like hope in Swaffham's central butter market - Norfolk's Piccadilly Circus'.

Mr Fry bids an emotional farewell to the series on the site.

'It was a charming and cheerful experience for us all. I am lucky to live there much of the time - for the rest of the Kingdom cast and crew it will be a sad farewell and that was never properly said.'

His parting shot said: 'All things must pass. That is why we must be so grateful to Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory and mother of the muses. Heigh ho. Onward and upward.'

Swafham mayor David Harman said he was greatly disappointment that the Kingdom series had come to an end.

'It is a great disappointment, it is a shock but it was not a total surprise. It was a two-way partnership between the production crews and the townspeople and we thoroughly enjoyed having them in Swaffham, it really put the town on the map,' he said.

An ITV spokesman said: 'Kingdom has performed well for us over the last three years but we will not be developing any further episodes.

'As has always been the case, we are constantly looking at ways to refresh the mix of drama on ITV1 to ensure that we get the balance right between both old and new titles.'