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High Road's future rests on network decision

TAKE the High Road, Scottish Television's popular drama serial, is under threat because the new ITV Network Centre has not yet decided to recommission it.

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In the meantime, because the regions south of the Border are so far behind in their transmissions, the series is to play once a week instead of two in Scotland from Monday, May 17. Scottish viewers are several months ahead of England and Wales.

The 30 regular members of the cast and the team of six writers must wait for word that the series would continue.

A spokesman for Scottish said: ''The new network centre has just been set up and is looking hard at every long-running series.''

He apologised for the station having to ration the programme in Scotland.

He said that under the new scheduling arrangements, if High Road is recommissioned, English audiences, with two episodes a week, will have caught up with the transmissions, making it possible to publicise the same episode throughout the UK to boost ratings, something which cannot be done at present.

High Road regularly attracts more than a million viewers in Scotland in its peak-time slots on Scottish and Grampian. In England it is transmitted at different times in the afternoon, but still attracts up to three million viewers.

The serial, filmed mainly at Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond, was launched in 1980. Originally it went out in short runs for a few months each year. Subsequently it was commissioned by ITV to run once a week, then twice-weekly.

A spokeswoman for the Network Centre said in London last night: ''It could be several weeks before a decision is taken.''

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