Dame Eileen Atkins has said she will not appear in the next series of period drama Upstairs Downstairs, a show which she helped create.
The veteran actress conceived the idea for the original show – which ran from 1971-1975 – along with its star Jean Marsh, but did not appear until the series’ 2010 revival in which she played Lady Holland.
However according to the BBC News website Dame Eileen has opted out of the next series amid reports she is “unhappy” with the direction the scripts are taking.
“It’s with much sadness that we say goodbye to her wonderful character, the straight speaking mother-in-law Lady Holland,” a BBC statement said.
“However we respect her decision and will be announcing new star casting soon.”
The next six episodes of the show – which follows life above and below stairs in the home of a wealthy diplomat’s family – are due to begin filming in October, and will be broadcast in 2012, following the show’s successful revival last Christmas.
Co-creator Jean Marsh is the only cast member to have appeared in both the original and the 2010 version, which also featured Ed Stoppard, Claire Foy and Keeley Hawes.