Casualty's last scene in Bristol
A QUARTER of a century of TV history will come to an end next week when the BBC films its last ever episode of Casualty in Bristol.
Landmarks in the city including the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Harbourside have provided the backdrop for the longest-running medical drama on television for the last 25 years.
The BBC announced two years ago that it was moving the production of the popular series to Cardiff in a bid to save money.
The announcement sparked anger in Bristol and it was estimated that the production is worth at least £25 million a year to the city's economy.
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The news that filming was finally coming to an end in the city has been branded as a "disappointment" by Bristol's tourism body.
John Hirst, from Destination Bristol, said: "It is disappointing that Casualty decided to leave Bristol.
"Although it didn't necessarily bring in extra visitors for Bristol, it is always disappointing when organisations choose to establish themselves elsewhere.
"I hope they review the situation in the future and come back to Bristol – we want to make Bristol the centre of everything."
Cast members, actor turned TV presenter Tony Robinson and the South West Screen organisation have all campaigned against the move without any success.
The cast and crew of the drama are in the process of filming the 25th series of the drama, currently being shown on Saturday night.
A farewell party for cast and crew is being held on Friday, August 19, at the series production base in a nondescript building on a trading estate in the St Phillip's area of the city. Many of the stars of the show live in the city along with the production team and the film crew.
The first episode of the drama was aired in September 1986 and ran for a total of 14 episodes. The current series runs around the year and only takes a break for live events such as the World Cup and the Eurovision Song Contest.
MPs also fought to keep the drama in Bristol but the BBC have pressed ahead with the move to a drama village in Cardiff Bay which is also used by Doctor Who and Torchwood.
Crews filming on location in Bristol have become a common part of life in the city with a range of disasters and accidents recreated on the streets of Bristol. Disasters have included car bombs, plane crashes, gas explosions and even shootings.
The show is famous for producing stars and no less than three Oscar nominees – Brenda Fricker, Kate Winslet and Pete Postlethwaite – have appeared on the show.
Other stars who have appeared on the series down the years before making it big have included Orlando Bloom, Ray Winstone, Minnie Driver and Christopher Eccleston.
The show is one of the BBC's most successful programmes and regularly attracts audiences of more than five million viewers.
Down the years there have been more than 780 episodes and there have been 150 actors who have made regular appearances on the programme.
Even though a number of programmes have left Bristol, the BBC has said it remains committed to the city. The organisation is looking to move out of its headquarters in Whiteladies Road and is looking for a new building.
The world-famous Natural History Unit will remain in the city along with local programmes and news.