The BBC is the UK's Olympics broadcast rights holder
The BBC is the UK's Olympics broadcast rights holder REUTERS

BBC1 spy drama Spooks is being axed after almost a decade on air.

The upcoming series 10 of Spooks will be its last and will begin next month.

There had been speculation that the show would end after its run last year, so it was a surprise in the first place that a series 10 got commissioned, said Den of Geek.

Although the BBC is facing cuts due to a licence fee freeze, the corporation said it was producer Kudos's suggestion to end Spooks, reports the Guardian.

Programme-makers said it was the right time to make way for "new spy dramas which reflect the changing world around us".

The MI5 drama hit the headlines during the first series after one of the main protagonists Helen Flynn, played by actress Lisa Faulkner, was killed when her head was plunged into a deep-fat fryer.

Spooks's fast pace and complex plots were ground-breaking at the time and it became a hit for the BBC.

The scripted drama show has been no small achievement in the UK, regularly pulling in audiences of more than 6 million and fuelling the careers of many interesting writers and directors.

Stars of the series have included Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, Rupert Penry-Jones and Hermione Norris, with guests over the years including Hugh Laurie, Lindsey Duncan and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The final, 10th series which promises to be a cracking one, sees Alice Krige and Jonathan Hyde joining the cast, with Simon Russell Beale returning as home secretary.

BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson said the show would bow out with "what promises to be a fittingly high-octane thrilling finale", quoted The Independent.

He said the show had "challenged convention with its topical, fast-paced, contemporary style" and helped re-define drama on BBC1.