13 Jan 2006, 01:29:38 PM

Channel Seven today announced that after 12 years on air, its Australian police drama series Blue Heelers will end its run on the Network in 2006.

Blue Heelers, the much-loved character based series about 'coppers' stationed in the fictional town of Mt Thomas, first screened on Seven in January 1994. The final series of 11 episodes will screen on Seven later this year, concluding with episode 510. This final episode will place Blue Heelers on an equal mark with Homicide, also screened on Seven, making them the longest running police drama series in Australian television history.

Seven's Director of Programming and Production, Mr Tim Worner, said:

“Blue Heelers is an institution and has long been the breeding ground for some of Australia's finest acting, writing and directing talent. Seven is very proud to have been a contributor to such a rich and successful program."

“We have a great deal of respect for Blue Heelers and its audience. Both Seven and the producers are committed to giving the program the farewell it deserves."

“John Wood deserves special recognition and our thanks. He has been with Seven for nearly 20 years, starting with Rafferty's Rules through to his award-winning portrayal of Sergeant Tom Croydon, the much loved country copper at Mt Thomas.”

During its 12 years of production, Blue Heelers achieved 24 Logies and numerous other awards and launched the careers of Lisa McCune, William McInnes, Grant Bowler, Tasma Walton and current cast members Ditch Davey, Rachel Gordon, Charlie Clausen and Samantha Tolj. It also confirmed John Wood's status as Australia's favourite actor.

Produced by Southern Star for Seven, Blue Heelers enriched Australian television history and has been responsible for many of its most momentous occasions, establishing an industry first with the incredible live to air episode in 2004.

The final season of Blue Heelers will return to Seven in 2006.