Top rib-tickling talent Tim Vine, has walked out of BBC1 comedy Not Going Out leaving fellow cast members in the lurch.
His unexpected move comes after BBC bosses ordered two more series of the popular series starring Lee Mack.
Speaking to The Sun, Vine admitted that he is looking for new challenges having spent six years with the show.
âIâm great friends with everyone on the cast and Iâve had a great time doing itâ?, he said. âBut after five series I simply fancied a change.â?
The show has already suffered the loss of award-winning comedienne Miranda Hart, who left after the 2009 Christmas special having joined the show in series two.
A friend of Timâs â brother to Radio 4 presenter Jeremy – added: âTim loves the show and it has made him a big star. But he has now had enough. Heâs got lots of other work coming in and is keen to try other things.
âHeâs been doing the show for six years and has been through the highs and lows.
âBut he figures he may as well quit while he is ahead and make the most of his popularity.â?
The loss of Vine â who plays Lee Mackâs best friend in the show â is likely to come as a major blow to the team who currently manage to pull in around five million viewers each week.
Long-time fans of the show can presumably expect some major plot shakeups as bosses contend with a distinct lack ofâ¦well, characters.
Last night a BBC insider said: âWeâll be introducing some exciting new characters in the next series. Itâs now what might be termed a long-running sitcom. It has had several changes of cast along the way and has grown audience rather than lost it.â?
Whether audience will stick with the show after the disappearance of such a central character remains to be seenâ¦