BBC drama chiefs were reluctant to speculate upon the likely impact on what has been one of the Beeb's biggest ratings bankers, but their press spokesmen, both in Belfast and London, were at pains to play down its significance, pointing out that Ballykissangel began to evolve into much more of an ensemble piece in the last series. It's not a coincidence that the hills around Holmfirth, the setting for Summer Wine, are alive to the sound of coach tours.
Viewers like the place and the scenery almost as much as the characters.
Nervous new SHO Rob Khalefa nearly kills the injured passenger by failing to insert a second drip and misses his fractured pelvis.
Ash takes pity on a homeless girl who has slit her wrists.
And there is a sense of continuity from the support actors. You might lose Nick Berry, you'll always have Bill Maynard as the lovable rogue. The producers anticipated that Tompkinson and Kirwan would quit after three series, so they started to take steps to ensure that the show ceased to be a star vehicle for them.
This delicate evolution will be turned up a few notches in the coming series.
I started to feel like a frightened little schoolboy myself.
The really unusual thing about this Thatcher, though, was how emotional she was.
The driver dies and his parents have different opinions about organ donation.
What do you do when you have a smash hit drama series and the central character - or even characters, plural - decide they've had enough? Evidence suggests that this needn't be a fatal development.
As Taggart, Dangerfield and Heartbeat have all amply demonstrated, even losing your biggest star needn't make a dramatic difference.
The Thatcher we saw last night (played by Lindsay Duncan) was almost a glamourpuss.
She had a wave of glossy blonde Hollywood hair and the immaculate bone-white pallor of Elizabeth I.
The film is an intimate portrayal of a woman on the brink of ruin; a very human story about the private Margaret behind the public persona as she loses her grip on the power she has strived so hard to achieve.