London's Burning was a mainstay of ITV's Sunday night scheduling during the late 80's and 90's. The series emerged from the TV film written by the late and great Jack Rosenthal and followed a group of fire fighters belonging to Blue Watch at London's Blackwall fire station.
Initially the series kept a lot of Rosenthal's influence. The humour was lively with station pranks and the loves and lives of the watch being the backbone of the series. In between all this were the fires and other shouts which helped to highlight the diverse work of the fire brigade as their role has changed over the shows lifespan. A few dark moments relating to death or injury of the fire fighters or victims put a dark edge on the show which helped to prevent it from becoming a farce and the whole package made for extremely addictive viewing.
Sadly the last few series beginning in 2000 started the downward spiral. By 2000, most of the original cast had left as they had become disillusioned with the writing or wanted to pursue other opportunities before they became typecast. Their replacements were usually dour characters that had plenty of personal baggage and the humorous aspects were replaced by deep thoughts and crisis in relationships. ITV also tried to increase the number of episodes per year whilst reducing the budget which diminished the number of spectacular fires that the brigade would attend in a series and it became more of a soap rather than the refreshing series that it had been when it first started.
Eventually around 2001 the series was axed and it has now been replaced by Steel River Blues which has all the promise to be like London's Burning was in the early days.