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EDITIONS
Monday, 20 May, 2002, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
Ally McBeal bows out
Calista Flockhart
Calista Flockhart starred as Boston lawyer McBeal
Quirky lawyer Ally McBeal took her final bow on Monday night as the show ended after five years.

The US series starring Calista Flockhart was axed after ratings went into freefall.

The last show saw many friends and lovers from Ally's past return for a grand finale.

The thirtysomething comedy became a huge success when it first launched, becoming a new breed of watercooler TV - a show which elicits much conversation between fans.

Robert Downey and Calista Flockhart
Robert Downey Jr was a big hit when he joined the cast
But after the lead character suffered one broken heart after another those committed viewers began to ebb away.

The show's creator, David E Kelley, drafted in a host of famous faces to breath new life into the show including rock singer Jon Bon Jovi, Friends' star Matthew Perry and Barry Humphries of Dame Edna Everage fame.

Ally McBeal was portrayed as a needy woman who struggled to juggle her career and a love life - something which did not endear her to feminists.

Dancing baby

The show won two Golden Globes and an Emmy for best comedy.

Fantasy sequences, a dancing baby, bizarre legal cases and an eccentric lead character all went into making Ally McBeal one of the surprise hits of the late 90s.

Guest appearances over the years have included Mariah Carey, Sting, Barry Manilow and Barry White.

But critics considered the format had become tired and despite the introduction of new characters there was to be no resurgence of the McBeal phenomenon.

Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi has played McBeal's love interest
One of the biggest disappointments for fans was the loss of actor Robert Downey Jr, who played Ally's boyfriend Larry.

Although a popular character, producers despaired of Downey Jr's off camera turmoil and his battle with drugs and finally wrote him out of the show.

Kelley blamed the downturn in viewing figures on the difficulty of keeping the format new and exciting.

"There are only so many stories like this you can do," he said.

"We've moved sexual harassment law probably beyond where the law is at this point."

British fans can see the final episode on E4 on 9 July, and on Channel 4 later in the year.

See also:

17 Sep 01 | Entertainment
22 Oct 01 | Entertainment
24 Oct 00 | Entertainment
27 Apr 01 | Entertainment
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