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Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Xena gets the axe
Lucy Lawless
Lucy Lawless: Gay icon
US television show Xena: Warrior Princess is to end after five years in production and more than 100 episodes.

The sword and sorcery fantasy series which follows the fortunes of she-warrior Xena has earned a cult following in the last half-decade.


Every modern gay's fave-rave pin-up

Esquire magazine on Xena

The programme's star Lucy Lawless has become a lesbian icon and is one of New Zealand's most famous faces.

The show is filmed in New Zealand but is produced by Studio USA.

Fans meet in their thousands at Xena conventions and regular theme nights are held in her honour at lesbian bars, according to Channel 5, which broadcasts the show in the UK.

Esquire magazine described Xena as "every modern gay's fave-rave pin-up".

The final episode will be shot early next year and then broadcast in the US in the summer 2001.

Xena is a spin-off of Hercules, a similar myths-and-muscles programme and made by the same company, but has outlasted its progenitor.

'Fighting the dark side'

Lawless was originally one of the local New Zealand extras in Hercules, made in Auckland.

But when original female lead Vanessa Angel fell ill, Lawless was drafted into the production.

Lawless played Xena for three episodes of Hercules before the spin -off series was born.

She is married to the programme's producer and creator Rob Tapert.

Sam Raimi, one of the show's other producers, is the celebrated director of Evil Dead, A Simple Plan and the co-author of the Cohen brothers' movie The Hudsucker Proxy.

On the Xena website Lawless described her character as "a woman with the devil on her shoulder, who is constantly fighting the darker side of her own nature."

The series may be destined to end on television but the legend could live on - Xena's animated adventures are available for download on the official Xena website.

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18 Mar 99 | Entertainment
Xena under fire from Hindu group
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