LEWIS star Kevin Whately has said he only wants to appear in one more series of the Oxford-based TV drama.

The actor, 63, has been playing detective Robbie Lewis for nearly three decades, first with John Thaw in Inspector Morse.

Now the Oxford-set drama is returning to ITV for an eighth series, just two years after stars Whately and co-star Laurence Fox appeared to call time on the show.

In 2010 the former Auf Wiedersehen Pet star told the Oxford Mail that the fifth series could be the penultimate series, but four years on the drama series is still going strong.

Now Mr Whately has told the Radio Times: “I would probably do one more but everything has a life span and I think it's gone on long enough.

“There were 33 Inspector Morse stories and we've now done 30 Lewis.

“I suppose it's a sentimental thing but I wouldn't want to do more Lewis than we did Morse because I do still think of it as an offshoot.

“There's the age thing as well — I'm older than John Thaw was when he died.

“It's a long time to play one character, but sometimes it only feels like yesterday that we started.”

Mr Whately revealed that before he teamed up with Laurence Fox he imagined playing alongside a different actor.

He said: “When this whole thing was being set up, I said I wanted a young female Muslim sidekick — I just thought it would be more interesting.

“These cop shows can be pretty samey and it was one variation that I didn't think had been done.”

Mr Fox added: "I think that if you've had a bad day, then there's a soothing quality to Lewis.

“There's the lovely music, this beautiful city and these two men who are just gently walking around.

He added: "It's much more plot-heavy than it ever used to be — I always try to fight for a bit more character-based drama but these days less is left hanging in the air.”

Entry Wounds, episode one of series eight, the first of six new episodes, goes out on ITV on Friday, October 10, from 9pm to 10pm.