Hugely acclaimed Sarah Lancashire series Julia cancelled days after UK release

The axe has been swung on one of the most-acclaimed US shows, days after its release in the UK.

It was announced on Thursday (11 January) that streaming service Max had cancelled Julia, the comedy drama series starring Happy Valley actor Sarah Lancashire as chef Julia Child.

This development further cements the fact that quality rarely factors into business decisions about the future of TV projects – Julia’s first two seasons were a huge hit among critics and viewers, receiving unanimous praise. It has a 96 per cent score on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

But less than a week later on Wednesday (10 January), Max, which was formerly known as HBO Max, confirmed that Julia – which also starred Isabella Rossellini and Judith Light – would not be returning for a third season.

A representative for Max told Deadline: “We are so honoured to have partnered with [showrunner] Chris Keyser, Daniel Goldfarb and their masterful creative team and dynamic cast, led by Sarah Lancashire, as they cooked up Julia.

“Thanks to their beautiful work over two seasons of this heartful, sensual, and inspiring show, we can forever celebrate the incredible legacy of Julia Child.”

Showrunner Keyser said: “Daniel, Erwin and I loved the show, loved making it, and the people we made it with. We’re grateful for that and to [Max executives] Sarah Aubrey and Suzanna Makkos for giving us the chance.”

Both seasons of Julia will remain available to stream on Max in the US.

On social media, a number of the show’s stars lamented the end of Julia and celebrated its two season run.

Sarah Lancashire and David Hyde Pierce in ‘Julia’ season two (HBO)
Sarah Lancashire and David Hyde Pierce in ‘Julia’ season two (HBO)

Crazy Ex Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom, who appeared on the second season of Julia, wrote on Instagram: “Julia was a beautiful show to work on with wondrous people and I’m so sad to hear that season 2 will be its last.

Her co-star Erin Neufer called the show “a wonderful ride”, while actor Brittany Bradford wrote: “Honestly feeling nothing but absolute JOY that I got to do two whole seasons of TV with such awesome people.” Fans reacted to news of the show’s cancellation with outcry, calling it “gutting” and “terrible”.

Julia took inspiration from Child’s life and her popular TV show The French Chef. Other actors have played Child before British actor Lancashire – most notably Meryl Streep in the 2009 Nora Ephron film Julie and Julia.

In a four-star review published just last week, The Independent’s critic Nick Hilton praised Julia, branding it “the real thing”.

“In the end, the show prioritises taste over bite. But that’s no bad thing,” he wrote. “[This is] a show that honestly wants to appeal to its audience’s better instincts, their love of finer things and fuller hearts. And like some of the most delicious dishes on earth – from panna cotta to foie gras – you won’t even need to put your dentures in to enjoy it.”