A SECOND series of the BBC's hit A Country Parish, featuring Seend vicar the Rev Jamie Allen, has been put on the back burner at the request of the star himself.

Although Mr Allen hasn't said that the filming of the first series, which was broadcast in February and March, was intrusive, he has asked the BBC to hold fire on a new series, to give him a chance to develop relationships with his flock without a TV camera peering over his shoulder.

He wrote in a recent issue of the parish magazine: "After some excessive degree of agonising, I have reached a conclusion regarding the BBC's proposal for a second series of A Country Parish. I hope you feel, with me, it is the correct line to take at this time."

In the letter to the BBC, he wrote: "Pastorally, I feel that the parish and its priest need time to develop and grow together, independent of any scrutiny, however sensitively it is carried out.

"Might I suggest that we allow this priest and his flock a breathing space of perhaps 12 months from the first series, and then reinvestigate whether a working agreement between yourselves, 'the media' and ourselves, 'the Church' can be successfully established."

He thanked the TV crew for their sensitivity and thoughtfulness. He said: "The production team could not have been more careful and respectful of my work."

Mr Allen said: "Many people enjoyed watching the recent television series A Country Parish. The series was such a pleasure to make, and the vast majority of the feedback has been excellent.

"It was encouraging, then, that the BBC approached the Church again, to ask for a further series to be filmed this year. However, the overall feeling, on consulting all those involved, was that it felt too soon to undertake a second series in this parish."

A spokesman for the BBC confirmed it had agreed to Mr Allen's wishes but expressed hope that A Country Parish would return.

She said: "It would be a real shame if we didn't see Jamie on our screens again. He is such an engaging character. The viewers love him."

Since his arrival in Seend Mr Allen has become something of a local celebrity and has taken up many requests to open fetes and fairs all over the county.

The series followed Mr Allen and his wife and three daughters from their previous parish in urban Nuneaton and covered daily life in his new rural parish, which also includes Poulshot and Bulkington,

Some of his parishioners also became household names, including Estelle Holloway with whom he had a difference on opinion on hunting, and brothers Joe and Daniel Baber, whose reconciliation he engineered.

Up to three million people tuned into A Country Parish, which went out on BBC2 on Tuesday evenings. Due to viewer response, the BBC has devoted a section of its website to Mr Allen on www.bbc.co.uk/countryparish.