Filming will begin on the third, eight-part series later this year, the fourth series of a further eight one-hour episodes is due to be shot in 2006.

Jane Tranter, Controller Drama Commissioning, says: “Double commissioning is designed to allow independent production companies the creative freedom to think further forward with their development of long running drama for the BBC.  This is a clear commitment from us to continuing to secure the very best drama for our audience, and another way of making BBC commissioning more nimble.”

New Tricks is a Wall to Wall series, starring Alun Armstrong, James Bolam and Dennis Waterman as three cops brought out of retirement to re-examine unsolved crimes under the leadership of Amanda Redman’s Superintendent Pullman.

Alex Graham, chief executive of Wall to Wall, says: “The commitment to a two series deal by the BBC is a vote of confidence in one of their most popular and successful shows and also marks a new phase in the developing creative partnership between Wall to Wall and the BBC.”

John Yorke, Controller of Continuing Drama Series and Head of Independent Drama, says: “It is notoriously difficult to get comedy drama right, so it is a credit to the excellent acting and dedicated team behind New Tricks that they have pulled it off so successfully.  The series has quickly won a loyal audience and with a double commission secured the brilliant team are committed for at least a further two years.”

New Tricks is created by Roy Mitchell and Nigel McCrery.  The current series is produced by Tom Sherry and directed by Jon East, Martyn Friend, Juliet May and Graham Theakston.  Executive producers are Mike Dormer and Alex Graham.  The production team for the third series has yet to be confirmed.

Wall to Wall Television’s previous credits in drama include the award-winning A Rather English Marriage, Our Boy, Sex Chips & Rock ‘n’ Roll, Glasgow Kiss, You Me and It, A Statement of Affairs, Plotlands and Agatha Christie.