BLACKPOOL'S summer season has been dealt a hammer blow with the news the Pleasure Beach's Hot Ice show will not be staged next year.
The world's longest running ice spectacular has been shelved for extensive renovation work to take place at the fun park's Ice Arena.
"This has been an extremely difficult decision to take, due to the importance of live theatre within our industry and the importance of live theatre within our resort," said Pleasure Beach managing director Amanda Thompson.
"But the arena needs extensive renovation, which will take much longer than we originally anticipated.
"We hope the show will return in the not too distant future. Live entertainment remains an integral part of the Pleasure Beach experience and we will be announcing our 2009 shows programme in the New Year."
Blackpool's historic ice show recently enjoyed a new lease of life following the success of TV ratings buster Dancing On Ice.
News of it being pulled has left ice fans devastated, although the arena will be open throughout 2009 for public skating.
A spokesman for Blackpool Ice Figure Skating Club said: "All our skaters are fans of the show and will be disappointed it's not going to be on this year.
"But we are pleased the Christmas show is going ahead and hope to see Hot Ice back soon."
The axing of Hot Ice is the third blow to the resort's tourism industry in just a week.
Hopes of opening a National Theatre Museum, which would have seen displays from the Victoria & Albert transferred from London's Covent Garden to the Fylde coast, were dashed as the move would have cost 60m.
And Blackpool's bid to become a World Heritage site was this week shrouded in doubt after the Government ordered a re-think of which sites are nominated.
Coun Maxine Callow, Blackpool Council cabinet member for regeneration and tourism, said she hoped Hot Ice would return in the near future once the necessary repairs have been made.
She added: "The decision to cancel next year's production must not have been easy and is a great shame for the resort.
"The bright side is public ice skating will still be available and I would encourage people to make use of the opportunity to have a go at the sport.
"Blackpool offers a wide selection of wonderful variety and theatrical productions throughout the year, so residents and visitors will still be able to enjoy live entertainment, including the other Pleasure Beach shows."
The Children's Christmas Ice show will still take place at the Pleasure Beach from December 22 to January 1.