JK Rowling was left “crying her eyes out” over the ending of her televised novel The Casual Vacancy, despite fans complaining about changes.
The Harry Potter author gave her seal of approval to the series which was based on her first adult book – even after writer Sarah Phelps altered the original ending to make it “less grim”.
The three-part BBC version brought an alternative, happier ending, with one character spared a tragic and untimely death.
The final episode, aired on Sunday night, saw 4.6 million people tune into BBC One, two million fewer than its launch.
Rowling, who watched the final episode live, took to Twitter to congratulate the screenwriter and production team, thanking them for their adaptation.
She wrote: “Well, that’s me crying my eyes out, so job done. Serves me right, some might say. Thank you, thank you xxx.”
Phelps praised Rowling for being “so classy and generous and brilliant” about the changes, after she was granted the seal of approval to have free reign over the characters.
The different ending brought mixed reactions from fans who took to social media to express their views.
Superfan Johnnie Blue, who has in the past received a letter of support from Rowling after he revealed he was bullied at school, wrote: “Even though the ending was different, it really does capture the book perfectly.”
Catriona Child wrote: “Almost glad they changed the ending, that was heartbreaking enough.”
However, Alexandra Hepburn disagreed: “The tragic, harrowing ending is one of The Casual Vacancy book’s best redeeming features. The TV adaptation made it a bit empty and pointless.”
The novel, set in Pagford, a fictional West Country village, explores poverty, deprivation, drug addiction, child neglect, domestic abuse and a middle class turning a blind eye. Its teenage protagonist must cope with a drug-addled mother and the demands of looking after her infant brother.
The drama stars Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Keeley Hawes and Rory Kinnear.