The Simpsons 'in its last year', claims man who wrote the theme tune

They infamously said they'll never stop The Simpsons, but the end could be in sight.

Danny Elfman, who composed the show's famous theme tune, dropped the bombshell during a chat with Irish news site JOE at the weekend.

He and the interviewer were 18 minutes into a chat about soundtracks he scored for Tim Burton movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas, when talk turned to the longevity of the animated show and whether it was past its prime.

"Well, from what I've heard, it is coming to an end. So, that argument will also come to an end," Elfman said.

"I don't know for a fact, but I've heard that it will be in its last year... I could be wrong, but all I can say is that I'm so flabbergasted and amazed that it has lasted as long as it did."

Elfman's connection to the show ended with the first season, so it's not clear how reliable his claim is. From 1990 - 2017, the show's lead composer was Alf Clausen. 

Earlier this year, The Simpsons was renewed for a 32nd season - it's currently airing its 31st.

In recent years, a few key cast members have died, including Marcia Wallace - who voiced Edna Krabappel - and Russi Taylor, who was the voice behind Martin, Uter, Wendell, Sherri and Terri. Co-creator and writer Sam Simon passed away in 2015.

Despite a general consensus it's not as good as it used to be and controversies around some of its dated humour, The Simpsons is still a ratings drawcard for the Fox network in the US, with each episode pulling in a few million viewers.

The Simpsons began life as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. It debuted as its own show in December 1989, featuring Elfman's iconic tune. He also sang the words "the Simpsons" which open the song.

"You have to realise when I scored The Simpsons, I wrote this crazy piece of music and I expected no one would hear it, because I really did not think the show had a chance in hell. Really, I expected it would run for three episodes and get cancelled, and that would be that, because it was so weird at the time, and I just didn't think it had a chance.

"So believe me, that is one of the truly big surprises in my life."