The Bill to bow out with respect

Published Wednesday, 11 August 2010
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The last episode of long-running police drama The Bill will be shown this month.

The final scene was shot in June and the show will bow out with a special two-parter revolving around the story of a teenage girl involved in the murder of a 14-year-old suspected gang member.

It is expected to be shown on UTV on Tuesday August 31.

Executive producer Johnathan Young said: "The series will conclude this summer with a compelling contemporary story that tests our cops on the streets of London both physically and emotionally for one final time. It's called Respect and we hope it will respect the heritage of the show."

The Bill - set in the fictional London area of Sun Hill - was given a major revamp last year to win back viewers but audiences have fallen steadily in recent years.

Its format has been tweaked a number of times since it launched as a series in 1984.

Initially there were just 12 hour-long self-contained episodes but by 1988 the programme was switched to three half-hour shows per week.

A decade later the drama - which created well-loved characters such as June Ackland, Reg Hollis and Jim Carver - returned to 60-minute shows.

Famous faces

The Bill has been a launch pad for many stars who took their first acting steps on the Sun Hill beat.

Among them is Robert Carlyle, now best known for his performances in Trainspotting and The Full Monty. An up-and-coming actor at the time, he guest starred in 1991 episode The Better Part Of Valour.

Former EastEnder Martine McCutcheon also had an early taste of television on the police drama.

She played a paper girl in one episode in 1991, then returned a year later playing teenager Amanda Jones, brought into the station after being found at a drugs party.

But the drama did not just boost the careers of young actors destined for greater things - many singers also found their feet on the pavements of the fictional borough of Canley.

Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton appeared in 1993 aged 17, while one-hit wonder Chesney Hawkes also had a role two years earlier.

The show even featured a genuine rock legend when Who frontman Roger Daltrey appeared in 1999.

Some cast members have been catapulted as far as Hollywood, with Pirates Of The Caribbean actress Keira Knightley getting a break on the show as a child actor.

She played ten-year-old Sheena Rose in 1995, a young tearaway found to have stolen coins in her bag.

Her Atonement co-star James McAvoy had one of his first TV appearances on The Bill two years later.

Comic and actor Russell Brand appeared in the show aged 18 in 1994 and David Walliams landed a role in 2002, just a year before Little Britain made him a star.

The show was rooted in a one-off drama Woodentop in 1983, which so impressed ITV bosses they developed it into a series with the same central characters.

The Bill: In Numbers

2,400 - The number of episodes of the show up to and including the final two.

168 - The number of regular cast members who passed through the doors of Sun Hill.

1,210 - The number of episodes the show's longest serving cast member, Graham Cole, who played Pc Tony Stamp, appeared in.

30 - The number of police officers who have died in the show. There were 27 murders and 3 suicides.

3 - The amount of times Sun Hill station has been blown up.

CID's Grace Desari and Neil Manson leave Sun Hill station during the final ever episode of The BillSuperintendent Jack Meadows addresses a press conference during the final ever episode of The Bill
© Press Association
Comments Comments
3 Comments
Patrick Mitchell in Dublin 13, wrote (1,548 days ago):
I've never missed a single episode.When I was on holidays it was aleays taped for me to see later. I think the big mistake was in changing it to 9.pm. I think it should be kept on the air and put back to 8.pm. It's the best police show that I've seen on TV. BBC have tried a few different copies of it like MERSEYBEAT but they could'nt equal the BILL Pat Mitchell
Rosaleen Kelly in Dublin wrote (1,563 days ago):
I cannot believe my favourite TV programme is being discontinued. I've watched the Bill from the beginning.
gerry landers in cavan wrote (1,566 days ago):
keep the bill and get rid of those cooking shows
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