The Bill axed by ITV after 27 years
Story by Jack Foley
LONG-running ITV police drama The Bill has been axed after 27 years.
The show will end this autumn now that ITV has decided to drop it from its schedule – and follows a recent revamp that saw it relaunched as a weekly programme in a post-watershed slot.
Announcing the shock decision, Peter Fincham, ITV’s director of television, said: “Times change, and so do the tastes of our audience.”
Paying tribute to impact The Bill has had over the years, Fincham added: “Thanks to a superb production team, it’s been one of the great institutions of television drama.”
He continued that The Bill had been “the home of some of the UK’s best serial drama storylines and a great showcase for terrific scriptwriting and fine acting talent”, before pledging that ITV would invest the money it spent on the programme on new peak-time drama commissions.
The decision has, however, caused outrage among fans of the programme and left its producers, Talkback Thames, “devastated”.
CEO Lorraine Heggessey is now predicting that it may result in “a significant number” of redundancies for the company.
She added, however, that Talkback Thames remained “incredibly proud of what the show has achieved”.
“It is a credit to everyone who has worked on The Bill that the series will be signing out on a creative and editorial high, with both critical and industry-wide acclaim and a loyal fan base who have supported the show throughout,” she concluded.
Set around the fictional Sun Hill police station in London, The Bill began life in 1983 as a one-off drama entitled Woodentop before being picked up as a weekly series that eventually became a soap which aired three times a week.
Actor Mark Wingett, who played PC Jim Carver on the show for 21 years, was among the stars to have voiced his disapproval of the decision, telling the BBC: “By axing this programme it’s another area of expertise that we have lost.
“Loads of people in the industry – trainees, script writers, producers – cut their teeth on programmes like The Bill, if not The Bill itself.”