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Thread: The bill (1984-2010)

  1. #1

    Default The bill (1984-2010)

    Began as a 1983 ITV Storyboard play called Woodentop which was about the first day on the job for new PC Jim Carver. In March the following year, they began filming the 1st series which had more of a fly-on-the-wall, semi-documentary, location-based filming style with most of the focus being on DI Roy Galloway, an ex-Flying Squad detective now head of Sun Hill CID. The stories were very raw and gritty for their time and I can imagine these episodes being easily made by Euston Films. The 2nd series was slightly less rougher but introduced the odious PC Muswell (Ralph Brown) who was a sexist and racist and there were some thrilling episodes such as Hostage and Ringer as well as the believably grim Home Beat. The 3rd series was still entertaining but I felt that it was becoming a bit more polished, especially since they filmed it in another building in West London which doubled for Sun Hill nick, and this was the last we saw of Galloway. Series 4 is when the format was changed, from a one hour 9pm series to a twice weekly 8pm drama, lasting half an hour. Most of the early stories were never resolved properly but it gradually improved with a faster pace, more action, humour and some shocking, nailbiting moments. Lots of great characters too such as Burnside, Roach, Ackland, Martella, Carver (my namesake!), Taff, Yorkie, Haynes, Ramsey and the legend that was Tosh Lines. The last ever episodes of The Bill went back to being gritty and tough like the earlier episodes.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The bill (1984-2010)

    I remember getting into The Bill during the mid 1990s, but stopped watching it so much after 2000 when it started to become more soap like.

    London's Burning also started to become more of a soap around this time, along with changing most of the main cast.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The bill (1984-2010)

    There were some great storylines in the early to mid 1990s, and just like Casualty which I have started a thread on, the guest actors are the ones to watch out for.

    I have been watching a few of them on YouTube and some of the episodes I remember - again, it's a series that one can dip into without losing any continuity unlike soap operas.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  4. #4

    Default Re: The bill (1984-2010)

    The Bill went back to being a 9pm show in its final year after years of being pre-watershed.

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    Default Re: The bill (1984-2010)

    The half hour slots at 8.00 pm on Tuesday and Thursdays gave a lot of enjoyable "short story" type storylines contained in the episode - I had always preferred those episodes. Also, it was ironic that Thames losing its franchise meant that an extra episode on Friday evenings was added when Thames wouldn't have been on the air on Friday evenings even if they had won the franchise in 1993. Obviously, the violence and bad language had to be limited for pre-watershed viewing, but Z Cars was pre-watershed, wasn't it?
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  6. #6

    Default Re: The bill (1984-2010)

    I think when it was a 9pm show and had more violence and bad language in it added to its realism. It felt as if you were watching real coppers in action. I heard the 1st series got lots of complaints, especially from real Met officers who did not like the way they were being represented. Episodes like It's Not Such A Bad Job After All and Clutching At Straws got lots of stick with the latter featuring a disturbing turn from June Brown.

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    Default Re: The bill (1984-2010)

    They showed some episodes on Saturday nights and it seemed odd to have a Thames show on a Saturday night - it's like having Beadle's About on a Wednesday evening. Mind you, ITV schedulers were probably try to bank on the success of Casualty on Saturday nights and put The Bill on a similar slot. It didn't last too long and went to Friday nights instead.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The bill (1984-2010)

    I remember the BBC tried to make their own Bill with Waterfront Beat, which was originally shown on a Saturday night.

    They were also trying to emulate the success of Casualty, but it fell short somehow.
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    Default Re: The bill (1984-2010)

    Holby Blue was supposed to be like The Bill and that wasn't very successful either.

    When you think about it, the BBC had so many successful police drama series such as Dixon of Dock Green and Z Cars - I think that it only due to The Bill making its mark was the main reason why similar BBC series wasn't as successful.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  10. #10

    Default Re: The bill (1984-2010)

    Ted Roach's final episode as a Sun Hill copper was a hoot.

    In recent years, people have wanted The Bill to return. Not very likely, but if it did return, it would be on Sky or Watch.

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