Anorak News | In Pictures: The Bill Is Killed Off After 25 Years Of Reality Policing

In Pictures: The Bill Is Killed Off After 25 Years Of Reality Policing

by | 26th, March 2010

ITV has decided to axe The Bill, the show that used to show a fictional version of life in a police station and turned into a turgid soap where former EastEnders‘ jobbers went to go through the motions. It was supposed to reflect the copper’s life but with no sign of nicking celebs, it became far-fetched.

Ok, a few stars were showcased: Keira Knightley, in 1995, played Sheena Rose, a ten-yar-old with nicked coins; James McAvoy; David Walliams; knife criminal Sean Bean; Paul O’Grady played a transvestite; Kathy Burke was kidnapped; Chesney Hawkes sang.

What also did for The Bill was the fly-on-the helmet reality telly cop shows, like Police, Camera Action, Police Chase, Stair Watch and anything else voiced by a bombastic Alistair Stewart. These shows are about turning real coppers into minor celebs. These are coppers who have grown up watching The Bill and thought joining the Force would get them on the magic box. Life copies soaps, after all.

The plot narratives to these new cop shows are fast, clear and easy to follow for anyone propped up on medicines in an institution – coppers: good; villains: villainous.
In the end the fictional Sun Hill with its bent coppers, randy sarges, cliffhangers, rounded characters and sense of justice could never compete with the romanticised world of the telly police.

The Bill will end in June 2010. It was based on Woodentop, a drama screened in 1983. In 1984, The Bill was a series of 12 hour long episodes. The plots were strong, the acting sharp and the script tight. Less was more. Remember when all weekly prime-time soap were like that?


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Posted: 26th, March 2010 | In: TV & Radio Comment | TrackBack | Permalink