On Thursday night, The Bill featured a storyline about a child who vanished. But this morning, the cast and crew of the police serial were facing up to a real-life disappearance: their own. ITV announced that the show, which began in 1984, will end in September, becoming the second of the network's quarter-century brands to be axed this year, after The South Bank Show.
The coppers at the fictional Sun Hill police station in East London – including such beloved characters as Sergeant Bob Cryer, played by Eric Richard, and Trudie Goodwin's Constable June Ackland – have investigated many murders over the years, but have never been able to identify the perpetrator as quickly as in the killing of The Bill.
Peter Fincham, ITV director of programmes, immediately put his hand up and admitted pulling the trigger.