The everyday lives of working-class inhabitants of Albert Square, a traditional Victorian square of terrace houses surrounding a park in the East End of London's Walford borough. The square includes the Queen Vic pub and a street market.
Pam St. Clement
Uniform officers and detectives from Sun Hill police station enforce law and order on a day to day basis. A policeman's job is much more than just catching criminals; in order to survive each day they must deal with frustrating members of the public, and often their own colleagues. From petty thieves to violent drug dealers, life is never easy for the members of the Metropolitan Police Force. Written by
Burnside (Christopher Ellison) was originally called Tommy when he guest starred in series one and two, but when he appeared as a regular character from 1988 onwards his first name was changed to Frank. This was because there was a real-life Tommy Burnside serving in the Metropolitan police at the time. See more »
PC Will Fletcher:
You got a minute?
DC Jo Masters:
Errr... no, as it happens, I don't... Wanna know why? I've just come from court... three months I spent preparing for that court appearance... an entire rainforest has died to provide the amount of paperwork I've submitted... the electricity bill for the unpaid overtime I've clocked, has irrevicably changed the earth's climate... and ya know what? The judge throws it out on the first day of trial, on a technicality. So no, I dont have a minute... I wanna sit at ma desk... I ...
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There were actually three versions of the credits featuring the plodding feet. There was a blue-tint version used in the original episodes in the 1980s, a 1990s fuzzy, overcast version and mid-1990s fine weather version. See more »
Good Show But Needs To Improve To Retain It's Fans
I have been watching The Bill since it started back in 1983. It is always hard commenting on a long running show because most shows have their good and bad patches.
The early Bill episodes were fantastic. Unlike the 21st century Bill, the early Bill focused entirely on the officer's work lives-you never got to see their private lives except in rare cases where their work impacted on their private lives. There were several different stories within each hourly episode usually split between the beat officers, C.I.D. cases and the politics of being a copper in the Met Police. The stories focused on all ranks from the constables to the Chief Superintendent. The first Chief Superintendent was Charles Brownlow, a man more interested in politics and PR and ensuring that justice was seen to be done. The first head of C.I.D. was Detective Inspector Galloway, a short tempered and stern cop who didn't think twice about shouting at his men but who was a good copper underneath. The early Sergeants were Alec Peters, Tom Penny and Bob Cryer. Bob Cryer was a veteran copper who the officers looked up to-he didn't suffer fools gladly but would support his men through and through. The constables included Jim Carver, a naive young probationer whose heart was in the right place but ended up putting his foot in it on occasion. Each of the early episodes were self contained.
In the 80's the Bill switched to a half hour format. Whilst there were some good stories, half an hour doesn't allow for much character development and at times, investigations seemed rushed. It would not revert to an hourly show until 1998.
There have been many memorable characters at Sun Hill Police Station. After D.I. Galloway left, he was replaced by D.I. Burnside, a copper who did whatever he could to achieve a result and would happily rough up a suspect to ensure justice was done. Other great D.I.'s include D.I. Deakin, a veteran old school copper and the intense D.I. Cullen. Let's not forget the old school copper Chief Inspector Conway whose job was mainly desk based but who got his hands dirty when necessary. Conway was killed off in 2002 when a petrol bomb was thrown into his car.There have been three bosses in the series, first there was Chief Superintendent Brownlow. He left in 2000 and was replaced by Superintendent Tom Chandler who seemed the right man to lead Sun Hill but who left in 2002 after he shot himself dead after being caught up in a scandal. The current boss is Superintendent Adam Okaro who is set to clean up Sun Hill and isn't afraid to go out on the streets with the troops.
The current Bill is far different to the early episodes. The show is now more of a soap and there are not really any self contained stories. The show, in my opinion, has suffered due to it's heavy emphasis on the officers private lives and the constant sexual liasons between officers. Another thing that has not helped The Bill is the constant axing of popular characters such as the crooked D.S. Beech, the intense D.I. Cullen and Supt. Chandler. Whilst their replacements have on the whole been good, The Bill needs to take more time to listen to it's fans and to give newer characters a chance before axing them.
Where does The Bill go from here? I definitely think it needs to tone down on the officers private lives and have less sex and more police work. It needs to give new characters a chance to find their feet before deciding they need to go. And it needs to be bold and have the odd self contained story as well.
All in all, The Bill is a decent enough programme which can steadily improve it it takes note of the above points. I hope it continues for a long time.
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