Not until Game Of Thrones did a programme have an opening theme as thrilling as The Bill.
And with closing credits as recognisable as the EastEnders view of the Thames, with two police officers plodding along side by side, The Bill became an iconic bit of drama from the 80s and ran right through until 2010.
And then it was axed, for shame!
Thankfully UKTV drama has listened to the nation’s pleas to air the show again and although a remake is not in the works, the channel will be airing all 2,421 episodes from August 14. Cue the sirens.
Six of the show’s most iconic faces have reunited to celebrate this fantastic piece of nostalgic telly news, along with the old Vauxhall Panda car, remember this lot from their time at Sun Hill?
Mark Wingett, 56, played DS Jim Carver from the first episode in 1984
DS Jim Carver first appeared in The Bill in 1984 as a PC. Over the years he battled alcohol addiction which even saw him occasionally drinking on the job as he battled his demons. He also had and a short-lived marriage after breaking up with June Ackland, although he and June did eventually get married themselves, after a 21-year on-off relationship.
Since the end of The Bill, Mark Wingett has appeared in several TV dramas, including a brief stint on Hollyoaks as Frank Symes, Doctors, and a run from 2005-2006 in EastEnders.
The 56-year-old actor said: ‘It was a tough job because we’d be working six days a week, involving 12-hour days after which I’d go home and learn my lines for the following day – so you had to get by on about six hours sleep a night.
‘But it was a wonderful thing to be part of, particularly because we were custodians of our characters, who we knew so well, and if we disagreed with the script we could make suggestions that would be used.’
Eric Richard, 77, played Sergeant Bob Cryer from 1984-2001
Sergeant Bob Cryer worked Sun Hill for 20 years, and seemed to be a head down, nose clean kind of guy until that day he took out an armed robber on a building site with his pistol. He was then haunted by the man’s death for years after.
Eric Richard had a hand in shaping his character. He revealed Bob was a West Ham fan until he lobbied for the producers to change the character in order to reflect his own allegiance to fellow London team Arsenal.
Eric, 77, said, speaking of the single camera filming technique: ‘Many of the cameramen we used had previously only worked covering football, horse racing or other sports, so they provided a whole new energy.
‘It meant we were one of the first drama series here or in the US to be shot on the streets in a deliberately ‘wobbly hand’, single-camera style.
‘Now it’s become an established production norm across TV and film, and it’s fantastic to recall how we helped set the precedent.
‘The Bill was in a long tradition of great British police dramas, including the likes of Dixon of Dock Green in the 50s and 60, and The Sweeney in the 70s.
‘I don’t think there’s been another since The Bill finished, but I hope there’ll be another one soon.’
Trudy Goodwin, 65, played Sergeant June Ackland from the pilot until 2007
Trudie Goodwin, who played Sgt June Ackland, described the show was a ‘ground-breaking series which meant a lot to so many people’ and said she was ‘extremely proud’ of her work, which saw her feature on the show for 24 years, taking her young daughters – one of which is pop star La Roux – on set while she worked.
Trudie left the show in 2007 having appeared from the very first episode, the pilot in 1983, and remains the world record holder for the longest time an actor has portrayed a police officer.
June watched her colleagues shot, stabbed , drowned, and sent off to retrieve a pen never to return, while she kept her position for over two decades.
She said: ‘If the Drama channel re-run is going to take another 26 years to show, let’s hope we’re all still here so we can come back again in 2043 and celebrate The Bill once more.’
Grahame Cole, 65, played PC Tony Stamp, the best-loved bobby ever
Our Tone was an absolute legend. The voice of reason, the dependable bobby, he was a stalwart of the show for 25 years.
That is until the actor was unceremoniously axed as bosses attempted to ‘sex up’ the show in 2009. The show then ended a year later. Coincidence?
At the time, he told The Mirror: ‘I can’t tell you how disregarded and disrespected I feel. I’m not sure any other programme would have dismissed a big character so quickly.’
While being the dependable one, Tony’s years on the beat weren’t plain sailing. He became subject of a sexual harassment case, where a young lad falsely accused him of assault, and he also became the victim of a vicious beating after hesitating over whether or not to use his ASP giving a group of thugs the opportunity to leave him for dead.
Grahame’s since appeared in a handful of shows, including Doctors and Law And Order: UK.
Lisa Maxwell, 53, played DI Samantha Nixon
Lisa played Sam Nixon from 2002 – 2009
Huge passion for the police, and is professional through and through, with barely any friends in the force but a pretty good success record.
Although she was threatened when she was passed over for DI
Since she left the show, Lisa has appeared on Loose Women, although quit in 2014, and also appeared in Hollyoaks.
Chris Simmons, 42, played DC Mickey Webb
Ah Mickey. The loveable DS who came bowling in in 2000 as a rookie, an ambitious 25-year-old all about getting results. He was also a bit of a ladies man, and was furious when love interest Kate started seeing bent copper Tom Chandler.
Mickey then took it upon himself, with the help of DCI Jack Meadows, to bring down Chandler, whom they successfully managed to back into a corner, although Chandler ultimately took his own life.
Kate was also killed in a fire, leaving Mickey devastated.
And that wasn’t the only drama for the detective. After getting involved in a case where he attempted to single handedly track down the attacker of a prostitute, he found himself cornered, only to be tied up and raped himself.
Chris has since also appeared in Doctors, Casualty, and EastEnders.
The Bill was also the birth place of many a famous career. Keira Knightley, Robert Carlyle, David Walliams, David Tennant, Russell Brand, Emma Bunton and James McAvoy cut their teeth on roles in the hit police procedural.
The Bill will air from 12 noon on weekdays from August 14 on the Drama channel.