TV Archive // The Bill Facts
by Steven Broadbent on November 1 2015
1. Originated around a one-off drama called Woodentop. The episode was broadcast on 16 August 1983. The Bill could have been named Old Bill, as writer Geoff McQueen first intended.
2. It was first filmed at Artichoke Hill in Wapping near News International Plant. During the 80s mining strikes, a number of miners thought The Bill's actors were real police causing a number of problems. It therefore moved to Barlby Road in North Kensington, before swapping to an old distribution warehouse at Merton.
3. The longest serving cast member was Simon Rouse. He had performed as Jack Meadows since 1992 and also made a few guest appearances between 1990-1991.
4. Two countries made their own versions of The Bill. With the Dutch calling their's Bureau Kruislaan and the German show being named Die Wache. There were also two British spin-offs, Burnside and Murder Investigation Team.
5. Throughout the programme, the show did not have permission to use actual sirens on location. These were added in after filming.
6. The Bill's continued demise in viewing figures ensured the conclusion of the series in 2010. ITV were desperate to keep it going, so moved it from 8PM to 9PM in its final year, but the change failed to improve statistics.