The Drama channel has reneged on its promise to repeat The Bill in its entirety.
Amid much fanfare, the channel – part of the UKTV family – announced in July that it was planning to show the Thames Television produced police drama from beginning to end.
However, in a change of plan, the channel posted on Facebook earlier this week that it would be leaping forward to 1998; with EPGs confirming that Series 14, Episode 89 is scheduled to transmit on the channel on Monday 6th November. This was when the programme moved back to hour long editions and a more serialised format after several years of half-hour screenings.
“We’ve loved The Bill Rewind but due to demand we’re now fast-forwarding to 1998. On Monday, we’re joining WPC Rosie Fox and PC Eddie Santini in series 14.” – Drama channel on Facebook
Series 4 concluded on Drama this afternoon, so in total 9 full series are being skipped. The news hasn’t gone down well with many fans on social media, however the channel stands by its statement that it is responding to viewer demand. Earlier today, a representative for Drama told us at ATV Today;
“Everyone at the channel worked very hard to launch The Bill from the beginning. There’s no doubt that it’s a popular show with an amazing fan base. But viewing figures for older episodes have been low so we are moving to The Bill’s hour-long episodes which are most popular with our audiences.”
The Bill originally aired on ITV between 1984-2010, with a one-off pilot edition titled “Woodentop” airing in 1983. It isn’t the first time ‘entire runs’ have been promised only for a network to change their plans at a later date; archive television organisation Kaleidoscope boasted their relationship with ITV would bring viewers to Made In Birmingham (branded as Big Centre TV at the time) the entire run of classic midland soap Crossroads, however only a fraction of the series was screened with surviving episodes from the sixties and seventies broadcast from 1965 to 1976.