ITV axes The Bill
ITV has axed long-running cop-drama The Bill after 27 years on-air. The writing was on the wall for the Thames drama last year when ITV halved the drama’s number of episodes and shunted it to a 9pm slot where ratings dropped by nearly 2 million viewers.
It’s been announced that ITV has decided to axe long-running cop-drama, The Bill. The Bill has aired on ITV for 27 years originally starting life as a one-off drama Woodentop before bosses saw the potential of a returning drama and commissioned a follow-up drama. The Bill returned as a drama series before being turned into a twice-weekly drama in the late 1980s. Over the years The Bill has undergone a number of changes in its format including its extension to hour-long episodes from half-hour episodes, which were introduced when it began to air all year round.
In the 2000’s the drama underwent a number of revamps under different producers including in 2002 one under Paul Marquess who axed a string of characters and blew up the station. During Marquess’ tenure as producer though two hour-long live episodes were broadcast with over 10 million viewers tuning in but declining ratings in the past five years have been hard to ignore.
Last year ITV announced it was revamping The Bill once again giving it a “grittier” CSI style edge in a 9pm slot. As part of the revamp more characters were dropped, the iconic theme tune scrapped and the number of episodes halved. At the time fans angrily protested the move and many speculated, including us, that the end was nigh for the series. In our predictions for 2010 The Bill was amongst those we predicted would be cancelled by ITV.
The money saved from axing The Bill will be placed into new dramas for the 9pm slot including a new medical series. While it spells the end of The Bill on ITV it may not be the end of the series in all. The drama is produced by Talkback Thames production whose parent company is owned by Five and therefore the drama could switch to the channel.