RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Would Sun Hill Nick survive modern policing?

Twelve years after it was dropped by ITV, the classic cop drama The Bill could be back on our screens next year. Three of the oldest cast members are working with writers to revive the series.

Mark Wingett and Trudie Goodwin, who played PC Jim Carver and WPC (later Sergeant) June Ackland, appeared in the original single pilot, Woodentop, which spawned another 2,400 episodes.

Graham Cole, who played PC Tony Stamp, joined as a regular in 1988 and stayed for 21 years. The proper cops loved him. I used to bump into Graham at the Retired Detectives Association annual dinner in London. Crushing boy. Together they are reported to have persuaded UKTV to bring back the show, which combined the cozy tranquility of Dixon Of Dock Green with the hard edge of The Sweeney.

Twelve years after it was dropped by ITV, the classic cop drama The Bill could be back on our screens next year. Three of the oldest cast members are working with the writers to revive the series.

I was a big fan of The Bill.  The cast members were regular guests on my various TV and radio shows in the 1990s and I was delighted to be invited to the 10th anniversary party at Madame Tussauds in London.

I was a big fan of The Bill. The cast members were regular guests on my various TV and radio shows in the 1990s and I was delighted to be invited to the 10th anniversary party at Madame Tussauds in London.

Dear old Jack Tinker, much missed drama critic of this parish, considered The Bill, along with his beloved Coronation Street, one of the best ensemble pieces on television.

Dear old Jack Tinker, much missed drama critic of this parish, considered The Bill, along with his beloved Coronation Street, one of the best ensemble pieces on television.

I was a big fan of The Bill. The cast members were regular guests on my various TV and radio shows in the 1990s and I was delighted to be invited to the 10th anniversary party at Madame Tussauds in London. Trudie once told me that she had lost count of the number of times she had to say the line: ‘Why don’t I make everyone a nice cup of tea?’

More from Richard Littlejohn for the Daily Mail…

Dear old Jack Tinker, much missed drama critic of this parish, considered The Bill, along with his beloved Coronation Street, one of the best ensemble pieces on television.

As far as I’m concerned, for many years it was must-see television.

Eric Richard as Sergeant Bob Cryer, Chris Ellison as DI Frank Burnside, Billy Murray as DS Don Beech, Jeff Stewart as PC Reg Hollis, Ben Roberts as Chief Inspector Derek Conway, Peter Ellis as Mr. Brownlow, and, of course Kev Lloyd as DC Lines Tosh. With apologies to all those fine actors for whom there is no space here to mention.

UKTV picked up the rights a few years ago and reruns of the ’80s and ’90s series kept me in lockdown.

To be honest though, I gave up on The Bill in the early 2000s when a new fashion producer was hired, he cut out familiar characters and turned the series into a soap opera, more concerned with tackling trending issues like rights of homosexuals and racism than to pinch the villains.

Kind of like the real police, in the wake of the Macpherson Report, now that I think about it. Since then, the game has gone downhill further, at warp factor nine, as the police have withdrawn from the streets and embraced extreme wakery-pokery.

These days, I’m not even sure Nick from Sun Hill is still around. In the last ten years, more than 650 police stations have been closed. Many of those that remain, especially in London, operate restricted hours or are boarded up.

So while I’m intrigued to see a revival of The Bill, I can’t help but wonder how some of the original characters would fit into the modern police “service.” It could be something like this. . .

(Derek Conway is sitting in his office reading The Job. Enter Mr. Brownlow.)

Good morning, Derek.

Good morning sir. How was your course at Bramshill?

You know, Derek, defiant. We must move with the times.

Remind me, sir, what was it?

Raise awareness and understanding of racism, anti-racism and black history, something like that.

It sounds, it is, fascinating.

He had his moments. According to the Police College, we must embrace the awakening to address injustice and discrimination.

Eric Richard as Sergeant Bob Cryer, Chris Ellison as DI Frank Burnside, Billy Murray as DS Don Beech, Jeff Stewart as PC Reg Hollis, Ben Roberts as Chief Inspector Derek Conway, Peter Ellis as Mr. Brownlow, and, of course Kev Lloyd as DC Lines Tosh.  With apologies to all those good actors for whom there is no space here to mention

Eric Richard as Sergeant Bob Cryer, Chris Ellison as DI Frank Burnside, Billy Murray as DS Don Beech, Jeff Stewart as PC Reg Hollis, Ben Roberts as Chief Inspector Derek Conway, Peter Ellis as Mr. Brownlow, and, of course Kev Lloyd as DC Lines Tosh. With apologies to all those fine actors for whom there is no space here to mention.

So while I'm intrigued to see a revival of The Bill, I can't help but wonder how some of the original characters would fit into the modern police

So while I’m intrigued to see a revival of The Bill, I can’t help but wonder how some of the original characters would fit into the modern police “service.”

Are you okay, sir? You are limping. Did you do something to your leg? The old war ended up playing again. . ?

Not exactly, Derek. We spent an entire session practicing taking a knee for Black Lives Matter. I could barely get out of bed this morning.

A drop of whiskey in your coffee might help.

I’m sorry, Derek. Area has banned all alcohol on the premises, ever since we had to investigate those lockdown parties at Canley Town Hall and gave the mayor a £50 fixed fine notice.

It was bad enough when they banned smoking.

Anyway, Derek, you better tell me what’s been going on while I was out reprogramming my brain. The station seems a bit quiet.

Yes sir. Most of CID is working from home.

What? I thought all Covid restrictions had been lifted.

They have, sir. But the CID believes that if they’re going to spend all their time gawking at security camera footage and scouring the internet for inappropriate comments, they might as well do it from their kitchen table. Better reconciliation of personal and work life, according to the Federation.

Come on, Derek. Surely Frank Burnside won’t like that.

To be honest, sir, Frank hasn’t been happy since he was sent to Operation Midland. He says that he did not join the Old Bill in arresting innocent war heroes for alleged historical sex crimes.

None of us did, Derek, but I’m afraid that’s the way things go. Taking thieves has gone out of style. Where is Frank now?

He’s leading a dawn raid on the Sun Hill Golden Oldies radio station, rounding up some disc jockeys.

And Jack Meadows?

Jack is interviewing the editor of the Sun Hill Gazette. He has him arrested on suspicion of phone hacking.

Get Bob Cryer over here, will you?

Bob is not here, sir. He is chairing the annual general meeting of the Sun Hill branch of the Pagan Police Association. They apparently plan to sacrifice a goat at Canley Fields to celebrate the summer solstice.

Caramba. And what about June Ackland?

We sent it to the Insulate Britain protest blocking Canley High Street.

Excellent. Hopefully she feels some necklaces. These people are a fucking menace.

Oh no sir. She will not arrest anyone. She makes sure they are comfortable and brings them a nice cup of tea. Part of our new community outreach initiative. Reg Hollis went with her, took her skateboard.

I saw Reg coming out of the nick when I got there. What the hell is in his head? It looked like a packet of Refreshers.

It’s a rainbow colored helmet, sir. . .

What?

It has been decorated in the colors of the LGBH alliance, or whatever they call themselves this week. Matches the flag above the front door. We celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

biphobia?

No idea, sir. Sounds like one of those Eastern European breakaway states. But according to the latest directive from the Yard, it’s a hate crime and we need to catch any suspects.

How are we going to do that?

We sent Tony Stamp to Jasmine Allen’s estate, with painted nails and high heels, to raise awareness.

It worked?

No sir. Molotov cocktails were thrown at the car in the area and Tony was stabbed. He is in intensive care at St Hugh’s.

Give me strength. Look, Derek, you better bring me up to speed on the crime numbers. I have a meeting at the Yard later. How are we doing with the thefts?

Well, sir, I’m afraid we’ve only solved about five percent of the break-ins again this month.

And the other 95 percent?

You didn’t bother to investigate them, sir. Too busy searching online for hate crimes.

And the theft?

Didn’t you get the note? According to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Police, we must turn a blind eye to shoplifting by vulnerable members of the community affected by the cost of living crisis.

And I thought I had heard it all after spending a week at Bramshill. What are these tea boxes doing in my office?

I’m sorry Mr. She should have mentioned it. As part of the latest cuts, Sun Hill will be closed. It has been sold to developers for a luxury housing block. We have to pack up and be out of here by the end of the week.

Derek. . .

Yes sir.

I think I’ll have that whiskey, after all.

Leave a Comment