Essential viewing for millions from 1983 to 2010, The Bill ran for 26 seasons notching up some 2,425 episodes. Having become such an integral part of television schedules, its axing after nearly three decades caused an outcry, there was even a campaign to save the coppers of the fictional London borough of Canley and even now the loss of the series continues to be assuaged by reruns on Drama, where fans can relive their favourite Sun Hill moments.
Next weekend, 29 familiar faces from the show are set to reunite online for The Bill - Legends Under House Arrest, the biggest gathering of actors from the series ever. They come together on Zoom to raise funds for leading youth homelessness charity Centrepoint. Over one and a half hours, cast members will reminisce about their time on set, re-enact iconic moments and take part in Q&A and script reading sessions. There will also be an interview with Paul O’Grady, aka Lily Savage, who played Roxanne, a 'transvestite prostitute informant’ of CID’s Ted Roach, in three episodes between 1988 and 1990.
O’Grady has revealed he can't wait to lend his support, saying, “I’m more than happy to support Centrepoint’s Independent Living Project and I’m looking forward to talking about my time on the show, even if I did play a copper’s nark who was on the game.”
Centrepoint Ambassador Lisa Maxwell, who played DI Samantha Nixon from 2002 to 2009 adds, “This is a very rare opportunity to see so many well-loved faces from the show appear all together. I am seizing on the fact that we are all under house arrest and putting it to good use for the charity.”
Hosted by super-fan and BBC Radio 1 producer Matt Fincham, the event will be divided into five sections, each focusing on different eras of the show. Joining him from the early years will be the actors who breathed life into the characters that started it all, characters like Bob Cryer, June Ackland, Viv Martella, Mike Dashwood, Chief Superintendent Brownlow, Alec Peters, Norika Datta and the legendary Jim Carver.
From CID, the actors behind Terry Perkins, Will Fletcher, Mickey Webb, Kim Reid, Jacob Banks, Jo Masters, John Boulton, Eva Sharpe, Phil Hunter and Neil Manson will also be checking in. While uniform will be represented by those who played Tony Stamp, Polly Page, Tom Chandler, Cathy Marshall, Adam Okaro, Kerry Young, Cathy Bradford and Cass Rickman.
To be part of the action on Saturday 27 March, from 11am to 12.30pm, tickets start at £15. For £25 you can also take part in a quiz by The Bill expert Oliver Crocker, or if you’re a super fan a restricted number of virtual Meet and Greet tickets will be available priced £100 – they will allow you to take part in group calls with your favourites after the event.
Centrepoint runs hostels across the country helping homeless young people. Money raised goes towards their Individual Living Programme, which will provide 300 young people a job and a home or apprenticeship.