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Famous people in The Bill
Saturday 26th June 2021 12:07 pm

Once upon a time, every British actor had been in The Bill. These days, watching old episodes, famous people pop up looking young.

For example, this is (the current) Barnaby from Midsummer Murders:
Neil Dudgeon
I knew he was in the episode and worked out who he was based on him being the only male guest character.

Jason Isaacs is more recognisable:
Jason Isaacs

And for a bonus, here is a young Alex Walkinshaw, who (much) later played Smithy.
Alex Walkinshaw


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The Bill
Saturday 5th June 2021 11:04 am

I've been watching a lot of The Bill from 1990/1991 recently. UKTV Play had a load of it up there, and then the series I was watching suddenly said it was going at the end of May. The next series will go at the end of June. Each 'series' has about 100 episodes, which I can't realistically watch all of in a month, so I am picking out those that sound interesting.

It used to be the case that whenever you looked up a British actor you'd find they'd been on The Bill. But I keep being surprised at how many regulars were on it, playing different characters, before they were regulars.

And it's nice and simple. Maybe because I'm comparing it to Line of Duty where everyone was bent and everything was high stakes and guns were all around the place. Nothing that awful goes on in 1990/1991, most of the time, and if you need a police officer with a gun, you send Cryer out with one. Job done.

There are some things that have changed a lot. There was an episode about someone who was HIV+ and it dealt with all the prejudices people had against them (ie assuming he was gay and you can catch it just by being in the vicinity of him). These days, in this country, it's not really a thing any more. And there are a lot of episodes where they'll arrest someone just for having drugs for personal use.

And then there's the mental health. I've just been watching the Phil Young arc, which is desperately sad (he kills himself in the end). I've missed bits of it from having skipped episodes, but he clearly needed help. But as Cryer pointed out, you can't help someone who doesn't want help - and it wasn't as if people didn't try and help him. But it was amusing how split the senior officers were on the subject of stress and even whether it existed, never mind whether any of the officers were suffering from it.


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Crime drama again
Saturday 1st May 2021 3:17 pm

It's really all gone crime around here. After reading one Daisy Dalrymple book I somehow ended up taking another off the shelf when I put that one back. I still like the time before they get married the best. And as much as I like Sakari, I miss Lucy.

I'm still watching Line of Duty - I'm up to series 4. But I have a big problem with it: ergonomics. They all have their monitors so low down/chairs so high up that they're all leaning over to look at stuff on the screen or read documents laid out on their desk. They really need someone to go in there and sort them out.

I'm also still watching The Bill. It's alternately good and frustrating. It really is better when it's an hour long, but some of the half hours are really good and some are a bit nothing. The trouble is, even when they're good, is that they're determined to have a B story. They're better off devoting the whole time to one story, but the biggest problem with the B story is that because the episodes are so short the B stories only get about three scenes. Which isn't long enough for them to be anything interesting. They either need to be a whole story or not in there at all.


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It’s gone all police dramas around here
Saturday 17th April 2021 9:42 am

I completely missed out on The Line of Duty thing. I'd heard of it, knew it was a police drama and I like that sort of thing, but just had too much to watch to bother with something new. But now I don't have too much to watch and the whole thing is on the iPlayer. So I gave it a go. And nearly gave up halfway through the first episode.

It seems to be a thing about that era of telly where they can't keep the camera still even for a second. It makes it hard to tell what's going on and it's very distracting. It also makes me dizzy. I tried watching an episode after I'd been to the shops one evening and could only manage five minutes at a time.

It also took me until episode 3 to care about any of it at all. And then I didn't really care about AC-12, it was the other crimes that were keeping me interested. In fact the most interesting bit was the first 5 minutes of the first episode, which barely gets mentioned again. I carried on because it was all right and I hoped the camera work would improve in series 2 (it does) and because there wasn't much else on. And I wondered why people were so obsessed with it. I still don't know the answer to that.

I've also been watching The Bill from 1990, thanks to UKTV Play having all the episodes from the beginning to 1995 (when I'd definitely started watching it because some of the thumbnails have Jaye Griffths in and I remember her starting).

I have the DVDs with all the episodes from the beginning until halfway through 1990, so I started where they stopped. I am enjoying the nostalgia of a simpler time. And it's just easy watching. For one thing, they are yet to discover all the camera trickery.

If someone forced me to pick either The Line of Duty or the 1990s The Bill, I'd choose The Bill.


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