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Sad end to an era as TV's The Bill is axed

PUBLISHED: 17:18 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 12 August 2010

ONE of The Bill s most well-known stars has said that it was a very sad day when he heard that the series has been axed. ITV bosses said on Friday that cop drama The Bill is to be axed after running for 26 years.

ONE of The Bill's most well-known stars has said that it was a "very sad day" when he heard that the series has been axed.

ITV bosses said on Friday that cop drama The Bill is to be axed after running for 26 years.

Bromley-based actor Graham Cole

(pictured), who played old-school PC Tony Stamp on the ITV drama for 25 years before leaving the show last year, said he was inundated with messages when the news was released on Friday night.

He said: "The Bill is part of my soul, so on Friday it was really, really sad.

"I had spoken to the team last week and although we knew it was in tough times we hoped that it would bed down."

Despite being with the series since its beginning in 1984, Cole was axed from the series last June when it was revamped and moved to a new nine o'clock slot.

Speaking exclusively to your Times, actor Graham Cole said that the whole industry will suffer the loss of The Bill.

He said: "Over the years it had a continuous main cast of 28 actors and some 70,000 contracts have been linked to the

programme.

"It has been home to some brilliant young actors like Kiera Knightly. Where do these up-and-coming actors go now?

"I remember showing Alex Walkinshaw, who plays Smithy, the ropes when he was only 14."

He added: "I think that the Bill is like an uncle - we won't miss it until it is gone."

The Bill was thought of as a pioneer of small screen drama when it was introduced to viewers in the 1980s.

With a team of three police

advisors the producers were always proud to be as close to real life as possible. They even heard about advances in Metropolitan Police equipment months before some officers in the force.

Graham Cole, who has recently published his

autobiography, called On The Beat, said: "Drama is now suffering greatly in the downturn. But from young kids to grannies, we all loved The Bill.

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