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Tony's Bill beat is over

PUBLISHED: 15:47 10 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:05 12 August 2010

MUCH-LOVED’: Graham Cole

MUCH-LOVED': Graham Cole

FAMILIAR face PC Tony Stamp has been axed from The Bill after serving 22 years on the police soap. Bromley actor Graham Cole, 57, said he was sad to leave the show on which he first appeared in 1987. Some news reports have claimed it is because Mr C

FAMILIAR face PC Tony Stamp has been axed from The Bill after serving 22 years on the police soap.

Bromley actor Graham Cole, 57, said he was "sad to leave" the show on which he first appeared in 1987.

Some news reports have claimed it is because Mr Cole does not fit The Bill's "new dynamic", which will be launched when the show moves to a 9pm slot later this year.

In his statement, Mr Cole said: "I have had a wonderful time patrolling the streets of Sun Hill and of course I'm sad to leave. I'm looking forward to seeking out some new challenges and enjoying life."

Fans are annoyed at the decision, which will see PC Stamp leave our television screens in November.

On the ITV forum, a fan named Maxfan wrote: "I can't believe it - Tony is The Bill and if The Bill is to represent true life they need 'older' people. Please don't cut Tony or Stampy whatever you wanna call him. Tony for eva!"

Another, called linzi7797, wrote: "What on earth do they think they're doing? I've watched The Bill since the very first episode and have followed Tony through all the highs and lows. It's bad enough they're changing the time but this is really absolutely too, too much. How do we start a petition?"

Producers announced the move last Friday but said the door "would be left open" for him.

Executive producer Jonathan Young said: "Graham is a much-loved and admired member of cast. He has contributed an enormous amount to The Bill and we are grateful for his enthusiasm and support over the years. PC Tony Stamp leaves an amazing legacy."

Last year, Mr Cole threw his weight behind a campaign opposing the siting of a six-storey building next to Grade II-listed Bromley and Sheppards Colleges in London Road, Bromley.

He was one of more than 1,000 people who signed a petition objecting to the £18million plans by Broomleigh Housing ,which eventually forced it to back down.

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