November 15th, 2008

Woodentops

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I’m not sure if I’m normal amongst police officers or not.

The thing is, I’ve never seen the Bill. Not once, ever. It occurred to me last night watching the BBC’s Children in Need. The cast of the Bill did a musical routine in the form of a tribute to the Blues Brothers – one of my favouritist films  with about the best car chase in movie history. Apparently, the Bill has been going for 25 years & I’ve not seen a single episode.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy police programmes, I used to watch Morse religiously. I still say the pinnacle of all TV cop shows was Hill Street Blues. It was truly cutting-edge in its time & sowed the seeds for all the great modern cops shows that came after it. NYPD Blue, Law & Order, CSI, etc can all trace their roots back to Hill Street Blues.

I saw an episode only last week on one of the cable channels. Fantastic, but dated. It’s one of the few tv programmes I’ve bought the soundtrack to. Mike Post, genius.

There were lots of Bill actors I recognised last night, sadly, none of which for being in the Bill (except that tall guy who has served almost as long in the fictional show as I have in real-life, can’t recall his name though). I’m sure I saw 2 ex-Eastenders, someone from Casualty & someone else from Waking the Dead.

I suppose the Bill is ingrained in the collective psyche of this country. I know a few years ago people would often ask me if being a copper was anything like the Bill. I always replied that I hadn’t a clue, but I bet whatever it is like it is a bloody site more exciting than real-life.

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9 comments

  1. Andy Lambert says:

    Hill Street Blues still has a huge following today and it is in fact nearer to twenty seven years old.

    Readers may be interested to know there is an active fans website and Egroup, both of which can be found from this link http://www.hillstreetblues.tv

    The website is not as good as The Bill’s but we don’t have any money to spend on it.

    Cheers Andy

    November 15th, 2008 at 23:08

  2. Blueknight says:

    We had a ‘TV room’ upstairs at the Police Station and we all used to come in early so we could watch The Sweeney before rushing downstairs for nightshift.
    Everybody wanted to join the CID at that time and I think ‘The Sweeney’ was responsible.

    November 16th, 2008 at 00:40

  3. Retired Copper says:

    Back in the late 50s or early 60s a predecessor of Z Cars got it just right. CID go to a house and arrest a bloke. He goes with a struggle. His young teenage son runs into the street and hurls a stone after the retreating car. DC still at scene says to his mate, “If he hits that car we’ll be writing for a fortnight.” Some things never change.

    November 16th, 2008 at 18:32

  4. Tony F says:

    ‘The Bill’ started off Ok, but I haven’t watched it for years, it got too ‘soapy’.

    Children in Need, the casts of all those shows really do pull the stops out for the kids. Good for them! And for everyone involved.

    November 16th, 2008 at 20:34

  5. MarkUK says:

    Quite right Tony F.

    Why do these series dramas un-evolve (?devolve?) into soaps?

    I am old enouth to remember when Casualty was a real drama about an NHS A&E department. In those days, many people still referred to A&E as “casualty”.

    November 16th, 2008 at 20:59

  6. Barksdale says:

    Watch “The Wire.” Believe me – you will never want to watch another cop show again. It really is that good.

    November 16th, 2008 at 21:40

  7. Todd says:

    And look at you, barksdale. Giving a f*** when it ain’t even your turn to give a f***.
    ;-)

    November 16th, 2008 at 21:47

  8. Plodnomore says:

    The Bill was a follow on from a one-off 1 hour play called ‘Woodentop” which was about a young PC Jim Carver who had just joined the Met. The main part of the story was that he had stopped a dealt with a couple of young lads who were giving him lip and he slapped one on the head. Of course this set the alarm bells ringing upstairs and it ended up with his Sgt going to alocal pub and speaking to the father of the boy who replied something like, “If I had been that copper and had been told what my boy said to him, I’d have slapped him round the head.” Although not Met, I found the early days of the Bill fairly realistic and noticed that they had the new kit before the real Met did. It all became very soap opera-ish and I lost interest, though my favourite character was Burnside. A couple of years before I retired I found myself taking part in an open day at my nick where I was asked by a MOP with his family which television Police programme was most realistic. Not knowing the station Supt was stood behind me I replied that there had been two which stood out in my mind. One was “Rosie” and the other was “The Thin Blue Line”. I had some explaining to do to justify my response. Happy days.

    November 18th, 2008 at 21:42

  9. Pages tagged "hill street blues" says:

    [...] bookmarks tagged hill street blues 200 Weeks » Woodentops saved by 25 others     entengo0 bookmarked on 12/08/08 | [...]

    December 9th, 2008 at 03:53

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