Characters / The Bill
A 2003 official book on the show, dedicating a large paragraph to each character, still manages to get to 20 pages for its character section. Yep, there's been that many. Oddly enough, most of them haven't died. Emphasis on most
You may start humming whichever version of "Overkill" you like best and please tell us how many you get through while reading this.
Characters are placed in the location they spent most of their time- some moved between branches. Please note that female characters can only be referred to here as WPC if they were in the show entirely before 1994.
A complete list of character deaths can be found at the bottom of this page (moved from the main page
for reasons of space and clarity), but characters that were Killed Off for Real
are also marked with (DECEASED)
Chief Superintendent Charles Brownlow Played by Peter Ellis
- Benevolent Boss
- Da Chief
- Desk Jockey
- Nepotism — a running gag was that Brownlow only got to Chief Super thanks to his connections to the masons, and that while he's not totally incompetent he's certainly out of touch with modern policing.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: In his final scene he gave his Smug Snake Arch-Enemy Guy Mannion one of these warning him not to mess with the Sun Hill coppers as they were the best ones he'd ever worked with
- Vitriolic Best Buds: It is difficult to describe his relationship with Chief Inspector Derek Conway as anything other than the Type 2 variant.
Chief Superintendent Guy MannionPlayed by Nick Miles
- Arch-Enemy — To Charles Brownlow, due to both competing for the position of Borough Commander (Which Mannion eventually won.) Also instrumental in the reformation of the entire CID department at Sun Hill following the Don Beech scandal and Charles Brownlow's forceful resignation.
- Smug Snake
- What Happened to the Mouse? — after reforming the entire CID department and bullying Charles Brownlow into resigning he was succeeded in his position of Borough Commander and promptly disappeared without trace.
Superintendent John HeatonPlayed by Daniel Flynn
Superintendent Adam OkaroPlayed by Cyril Nri
Superintendent Tom Chandler (DECEASED)Played by Steven Hartley
Heretics, they used to call them. Outsiders. Whatever it is, this thing... it's inside ME.
—Supt Tom Chandler
- Bad Boss
- Dirty Cop
- Fair Cop
- He-Man Woman Hater: One of his defining traits and what eventually led to his extremely dark backstory reveal and his eventual downfall. Raped at least 3 women, with absolutely no regret. The other women he had relationships with, such as D.C's Debbie Mcallister and Kate Spears, he used as no more than tools to be exploited.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm
- Villainous Breakdown — His entire final episode, which ends with him shooting himself in the head.
Chief Inspector Derek Conway (DECEASED)Played by Ben Roberts
Sometimes you just want to lock yourself inside your office, and tell the rest of the world to Foxtrot Oscar.
—Chief Insp Derek Conway
Inspector Andrew Monroe (DECEASED)Played by Colin Tarrant
PC/Sgt/Insp Dale SmithPlayed by Alex Walkinshaw
- Cartwright Curse — Smithy tends to be very unlucky in love.
- Character Development:
- And a lot of it too. Its very easy to forget that when he was first introduced in 1999, 'PC' Dale Smith was portrayed as being a bigot and a bully, who was brought into the show mainly to shake up the existing cast dynamic. He eventually left to join (as it was called then) SO 19, the Armed Response dudes of the Met, and managed to end Bob Cryer's career by an unfortunate gunshot. When he returned as a regular character in 2003, Sergeant Dale Smith was generally shown to be a very moral and totally sympathetic character, and certainly by the time it was axed in 2010 he had more or less become the defacto "star" of the series.
- An interesting fact is that he was shown to be very much Bob Cryer's protégé, with the two sharing an almost father/son bond. Cryer was the one who supported Smithy's application to SO 19, and over the course of their shared time on the series it was clear that Cryer was smoothing down the rough edges on this younger officer. By the time he became a Sergeant/Inspector, Smithy had mellowed to become more or less a younger version of Sgt Cryer.
- It's Personal — The whole feud with PC Gabriel Kent.
WPC/Sergeant June AcklandPlayed by Trudie Goodwin
- Alone Among the Couples: Her nickname (self-titled, even) was "Good Old Dependable Sexless June", for her definite lack of luck in the love department.
- False Soulmate: Jim Carver.
- Love Hurts: Poor June is unlucky in love. Averted in that she was written out of the series having finally found a stable relationship.
- Married to the Job
- Will They or Won't They?: There was some degree of this between her and Roy Galloway in the first two seasons.
- Working with the Ex: Jim Carver, again.
- Long Runner: Trudie Goodwin was (and remains) the longest serving member of the cast, having been in the original 1983 pilot episode (even the second longest serving character, Reg Hollis, only appeared for the first time a year later, while the third, Tony Stamp, hadn't even become a regular until 1988).
- Team Mom
Sergeant Bob CryerPlayed by Eric Richard
You'd get all your paperwork done a lot quicker if you used the computer.
I'm perfectly happy with my quill and parchment, thank you very much.
—Sgt Bob Cryer
- Berserk Button — You couldn't get a more straight-laced copper than Bob Cryer. But if anybody mentioned his troubled son Patrick, with whom Cryer had some Parental Issues (most specifically I Have No Son), he was liable to get very moody with them.
- By-the-Book Cop
- Doesn't Like Guns — Cryer was never particularly comfortable with being one of the station's Authorised Firearms Officers, particularly after an incident where he accidentally shot and killed a (technically) unarmed robber. He often advised younger officers against going on firearms training courses. Ironically, he was written out of the series after getting a leg wound from friendly fire.
- Old-Fashioned Copper
- Reasonable Authority Figure
- Team Dad
Sergeant Alec PetersPlayed by Larry Dann
I could spend all afternoon trying to figure out which one of them is Tom and which one is Harry, and I'd end up being Dick!
—Sgt Alec Peters
- Kicked Upstairs — His departure storyline.
- Nice Guy: Alec was generally seen as a dependable and genial man but no-one questioned his skills as a Sergeant. But as Frank Burnside summarised to "Tosh" Lines when he heard Alec was supervising the arrival of former Sun Hill typing pool personnel Sassy Black Woman Delia French as a WPC:
Poor old Alec, he'd be safer with a rabid rottweiler!
—DI Frank Burnside on Alec 'puppy-walking' Delia French
- Old-Fashioned Copper
- Pastimes Prove Personality — His love of gardening.
Sergeant Tom PennyPlayed by Roger Leach
- Achey Scars — The gunshot wound that he receives at the end of Season Three would continue to occasionally flare up in really tense situations in the years afterwards.
- Directed By Castmember — Roger Leach wrote a number of scripts after leaving the series.
PC Reg HollisPlayed by Jeff Stewart
PC Cathy BradfordPlayed by Connie Hyde
Cathy Bradford? She's got about as much community spirit as Adolf Hitler
(W)PC Polly PagePlayed by Lisa Geoghan
- The Cutie
- Not as You Know Them — She was written out of the series in 2002, following her role in the 'Dave Quinnan' exit storyline. Then she was brought back a whole year later, having supposedly been "on leave" for all that time, only to immediately be plunged into a storyline where she commited murder and lost her job as a cop. And THEN she was brought back again a few months later as a "civilian" worker at the station, where what little dignity the character still had left was systematically removed, before she was finally dumped for good in early 2004. To anyone who grew up watching the optimistic and loveable WPC Page of 1992-2001, it was like we were watching the same actress playing a completely different person.
- Destructive Romance: Dave Quinnan again.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist
PC Leela KapoorPlayed by Seema Bowri
- Aborted Arc: Very near to the end of Paul Marquess' time as executive producer of the series (2005), there is an episode where WPC Kapoor and PC Valentine work together to uncover the corruption of a uniformed Sergeant over at Barton Street nick. The episode even ends with a Sequel Hook, with PC Valentine informing her that he'll support her if she chooses to follow-through with her allegation, although it will likely drag both of them through the mud (coppers who grass on other coppers, even ones who are genuinely in the wrong, tend to be looked on very unfavourably by their colleagues). Given the heavily serialised nature of the programme at that stage, you might have expected this storyline to be followed up in further episodes, exploring the fallout of this affair. But it wasn't. It was dropped completely. The (off screen) outcome did get a belated mention in WPC Kapoor's final episode three years later, though.
- By-the-Book Cop: See above example. She came to the series having already grassed on a corrupt colleague at a previous nick, and with all the emotional baggage attached to that.
PC Gabriel Kent (DECEASED)Played by Todd Carty
PC Cass Rickman (DECEASED)Played by Suzanne Maddock
PC Tony StampPlayed by Graham Cole
PC Kerry Young (DECEASED)Played by Beth Cordingly
PC Des Taviner (DECEASED)Played by Paul Usher
DSI/DCI/Superintendent Jack MeadowsPlayed by Simon Rouse
DS/DI/DCI Frank BurnsidePlayed by Christopher Ellison
- Bald of Awesome
- Bluffing the Murderer — He employs this technique more than once.
- Cowboy Cop
- Deadpan Snarker — Probably the most famous example in the series.
- Field Promotion — This is how he gets from DI to DCI after going undercover for five years. His promotion happened off-screen.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop — Go on, try and guess which one he pretends to be.
- Jerkass — Unlike his predecessor at Sun Hill, DI Roy Galloway (see below), Frank Burnside has no sense of esprit de corps. He'll very happily spit-roast a member of his own team if he thinks it'll get him brownie points with his bosses, and a continuing theme of his time on the series is the distrust that the officers under his command have of him, and of his methods. And that's just the way Frank likes it.
- Kubrick Stare
- Lying to the Perp — This is usually what starts to happen when Bluffing the Murderer doesn't get Frank the result that he wants.
- Put on a Bus — Twice. His first departure (1993) seen him vanish between episodes with only a perfunctory "after the fact" explanation, while his second departure (2000) happened because he was moved over to a Spin-Off series. Which was then cancelled. His ultimate fate was never revealed.
- Commuting on a Bus — As noted, he came back for a series of semi-regular guest appearances in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
- Rabid Cop — He occasionally comes across this way.
- Retcon — Arguably. His character was portrayed as being extremely dodgy in his first few guest appearances in the series. But after they made him a regular character, they gave him the backstory of it all having been part of his undercover duties (his job having been to weed out other corrupt officers). None of which excuses the fact that he continues to do pretty much the same kind of things after his promotion, of course...
- Torture for Fun and Information — He was doing it years before Gene Hunt came along, though. Most noteably, one of his most well known tactics for getting confessions out of suspects was to flush their heads down the toilet.
Detective Inspector Roy GallowayPlayed by John Salthouse
I don't give a shit about reliefs, over-time budgets, or any of your petty arguments. All I want to do is cut the crime on my manor. That IS the job we're being paid to do, remember?
- Fiery Redhead
- Married to the Job — And also a Workaholic. He's in the middle of going through a very messy divorce when the series begins.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold — Roy Galloway exhibits many similar outward personality traits to Frank Burnside. The difference being, underneath it all, he's generally a more amiable person... he just allows the stresses of his job to get to him from time to time. When push comes to shove, he always supports those under his command. He does have conflicts with his fellow officers in the course of his duties, which makes him appear abrasive. But he'll always make it up to them, apologising and buying them a drink after work. And he's always quick to give praise to others, when he thinks its due.
- The Other Darrin: Played by Robert Pugh in the 1983 pilot episode, played by John Salthouse in the series proper.
- Put on a Bus — Between seasons three and four. Its interesting that he was never given any kind of departure storyline (or even an explantion as to where he went), given he was such a pivotal character in nearly all of the first 36 episodes.
- Drives Like Crazy — Galloway pushes his motor to its limits in nearly every episode. This was eventually Lampshaded when, in the middle of one Chase Scene, the thing flat out refused to go any longer, and he had to spend the next fifteen minutes of the episode desperately trying to convince a car dealer to trade it in for something else. When called out on his aggressive driving, he was prone to protest "what are you talking about? I'm Hendon trained".
DS Ted RoachPlayed by Tony Scannell
Get that scum out of here!
—Ted Roach after headbutting a man who spat at him during a police raid
DS/DI Samantha "Sam" NixonPlayed by Lisa Maxwell
DS Don BeechPlayed by Billy Murray
DC Alfred "Tosh" LinesPlayed by Kevin Lloyd
Sergeant/DC Jo Masters (transferred to uniform on promotion)Played by Sally Rogers
DS/DC Stevie MossPlayed by Lucy Speed
DC Zain NadirPlayed by T.J. Ramini
DC Danny GlazePlayed by Karl Collins
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Genre Savvy: Paticularly when dealing with drug gangs and barons. There is a reason why he was chosen to do a lot of undercover work in his time at Sunhill.
- Improbable Hairstyle: He spent most of his first three years in the series sporting a Jackson Five-esque afro haircut, which was the subject of much mickey taking. But after a few years...
- Nice Guy
- Put on a Bus to Hell
Crime Scene Examiner.
Due in large part to its frequent cast turnover
, the series has killed off a lot of its characters during its 26+ year run. Here is a list of these fatal casualties.
- PC Ken Melvin- Blown up by an IRA car bomb.
- PC Pete Ramsay - Shot down in the middle of a bank raid gone wrong, while saving DC "Tosh" Lines' life.
- PC Phil Young - Gassed himself in a car.
- DC Viv Martella - Killed by armed robbers.
- DS Jo Morgan - Shot by a hitman (who was shooting at Ackland).
- PC Cathy Marshall - Fell in the river and drowned while chasing a suspect by the docks in the middle of the night. Strongly implied to have been pushed.
- DC Rosie Fox - Strangled.
- PC Eddie Santini - After getting off for murder, he was shot by a Dirty Cop.
- DS John Boulton - Got his head smacked repeatedly against a concrete floor by Dirty Cop Don Beech.
- SC Terry Knowles - Stabbed to death in his fourth episode.
- Chief Inspector Conway - Got a petrol bomb thrown in his car.
- Inspector Monroe - Killed in the fire.
- DC Kate Spears - Killed as a result of the fire.
- PC Ben Hayward - ditto.
- DC Paul Riley - ditto.
- PC Di Worrell - ditto.
- PC Sam Harker - ditto, although Taviner seriously considered switching off his life support since he was a witness to his actions (see his own entry).
- Superintendent Tom Chandler - Shot himself in the head after it emerged he had covered up a rape. Before that, he'd raped his pregnant (who conceived with him in a disabled toilet at a memorial service) new wife and taken her hostage.
- PC Cass Rickman - December 2002, strangled by the Sun Hill Serial Killer.
- Sergeant Matt Boyden - Shot in the street in a drive-by, involving his own daughter.
- DC Juliet Becker - Stabbed in a van. Guess being bisexual is not a good thing to be in Sun Hill.
- PC Des Taviner - Actually responsible for the Sun Hill fire (he'd chucked a petrol bomb in to destroy some fake currency and failed to realise there was a gas cylinder in there). Was beaten to death by a mentally-ill cell mate.
- PC Kerry Young - Shot by Gabriel Kent outside Sun Hill nick. He'd earlier raped her. To top it all, she was pregnant.
- DC Rob Thatcher - After shooting the woman who had killed his father many years ago, committed Suicide by Cop.
- DC Ken Drummond - In a van filled with petrol that was driven into the front reception by a racist, sacked officer.
- PC Andrea Dunbar - Left to die in the petrol-filled van incident by Gabriel Kent. It had just been revealed to the others that she was an undercover journalist.
- SRO Marilyn Chambers - Killed in the same incident, just as Reg Hollis was going to propose to her.
- PC Gabriel Kent- Really went to town on the whole Dirty Cop business. Used a false name to join up, seduced June Ackland, then pretended he was her long-lost son (he wasn't, he just lived with him) and was responsible for the deaths of two officers (see above), as well as raping two others. Decided to jump off a high-rise rather than face justice.
- PC Lance Powell - Strangled by another Serial Killer. Being gay and Christian isn't a good thing in Sun Hill either.
- PC Honey Harman - Shot dead by Zain Nadir's criminal lover.
- PC Billy Rowan - July 2007, throat cut. In his first episode, no less.
- PC Emma Keane - Was the last one out of an exploding building. As well as the final death in the series.