UKTV Play goes back on the beat with The Bill

UKTV Play goes back on the beat with The Bill

Thursday 16 April 2020

UKTV's video-on-demand service UKTV Play has secured exclusive rights to police procedural drama The Bill following a deal with Fremantle. The weekly drama followed the lives of policemen and women working at the fictional Sun Hill Police Station in East London.

The much-loved show, which ran for 26 years from 1984 to August 2010, was renowned for giving stars who are now successful their first break. Celebrities including actress Keira Knightley, entertainer and author David Walliams, actor Sean Bean, singer Emma Bunton and comedian Russell Brand all appeared as extras on the show.

Series 1-5 of The Bill will start streaming on 1 May at 10am, with a further series being made available at the start of each month.

The Bill was originally conceived as a one-off drama by television writer Geoff McQueen, who had originally titled the production Old Bill. It was picked up by Michael Chapman for ITV franchise holder Thames Television, who retitled it Woodentop as part of Thames's "Storyboard" series of one-off dramas and was broadcast on ITV under the title Woodentop on 16 August 1983. Woodentop starred Mark Wingett as PC Jim Carver and Trudie Goodwin as WPC June Ackland of London's Metropolitan Police, both attached to the fictional Sun Hill police station.

The drama impressed ITV to the extent that a full series was commissioned, first broadcast on 16 October 1984 with one post-watershed episode per week, featuring an hour-long, separate storyline for each episode of the first three series. In 1988 The Bill moved to half-hour episodes.

The deal for UKTV Play was negotiated by acquisitions manager Charlie Charalambous with Fremantle, who said,

The Bill is wildly popular on UKTV Play so I'm delighted we've been able to secure the back catalogue, bringing more of The Bill to fans.

Jamie Lynn, EVP Head of EMEA Distribution, International at Fremantle said,

We're delighted to support UKTV to bring more classic episodes of the Bill to UKTV Play at a time when we know audiences are looking to rediscover some of their favourite TV moments.

UKTV Play is a free on demand TV service. The Bill series 1-5 launches 10am on 1 May.


Note to editors: Series 6 launching 1 June. Series 7 launching 1 July. Series 8 Launching 1 August. Series 9 launching 1 September.



About UKTV

UKTV has been at the forefront of branded television for over 25 years, entertaining the nation with programmes they love. Its leading brands - Dave, Gold, W, Drama, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday - span comedy, entertainment, natural history, factual and drama, and are delivered to audiences through UKTV Play, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat and Amazon Fire. The broadcaster is a significant investor in British creativity and is committed to working with new and established writers, directors and programme-makers.

UKTV is part of BBC Studios, the UK's most-awarded production company, a world-class distributor with international branded services, and a commercial subsidiary of the world's leading public service broadcaster, the BBC. | | @uktvpress

About Fremantle

Fremantle is one of the largest and most successful creators, producers and distributors of scripted and unscripted content in the world. From Got Talent to My Brilliant Friend, Family Feud to The Young Pope, Idols to American Gods, The Price is Right to Neighbours and The X Factor to Deutschland 83 - we are behind the world's most-loved and most-watched shows.

We have an outstanding international network of production teams, companies and labels in over 30 countries - our Fremantle family includes UFA (Germany), Wildside (Italy), Abot Hameiri (Israel), Miso Film (Denmark, Sweden and Norway), Blue Circle (Netherlands), Original Productions (USA) and Easy Tiger (Australia) to name a few. We produce in excess of 12,000 hours of original programming, roll out more than 70 formats and air 400 programmes a year worldwide. We also distribute over 20,000 hours of content in more than 200 territories.

As a world leader in digital and branded entertainment, we have more than 370 million subscribers across 1,500 social channels and over 100 billion views across all platforms - and are the creator of Facebook's most viewed video of all time, The Sacred Riana.

For more information, visit, or follow us @FremantleHQ and visit our LinkedIn and Facebook pages.