The Olden Bill
Posted April 24, 2011on:
It was a great day in my life.
Rounding the curve of my cul-de-sac in the London Borough of Merton, I noticed a police car parked up by the gasometer. Not an unusual site in my corner of the urban jungle, but it was only as I passed by that the reality hit me. That police officer on the pavement was no ordinary police officer. It was….TONY STAMP!
Tony Stamp from The Bill.
As it happened, it was only the first of many sightings of cast members from my favourite police drama. ‘Sun Hill’ – usually made out to be a lawless patch of East London – was actually pretty close to where I lived, in the shadow of the Colliers Wood Savacentre. I was practically a resident of ‘the Jasmine Allen’, the infamous badlands of the manor.
Tony Stamp was not my favourite character, but he was a totem of ‘old’ Bill days. When the show started in the mid-80s, it was a solid slice of unglamorous police life, twice a week for half an hour. By the time it was cancelled last year, it had turned into some kind of hyper soap, full of ex-Hollyoaks pretty-pretties, all of whom were involved in affairs with murderers, or murderous drug deals with colleagues, or…meh. Sun Hill was the worst police station in the world. I knew the rot had set in with the bizarre Gabriel Kent storyline, in which Mark from Eastenders played out a bonkers Oedipal drama with the formerly super-normal June. I couldn’t love it like I used to after that.
I loved the old days, though, when whole half-hour episodes could consist of two constables eating pork pies in a squad car and moaning about filling in their timesheets.
And there was eyecandy! Lots of it. So here are some of my favourite Bill boys, just for the memories…
Wide boy detective, never out of trouble, but a bit of a twinkle in the eye…Phil Hunter!
A good man in a tough job – top boss Adam Okaro
My great Bill love, I gather one I might have to fight several other women for, the swoonworthy Smithy
And – aha, now I remember why I was writing this post! – an oldie but goodie, and the model for Adam in Cat and Mouse, the dodgy geezer PC Ramsey
I miss those boys in blue.