The Bill: FAQs

When a show has been running as long as The Bill, you'd expect there to be a few burning questions. Here are some of the most common.

The Bill

Where is Sun Hill station?

Sun Hill isn't a TV studio, but a real building in South London that would be capable of serving as an actual police station if need be. The building is called Bosun House and it was named after the pet dog of one of the programme's original producers.

How real are the police uniforms and weapons?

The cast of The Bill wear authentic police uniforms that are periodically bought from the Met by the programme's makers. Their retractable metal batons are also authentic police-issue weapons, although in fight scenes the metal batons are replaced by painted wooden props to prevent accidental injuries to the actors.

Do the actors ever get mistaken for real police officers when out filming?

Sometimes, but a real effort is made to keep things discreet. The police cars have their police markings covered up by tape when the cameras aren't rolling, and no police sirens are ever used ? the sound effect is dubbed on later. Similarly, all the Sun Hill signs are removed from Bosun House when filming is complete, so people don't think it's a real police station.

Have any big name stars been in the show?

While established celebs such as Hugh Laurie and Rik Mayall have appeared on The Bill, the series has also served as a springboard for rising stars. Current big names Robert Carlyle and Sean Bean were both young unknowns when they landed roles in early episodes.

Didn't Frank Burnside have a different name once?

Indeed he did. Sun Hill's most notorious copper was called Tommy Burnside when he first turned up as a supporting character in the series. His name was changed to Frank when he became a regular character, as the writers felt this suited him better.

How many years was The Bill on TV for?

The series was nearly 26 years old when it ended in 2010, making it the longest-running police series on UK television.