Following the news that ITV is dropping drama series The Bill, the Guild has issued the following press release:
WRITERS’ UNION SHOCKED AS ITV KILLS THE BILL
GUILD DEMANDS ASSURANCES ON REPLACEMENT DRAMA
The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, the union that represents the UK’s TV screenwriters, said today it was shocked by ITV’s decision to axe “The Bill”.
The union called on ITV director of television Peter Fincham to strengthen his assurances about commissioning new drama to replace the 27-year-old police series.
Guild General Secretary Bernie Corbett said: “Many TV writers will be hit hard – so will actors, production staff and crews. No series has the right to live for ever, but for the health of the entire UK TV industry it is imperative ITV replaces The Bill with innovative home-grown drama.
“We welcome Mr Fincham’s ongoing commitment to drama programming. But when he says that ITV will continue to invest more in drama programming than any other commercial broadcaster, we note that broadcast hours of drama on other commercial channels are already very limited.
“Writers, both newcomers and experienced, are bursting with ideas and they will be beating a path to ITV’s door. Our message to ITV and Peter Fincham is: Nothing less than 52 hours of new, original, exciting drama each and every year will do.
“ITV has a long and proud history of drama and comedy which must be continued. It is good news that the money saved will be going into new shorter form drama and this needs to preserve the original spirit of The Bill in terms of inventive, writer-led rather than producer-led story-telling and nurturing new writing talent. This is the way to bigger audiences and stronger overseas sales.
“Millions of viewers will mourn an iconic British series. The writers of The Bill over its 27 years deserve a lap of honour.”
The Bill won the 2008 Writers’ Guild Award for the best soap/continuing drama series and the 2009 BAFTA for best continuing drama.
The Guild has also written the following letter to Peter Fincham, Director of Television at ITV (pdf - or click on the screen below)