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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 November, 2003, 14:07 GMT
The Bill: Was live episode arresting?
The Bill
ITV1 police serial The Bill celebrated its 20th anniversary with an hour-long live show on Thursday.

A 200-strong crew guided cast members through the episode at the programme's south London base.

Before the broadcast, a spokesman said: "Live drama rarely happens on screen these days. It's nerve-wracking for everyone."

But what did you think? Did the actors pull it off? Was it as convincing as a normal episode? Or was it just criminal?

This debate is now closed - here is a selection of your views.

Did anyone else notice that during the resucitation scene the Doctor said "Right, that's been 3 minutes, I think we should stop. Does everyone agree?" As a nurse I know that they would have spent much longer working on such a young patient. That was my only critisism about the show last night (and that is only because I am a nurse.) Otherwise, I think it was really well done. Congrats to all the staff involved. Hope Gary is alright! Can't wait till next week.
Rita, Ireland

It was ok, but did it really have to have so much misery? Could there not of been some fun and happiness?
Di, United Kingdom

Yes, they did pull it off. As good as any recorded programme. To know that it was live seemed to add to the drama.
Paul Stewart, Portsmouth, UK.

Good all round performances from all the cast. A little bit annoying that the scenes were very quick and would flick from one to the other every minute.
Chris Foster, UK

I think my son summed it up perfectly, considering none of us knew (at the time) that it was live, when he said "Is it just me, or is the acting a bit naff?" Stick to the prerecorded stuff, guys and gals.
Brian P, UK

I thought it was superbly done and brilliantly acted. As a long time fan i.e. since day one, it was good to see the episode and let the actors show what genuinely good actors and actresses they all are. And it was very clever the way they did the falling off the roof bit at the end with no fancy editing. Well done!!
Rick Eastwood, UK

Totally fantastic, I've been a follower of the Bill for years and thought they did an excellent job live!!
Stuart Meads, UK

Thought it was all absolutely brilliant I'm one of the few who have never seen a full episode of The Bill, BUT last night I was riveted, and saw every second. Loved the way they mentioned McCartney's baby, and the clock on the wall to let you know it was live. I am now hooked and will not miss another episode, FANTASTIC TV and well done to ALL the actors.
Lynda Barnett, Isle of Man

PC Gary Best is the most irritating character on the soap. Hope he died at the end. And the actress that was killed off, well let's face it, she was expendable, being put in rediculous storylines. Bring back the old character on younger people like them.
Parms, UK

It was great, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. In fact the only thing I was gutted about was that June and Jim didn't get it on. The acting was fantastic & the ending superb. I used to be a total Bill fan but as of late have got fed up with its soap-like feel but last night in true Bill style they totally entertained us & without a fluffed line in sight. Well done to all involved - would love to see a behind the scenes of how they went about doing the live episode.
Lara M, UK

I thought it was done so well that it might not be live. Very arresting television! I only wish we could have seen them cheering at the end as we did with the Corrie Stars!
Linda Groarke, UK

It was great! I liked the ending scenes.
Jamie, UK

It was great! Short sharp scenes, no hitches and excellently acted. What's more, as you know that it was shown live, you felt a sheer adrenaline rush watching it, that you don't get with the recorded versions! Great idea...when is the next live episode?
Matt Winslow, UK

Well done! I really enjoyed this episode, understanding this was a live episode they did a absolutely superb job. Great acting, writing and directing. Many congratulations to all the cast and crew who worked so hard to bring this groundbreaking, live episode to the small screen.
John Ledward, England

Brilliant! I am not really much of a Bill fan, but last night's episode was very well done. To begin with I was just watching it to spot flaws and mistakes, but instead I was engrossed by the storyline and at times completely forgot about how it filmed live. A little bit over acted to begin with, but improved as the show went on and amusing to see the doctor take ages to read the clock on the wall for Juliet Becker's time of death.

So many short scenes, very well timed and an excellently done ending!! Well done The Bill!
Alex, Kingston, UK

I watched this episode because it was live and the actors have a reputation for being a bit ropey.

It did not disappoint - there was clearly a contest between the script writers and the actors to see who could perform their task the worst.

I think the actors shaded it with a staggering display of woodeness and a criminal lack of any facial expression variety.

If the producers can promise this quality of programme on a regular basis I will certainly watch The Bill in future - assuming my sides can stand the strain.
Christopher Journeaux, Jersey

The live show was fantastic and nerve racking as much for me as a viewer as it must have been for the cast and crew. Thanks guys - you're FAB. We need more good live drama like this - it adds an air of excitement for viewers.
Gary Ridings, England

Rivetting stuff - had me on the edge of my seat, especially the ending and can hardly wait for next week to see the outcome. The actors and actresses did very well considering that it was a live show and it was great to see that Des had not perished in the fire.
Cathy Macdonald, Glasgow, United Kingdom

I was very impressed - I didn't expect the accident at the end. It was funny when DI Nixon handed over to Ken, then realised she was out of view of the camera.
Adrian, England

It was a fantastic live show and congrats to all of the cast and crew. I was dubious beforehand, but it was a great storyline and well-acted.
Margaret Bailey, England

The cast did really well. Good idea to use a very fast-moving and dramatic episode for the live broadcast (short scenes; panic, confusion and emotion demanded by the storyline could cover nerves).

I particularly liked the little scene with June and Jim reminiscing: very natural and warm.

Glad to see Des back from the dead (and Dennis from Corrors!), but shocked by the bodycount (assuming Gary's dead)...a bit OTT for a single episode?

Please, please, please can Kathy Bradford be found out VERY SOON????? I can't wait for her to get what she deserves!
Kirsty, UK

One of the best episodes of The Bill I have ever seen. I stopped watching it a few years ago but last night's episode was excellent. I was waiting for a blooper, but not one. It was very difficult to tell it wasn't pre-recorded. Well done.
D Kelly, UK

I popped out to the kitchen at one point during the show (stupidly!) and when I came back Cathy Bradford received a phone call on her mobile in the Yard at the back of the Nick. She said something about "on live television and that she was busy" did anyone else notice that or had I missed something while I was in the kitchen!? Did someone actually call her on purpose during the filming?
Ian, North Wales, UK

It was great!!! This is a fantastic show - well done to all involved and keep up the good work!!! One of the best shows ever I have to admit!
Sean Corr, Co.Antrim

I've been a fan of The Bill for ages, and this was one of the best episodes I've ever seen - fantastic!

All the cast and crew did an absolutely amazing job, and the story, particularly the last 10 minutes, was real edge of the seat stuff.

Nice touch with Jim Carver mentioning about Sir Paul's baby - just to prove it was live!
Carl Fraser, Kent, UK

Great! The show has got a lot better recently and this episode made sure it was straight back on track. The acting was fantastic - such professionals!
Mark, England

I did witness an over-dramatic start and Gary Best was not at his best with a little too much effort. I think we can forgive him that. As a young actor this would have proved a valuable learning curve for him and all cast and crew. You have to hand it to ITV for having the sheer courage to attempt this. However, while I'm not taking anything away from the programme the whole episode did seem a little too immediate. As an exercise it definitely worked. Note to BBC...catch up!
Mal Pearson, UK

Brilliant show. I have been a follower of The Bill for years. I was dubious about the 'live' show but was glued to the set. The acting was excellent with only a few shaky moments. Well done all.
Annie, Wales

I thought it was fantastic! The actors did extremely well and it was a very dramatic storyline - still not too sure about the surgical registrar and his ability to tell the time!
Ben Gernon,UK

Just shows you that people can't act without clever post production editing.
Cathy,UK

Great! You knew it was live because the background noise was more audiable than normal. Very well done.
Tracey Scott, UK

I thought it was very good, a bit sad in places, amazing how all the actors from EastEnders and Brookside have all ended up in The Bill.
Naila Malik, England

I thoroughly enjoyed it and only spotted one blooper - Eva Sharp shining an unlit torch around!
Julian Morris, England

I have to admit, I did wonder if it really was live because of the sheer smoothness of it all! I thought they all did brilliantly, and I hope the success is felected in the next tv awards.
Fiona, UK

I was bit sceptical at the beginning but as the programme continued I enjoyed it even more. The intensity at the end was superb. Some scenes were overracted and this was to be expected as it was a live show. Does this mean the Bill is back to its best? I think so.
Alex Hatch, England

I was actually dubious that it was live as they made an excellent job of it. Thought it was funny when the doctor declared the time of death in the hospital and obviously got to the "Time of death - check clock on wall>" bit and took about 5 seconds to read the time.
Chris Blaylock, Cambridge, UK

It was great - they seemed to go through it like it was a normal episode .. and the end was spectacular!!
Lesley, Scotland

It's just a gimmick and not an original one either. The programme suffers from being done live. The Bill is only a shadow of the excellent drama it once was. It's now just a rather silly soap.
David Patrick, UK

A great show - no different from what you usually show - keep it up.
May Castrey, North Wales

I thought the cast and crew did an incredibly good job given this was live, an award candidate for sure! Some of the most "arresting" television for years.
Daniel Grey, UK

The idea was brilliant, and they nearly pulled it off. I particularly liked the way the producers felt compelled to prove it was live like making topical jokes about the daily news or holding the camera on a wall clock. It was a shame that a few of the actors couldn't stop smirking through some of the more dramatic scenes.
Michael Liff, England

This would have been an important episode anyway due to the sheer body-count. To do such an important, complicated episode live was nothing short of daring. Well written, well performed and well directed - this was an episode that showed just how good this long-running series can be.
Michael Horne, England

I really enjoyed last night's show. Although I knew someone was going to die due to media coverage, Gary Best's accident at the end was a complete shock. Only a few actors seemed wooden. Something that could be covered up by reshooting on a recorded show.
Joanna Brackley,UK

The opening scenes were a bit over-acted, I suppose because the actors were nervous. But they pulled it off with no obvious bloopers and some convincing action scenes - especially towards the end. Good to see live drama on TV again.
Stephen, UK

I thought it was very good, the scenes were quite short, but that's understandable with it being live, I really enjoyed it and it proved just what acting talent Great Britain actually has. There were so many points that it could have gone wrong at e.g. when Juliet was fighting for her life etc. Unlike Coronation Street's Maxine who blinked when she was dead and that wasn't live, the actress who played Juliet did absolutely brillirantly, they should all be really proud of themselves. Great drama, great acting!
Angela, UK

I loved it - I thought they pulled it off well. My only criticism would be that PC Gary Best was over acting just a little too much! Good on them. Some of the older cast were fab.
Gill Arnott, UK

WELL DONE to all the cast who gave a super performance. Apart from two or three rather shaky spots the whole thing went brilliantly and what a finish - explosive. Hope we don't have to wait another 20 years before we see another live episode.
Brett Herriot, Edinburgh, Scotland

I forgot it was live at the beginning, the acting was smooth and compelling. Well done to everyone who took part. I wanted to applaud at the end, wish they'd taken a curtain call!!! Much more professional than the live Corrie episode.
Sue B,UK

I love the Bill but at times it felt a bit like I was watching an episode of Casualty instead.
Helen,England

The Bill is consistantly one of the best of British TV. Last nights live show was another triumph
David,England

There I was hoping that the much publicised on-air death was going to be Polly Page getting revenge on Kathy Bradford. Darn.
Jamie Dunne,UK

Thought the episode was on the whole very good - although Lisa Maxwell did her best to ruin it (great facial expressions!)!!! Gary was irritating, but great for comedy value! Would have been better if it had had DS McCalister and Phil Hunter for added comedy. Liked the extra dropping the keys and Smithey laughing in response!!
Jo,Scotland

It's not fair...!we watched for a whole hour waiting for someone to get their lines wrong or to start laughing in the wrong places, and no-one did!!! Very disappointing! I'm only joking of course, and the fact that none of these tings happened is a credit to the acting skills of the actors involved. We particularly liked the references made to the days 'real-life' news stories, just to remind viewers that it was a live performance. Well done to everyone.
Richard Westlake,UK

Excellent episode, which was added to knowing that it was live. I thought everyone did well and think I only spotted one mistake, when Cathy Shipton couldnt get into the front door!! Well done the Bill!!
Nick Conway,England

I only watched it because it was live. I have not seen The Bill in a long while. I was impressed. There were a few obvious mistakes and continuity errors, but all in all, I enjoyed it.
Amanda,UK

Would never have known it was live, if they had not said in the TV guide. Fantastic acting, and photography
Anthony Mannings,England, UK

I love watching The Bill, I really enjoyed the live episode, the acting was brilliant and professional, and the ending was explosive.
R Edwards,Cheshire

Great episode, and it was funny to see DS Sharpe searching with a torch for a body when the torch was not switched on.
Andrew Duffell,Yarm, England

I think it was brilliant! I was a bit suprised that Juliet Becker died though, she hasn't been in it long! Well done to everyone involved, a top show!
Melanie,Isle of Man

A great episode, I kepted forgetting it was live! The only bit of blooper spotting I can think of was when Des popped up towards the end. You could tell Paul Usher, Des Taviner, had left the show even though his character is still in it by the hair growth, I don't know anyone who's hair would grow that fast in a week, but I suppose you couldn't expect someone to shave their head for the sake of 10 seconds of film. It was certainly better than Corrie's live episode.
Chris Gullick, Newport, South Wales

It was excellent - As a Bill fan I enjoyed it anyway, but you wouldn't have known it was live - perfect! The cast performed excellently.
Beth Ford,England




SEE ALSO:
The Bill prepares for live birthday
30 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Fire boosts The Bill's ratings
23 Apr 02  |  Entertainment
Veteran Bill star to leave
11 Jul 00  |  Entertainment


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