ITV1 police drama The Bill found itself the victim of a real-life crime after a burglar stole editing equipment and a tape from the show's London studios.
The Bill has been running for more than 20 years
The Metropolitan Police said a man aged about 50, wearing a high visibility jacket and a black hat, sneaked into the building on Wednesday morning.
The man had pulled up in a white Ford transit van with a male passenger of a similar age and wearing a flat cap.
A spokeswoman for The Bill said the tape was in one of the stolen machines.
"We can't comment because it's now a police matter," she added.
The police said no-one has been arrested yet and they were continuing with their inquiries.
The show, produced by Thames Television, started in 1983 as a one-off drama, Woodentop, with The Bill following in 1984.
The twice-weekly series, set in the fictional Sun Hill Police Station, has become a staple in the primetime ITV schedule since its launch.
Its 20th anniversary episode in 2004, which was a special live show, attracted close to 10m viewers.