Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

The Bill to move to weekly slot

Cast of The Bill
The Bill celebrated its 25th anniversary last year

Long-running police drama The Bill is to move to a weekly slot after the watershed, ITV has announced.

The broadcaster says it will be the first time on British television that a drama will run all year round in the 9pm slot.

No date has been announced for the switchover from its current twice-weekly 8pm showings.

The Bill, which last year celebrated its 25th anniversary, attracts audiences of more than six million.

ITV's director of television Peter Fincham said: "It's a fantastic opportunity to take the series to another level, marking a new era for one of the most established brands on British television."

Lorraine Heggessey, chief executive of production company Talkback Thames, said the move was "a huge vote of confidence" in the programme.

"We are incredibly proud of the show and we look forward to embracing the new opportunities this will bring," she added.

Last year, The Bill came out top in the battle of the soaps at the Royal Television Society Awards.

It beat competition from Coronation Street and Holby City in the soap and continuing drama category.

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