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Tuesday, 11 July, 2000, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Veteran Bill star to leave
Eric Richard
Eric Richard was seen in episode one in 1984
One of the longest-serving characters in ITV police drama The Bill - Sergeant Bob Cryer, played by Eric Richard - is to be written out, it has been confirmed.

Richard, 60, is reported to have only found out his fate when a colleague read a script describing his retirement party.

He plays a leading role in the series, as his character runs the desk at the fictional Sun Hill police station.

Richard was one of the first people to be seen in The Bill's debut episode in October 1984.

He did not become an actor until the age of 29, but made up for his late start with appearances in TV shows including The Onedin Line, Angels, Shoestring and Juliet Bravo.

Richard was chosen for the part of Cryer while appearing in the Royal Court Theatre in London in Martin Allen's play Red Saturday.

Retiring

A spokesman for the show confirmed Richard read about his possible fate in a script proposal, but added his departure would be "about two years down the line".

"We're trying to reflect life in real police stations. He is in his 50s, and would be retiring in the next few years," he said.

Earlier this year, it was announced six actors were to leave the show, including Peter Ellis (Chief Superintendent Brownlow) and Billy Murray (DS Don Beech).

The show, produced by Thames Television, started in 1983 as a one-off drama, Woodentop, with The Bill following in 1984.

In 1989 it was transmitted in half-hourly episodes, twice a week, with an extra instalment added in 1993, but reverted to its old hour-long format in 1998.

See also:

30 May 00 | Entertainment
Bill cast clear-out
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