Fitting the bill 

23 January 2009 tbs.pm/1010

The Bill cut to once a week

Although the motive for trimming back ITV1’s The Bill to a once a week, post-watershed slot is mainly financial (drama in particular being expensive to produce), this could represent an long overdue opportunity for ITV to do a much-needed revamp of the peak time ITV1 schedule.

Scheduling The Bill at 9pm also helps to fill a hole in that particularly tricky weekday 9 to 10pm ITV1 slot that ITV has had trouble with in recent times, and this post-watershed problem was also one of the reasons for bringing back News At Ten since longer form dramas and films after 9pm weren’t performing that well for whatever reason.

Plus moving The Bill out of the pre-9pm firing line means that it won’t have to be shunted round the schedule to make way for all the championship football that ITV will be showing, hence it should retain a stronger viewer loyalty as well as being able to become more ‘grittier’ as a result (hopefully not just the gratuitous inclusion of some swearing).

The Bill has been through several incarnations in its 25-year existence from initially being a single drama through to a half-hour soap, and now it has become a once-weekly post-watershed drama. Let us hope that ITV will now consider trimming back its overreliance on Corrie and Emmerdale if this move proves to be successful.