“CSO: Sun Hill will look very similar to The Bill,” said ITV executive, Peter Fincham, “although it will lack dramatic power and the public can simply choose to ignore it.”
The show will centre on a team of Community Support Officers as they go about their day doing the important work of smiling and nodding at people in the street. In the first episode of the cutting edge drama, Mrs Peabody’s cat, Jeffers, goes missing until one of the officers finally discovers it sleeping safely in the potting shed.
“CSO: Sun Hill will provide essential back-up and support to the hard work done by real police dramas such as Waking the Dead and A Touch of Frost," said Home Secretary Alan Johnson, "of course it will never replace them but a uniformed presence on ITV will provide the British public with a sense of security and reassurance.”
Shadow Justice Secretary, Dominic Grieve remained unconvinced: “People won’t feel safe until we have real Bobbies back on our screens. I can promise that under a Conservative government we will be bringing back Dixon of Dock Green and Juliet Bravo.”
Mark Wingett, who played The Bill’s PC Jim Carver, said: "It's a great shame to be losing the show after 27 years. I only hope that CSO: Sun Hill can continue to provide the same crucial frontline work done by The Bill – namely, giving jobs to out of work actors.”
There is increasing concern that with so many actors from The Bill facing redundancy, many of them will become so desperate they could turn to Crimewatch. However, the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that every actor on The Bill will be given full retraining to get them jobs on Casualty, Holby City and Doctors.
CSO: Sun Hill begins next Monday, although for a probationary period all the early episodes will go out accompanied by experienced officer, DCI Burnside.