Explains why clips from them appeared on an advert a while back, then. And Series 5 being the one they pulled with about 5 days notice back in 2017, skipped ahead 10 years and we never got to see. Hopefully we get to see the rest of the 1990-98 run. 1989-97 was the peak of the show, after a shaky start to the half hour episodes- the first few months worth we saw on Drama in 2017 were a bit iffy, rushed and ended abruptly, but they'd improved by the end of 1988.
Hi Ian - series 1 to 5 will be ready to watch right away on May 1st. After that, we'll be adding a series a month up to series 9.— UKTV Play (@UKTVPlay) April 16, 2020
Only takes us to the end of 1993 though. Hopefully we'll still get series 10-13 and the half-hour epsiodes of 14 that were also skipped over in 2017.
I'm going to start from the beginning again rather than go straight into series 5, seeing as it's nearly 3 years since Drama suddenly dropped them it's worth catching up again. The hour long episodes from the first 3 series were high quality anyway, they struggled with the first few months worth of half hours though before they finally got the hang of the shorter episodes.
Someone who's looked through says those edits run through to episode 22 of series 5, then it's pretty much uncut after. Which suggests they'd edited them that far for the aborted 2017 Drama airings. Showing they had bought series 5, started preparing it for transmission and the 10 year skip ahead really was last a minute decision.
Also look like they've included the first 46 episodes of series 6 as part of "series 5". I'm wondering if they've done that so they can release an even number of episodes each month between now and September, as otherwise they'd be releasing 50 more episodes in September than in June-August. Doing that means they can release 106 episodes all but one of those months (and 105 the other month) which keeps it even, and is pretty much the number of episodes there were in series 6-8 originally (104 in 6 and 105 in 7&8 ).
Can't believe how poor the picture quality is though, they've clearly just done a straight removal of every other field with no blending or interpolating, so there's a lot of jagged lines and very jerky and juddery movement. Even if they can't offer 50fps playback (which it feels like there's little excuse for these days, especially when the iPlayer can do it, and so can the ITV Hub on some platforms), they could at least de-interlace better. Just blending the fields together would look a lot better with both the resolution and the movement. Even other streaming services that only play 50/60i content as 25/30p usually manage a reasonable job of the de-interlacing, so it's not too jagged or jerky. It doesn't really seem good enough when this is the only way we're going to be able to see these episodes (though I admit people who aren't geeks probably don't mind).
We're devastated to learn that Tony Scannell, beloved by so many as #TheBill's DS Ted Roach, has passed away. He was a commanding, hysterically funny, unforgettable presence throughout the show's first decade. Our thoughts are with his friends and family. pic.twitter.com/1eJIVGKEcX— UKTV Play (@UKTVPlay) May 28, 2020
Also, on another Bill related thing, can anyone remember ITV repeating some 1997 and 98 episodes during the daytime in 2001, or is it just me?
Also UK Gold's 20th birthday weekend in 2004, which had specially filmed links with the several members of the cast in character (and even a few former characters turning up) reminiscing, accompanied by several key episodes. They also strangely that weekend ran a load of random 90s half-hour episodes, with the opening titles and end credits cut off, and not accompanied by any newly filmed links. The last time any of the half-hour episodes (bar the 1988 ones on Drama in 2017) have been repeated in the UK.
I haven't quite reached series 5 yet, still working my way through series 4, almost at the end though. Of course their "Series 5" also includes around half of Series 6, and I won't be suprised if Series 6, which they're due to release tomorrow, includes a large chunk of series 7.
Admittedly the grouping into series was pretty meaningless after the move to half hour episodes really, it's just a 22-year long continuous flow of episodes, it's just a way of splitting the years they were broadcast in. Pretty much every change that was made to the show (i.e. new title sequences and theme tunes, moving back to an hour long format, going widescreen, the ditching (and then re-introduction of) episode titles, even the 2009 revamp) took place mid "series". The only exception I can think of was the new title sequence and the move to three times a week which took place on the first episode of "series 9" (also the first episode aired after Thames went off air, and started being commissioned through YTV). Even the 1998 revamp didn't happen until the 3rd episode of "series 14".
Yes, pretty much every half hour episode of The Bill, apart from those shifted for sport, was at 8pm between 1988 and 1998 (though it was on Saturdays for six months in 1993 when it flitted around between 7.30 and 9pm, and the Friday episode was at 8.30 for the last six months in 1998). When it became an hour long show again it would shuffle around between 8pm and 9pm for a while, but it was always made with an 8pm slot in mind.
I do remember watching it with my parents in the early nineties and being shocked to hear swearing. As you say, things change in terms of what's acceptable at what time.