TELEVISION / Production notes

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
How does The Bill juggle 32 actors to make three episodes a week? Nigel Wilson, projects co- ordinator, explains:

'We are split into three teams, the Blue, Red and Green teams, and they each have their own producer, camera crew, et cetera. They are called after colours so there is no nominal 'first' team; the paper-work for each is colour-coded so no one can confuse the scripts. The key to the whole system is script supply - they come six weeks in advance. I break down every script, scene by scene, and then see how they can match up. On one given day, any actor could be required to film with all three teams; this means that D I Burnside, say, could be prominent in one episode but only have time for a small appearance in the other two. We can tinker with the smaller parts to balance it all out; I have to spread the work- load. So I have six weeks of schedules pinned round my office telling me where everyone should be. Winter can be a problem if the weather forces a unit to overflow into the following week. But we can cope: as last year, when Mark Wingett (Carver) was due to appear in a virtual two-hander, but had to take paternity leave at short notice.'

(Photograph omitted)