Bitchy women and mass murder as 'The Bill' tries to arrest decline

What do women really want? Nasty, caddish men, bitchy females and a touch of mass murder, it seems.

What do women really want? Nasty, caddish men, bitchy females and a touch of mass murder, it seems.

The producers of The Bill, ITV's popular but hitherto macho police drama, have decided to revamp the programme after research showed it was not sufficiently appealing to women. The results will become apparent over the next few weeks; and they show television producers have a curious understanding of the female psyche.

The hour-long episode each Thursday is currently watched by about seven million people. Six months ago, the programme was scoring between nine and 10 million in the ratings.

Alan Boyd, the chief executive of Thames Television, which produces The Bill, said of the revamp: "It will be much more like ER or The West Wing. We have to bring back the doubters and the female audience."

A new series producer, Paul Marquis, was brought in from Channel 4's Brookside to spice up the personal relationships.

Programme insiders say the series will be more character driven and relationships will play a more central role. These might include developing the role of Superintendent Tom Chandler, a noted ladies' man, who has been described as "a bit Clintonesque' and is currently sleeping with Detective Sergeant Kate Spears.

The new regime in charge of The Bill is also planning a disaster, possibly a bomb attack, at the police station. Some of the officers will lose their lives and there will be a poignant memorial service. The catastrophe is also meant to appeal to female viewers. And, in a moment redolent of Greek tragedy, Det Sgt Spears will be at the station the moment disaster strikes. Such is the punishment for illicit love.

Among a group of new women coming on to the programme will be a feisty new inspector, Gina Gould, "a whisky-drinking, fag-smoking, ballsy character in her fifties". She will be played by Roberta Taylor, who took the role of Irene in EastEnders. Soap addicts will have mixed feelings about this. Irene's estranged husband in EastEnders is currently trying to track her down. Unless Taylor can perform unprecedented feats of channel hopping, he will fail.

The Gina Gould character is likely to be locked in constant battle with another female officer, Sergeant June Ackland. But that is when they are not being pestered by another new character, Det Sgt Phil Hunter, played by Scott Maslen, who appeared in the television version of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. He will be "the nastiest piece of work in the CID" according to one of the production team.

And somewhere among all this, maybe, there will be the occasional solving of a crime – if that isn't pandering to the neanderthal tastes of male viewers too much, one supposes.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas