Doing it Live! Planning and Preparing for a Live Drama Episode: A Case Study of 'The Bill' (ITV, 2005)

Joanna MacDonnell


Over the last decade there has been a move towards live episodes of popular television dramas and soap operas in the UK being used to celebrate programme and channel anniversaries. This paper, written by a member of the production team is focused on the ‘behind the scenes’ preparation and subsequent broadcast of the live episode of British police drama The Bill on September 22nd 2005. This live episode became a landmark broadcast as it was the first time that dramatic stunt sequences had been performed live. This article will be supported with examples from the original planning documentation and rehearsal photographs and will examine the production culture in the planning and preparation of the episode. It will also reveal some of the trickery used to execute the stunts, will discuss the difficulties experienced during the live episode and how problems were overcome.



live television; live soap opera; live drama;

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