Alex Walkinshaw said that his character will still be known as Smithy when he is promoted to Inspector in The Bill.

Alex, who has played Sergeant Dale ‘Smithy’ Smith in the ITV1 police drama for 10 years, insists that the nickname will remain when his character is promoted in episodes to be shown next week.

“Smithy is Smithy – and I say that wrong, it’s ‘Smiffy’,” Alex joked. “He is Inspector but the people who called him Smithy before should call him Smithy still. He’s that kinda fella.”

Alex enjoys it when fans shout out ‘Smithy’ in the street – but admits that their enthusiasm can sometimes affect filming.

He said: “Sometimes it gets in the way of filming every now and again. We’ll be doing a scene and all of sudden a car will go past and it’s ‘Wahey, Smithy!’ But I don’t mind it, it’s good.”

The Bill is currently being shown at 8pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays on ITV1.

CLICK below to watch Alex Walkinshaw talking about Smithy