The Bill‘s DCI Jack Meadows and Sergeant Smith have won promotions, as the ITV1 drama gears up for it’s new post-watershed time slot.

Meadows, played by Simon Rouse, is promoted to Superintendent after John Heaton (Daniel Flynn) announces in an episode to be shown on Thursday July 16 that he’s leaving Sun Hill to join a people trafficking unit.

Inspector Rachel Weston (Clare Goose) agrees to go with him leaving Smithy, played by Alex Walkinshaw (pictured), to step into her shoes as Inspector.

Smithy’s loyal colleagues at Sun Hill think he’s the best man for the job – but with guilt on his conscience not to mention his tense relationship with Sergeant Stone (Sam Callis), he faces certain obstacles in his new role.

Alex commented: “I’ve played Smithy for 10 years and loved every minute of it. He’s been showing a darker side of his character lately, but it’s not something he’s comfortable with.

“Rising to the rank of Inspector will also give Smithy the senior edge over Stone – I sense fireworks ahead!”

These developments come as The Bill prepares to move from being shown twice-weekly at 8pm to once a week at 9pm on ITV1.

Tim Key, series producer, said: “Jack Meadows and Smithy are two of The Bill’s most iconic characters and their promotions are a real statement of intent for the show.”

Also in July, DC Stevie Moss (Lucy Speed) will be promoted to Detective Sergeant while trainee DC Will Fletcher (Gary Lucy) will become a fully fledged DC.