The Bill’s 27-year history ends tonight

The final episode of long-running police drama The Bill will be shown on Tuesday night.

The show is bowing out with a story about a teenage girl involved in the murder of a 14-year-old suspected gang member.

Executive producer Johnathan Young said: “The series will conclude this summer with a compelling contemporary story that tests our cops on the streets of London both physically and emotionally for one final time. It’s called Respect and we hope it will respect the heritage of the show.”

Past and present cast members will appear in a documentary, called Farewell the Bill, at 10.35pm.

The Bill, set in the fictional London area of Sun Hill, was given a major revamp last year to win back viewers, but audiences have continued to fall.

Its format has been tweaked a number of times since it launched as a series in 1984.

Initially there were just 12 hour-long self-contained episodes, but by 1988 the programme was switched to three half-hour shows a week.

A decade later the drama, which created memorable characters such as June Ackland, Reg Hollis and Jim Carver, returned to 60-minute shows.

The show began as a one-off drama Woodentop in 1983, which so impressed ITV bosses they developed it into a series with the same central characters.

*The final episode will be broadcast at 9pm on ITV1.

Click here for a photo gallery of some of the famous faces who have appeared in The Bill