The Bill star Graham Cole – who played PC Tony Stamp for 25 years – has been left shattered by his sacking.
Graham said: “As the longest serving actor, I was one of the biggest earners and it’s no secret that costs had to be cut.
“But I’ve spent nearly half my life on that show. What hurts the most is being axed after all that time so quickly. They’ve just thrown it all away – bye, you’re out the door. It beggars belief.”
“I’ll walk around and feel fine, then someone will give me a smile or a nod and I’ll get this huge wave of emotion come over me.
“I think when people start saying: ‘Didn’t you used to be…’, that’s going to be very difficult.
“I’m no different to all the hundreds of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs recently. I want to keep the belief that something else will come along. But the phone hasn’t rung.”
Graham has also criticised the new look bosses have given the show, arguing that it pushes fans away.
The actor said: “Everyone from little kids to old grannies loved The Bill, but ITV seem obsessed with 16-32-year-old males.
“It makes no sense – those people don’t even watch TV! The essence is lost. It’s not The Bill any more.”