The A-list stars you never knew appeared on The Bill – from Keira Knightly to James McAvoy

AFTER a staggering 2,425 episodes of The Bill, there have been a number of famous faces that have appeared on the show – including some rather notable Hollywood A-list stars.

During 27 years on our screens, the police drama became a staple on the TV schedule, moving to post-watershed when storylines became even darker and more violent. 

But what many fans will be unaware of the most, is that a plethora of famous faces began their careers on the former ITV soap. 

Stars, in particular, such as Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, David Tennant and Sean Bean have all had storylines on the beloved show.

With that said, The Sun takes a look at the famous faces that have featured in the police drama and what they have achieved since their stints on the show.

Keira Knightley

Keira appeared in the police show back in 1995 as a fresh-faced ten-year-old at the time.

She played Sheena Rose, a low-level thief who had a rather expensive collection of old coins stashed in her backpack. 

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show back in 2014, the 36-year-old said: "I was in The Bill as a child and it was the most exciting character I have ever played.

"I was just in the one episode, but I loved it, and I was so cool at school because I was in it."

Since then, Keira has featured in blockbuster movies such as the Pirates of the Carribean, Atonement and Love Actually.

James McAvoy

James appeared in The Bill in 1997 when he was just 18.

He played Gavin Donald, a 15-year-old runaway who was questioned after a busker was deliberately hit by a car.

Of course, it’s safe to say that he’s coming a long way since then, especially with explosive performances in X-Men and Split under his belt. 

David Tennant

Following his time on Jessica Jones as Kilgrave, it's not difficult to imagine the former Doctor Who actor channelling some seriously dark energy. 

David took on the role of Stephen Clemens back in 1995, a paedophile with a nasty temper who abducted and murdered schoolgirls.

Sean Bean

Sean always seems to kick the bucket in unpleasant circumstances. 

There was a satellite dish in Goldeneye, a barrage of arrows in Lord of the Rings and a spot of 'off with his head' in Game of Thrones.

Bean took on the role of armed robber Horace Clark back in 1984, holding up shopkeepers and post office workers with an arsenal of weapons. 

Clark actually managed to escape while his accomplice was caught by the police.

Ray Winstone

Ray Winstone, dubbed the hardest man to ever grace the screen, was given the role of tough guy Simon Fielder in 1991. 

His character was interviewed about some boys who had gone missing.

Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie has a fair few titles to his name – Blackadder, House and The Night Manager.

But cast your mind all the way back to 1998 and the actor appeared in The Bill – a little known drama at the time – as lawyer Harrap.

He even got to wear a wig and everything. 

Russell Brand

These days, Russell Brand is more concerned with answering life's big questions on his Under the Skin podcast and YouTube channel.

But in 1994, the comedian appeared in the police show as Billy Case, a teenager accused of assault.

David Walliams 

These days, David Walliams spends most of his time on Britain's Got Talent and writing children's books – a world away from the grit and grime of The Bill.

The former Little Britain star appeared back in 2002 as animal rights activist Ben Fletcher, who takes part in an anti-vivisection march.

Emma Bunton

Emma Bunton appeared in a minor role as a teenager called Janice back in 1993, but she was no stranger to acting.

She also popped up in EastEnders the year before as a mugger and again in 1994.

Crucially, though, that was the year her small-time gigs officially stopped because The Spice Girls formed – and the rest is history.

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Earlier this year, it was confirmed that The Bill is set for a return – with three original cast on the beat again.

Two new series are lined up after writers acquired the original rights to the hit police show.

The Sun understands the series will be named Sun Hill, after the police station in the original run.

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