The Bill is a British police procedural television series, first broadcast on ITV from 16 October 1984 until 31 August 2010. The programme originated from a one-off drama, Woodentop, broadcast in August 1983. In its final year on air, The Bill was broadcast once a week, usually on Tuesdays or Thursdays, in a one-hour format. The programme focused on the lives and work of one shift of police officers, rather than on any particular aspect of police work. The Bill was the longest-running police procedural television series in the United Kingdom, and among the longest running of any British television series at the time of its cancellation. The title originates from "Old Bill", a slang term for the police. Although highly acclaimed by fans and critics, the series attracted controversy on several occasions. An episode broadcast in 2008 was criticised for featuring fictional treatment for multiple sclerosis. The series has also faced more general criticism concerning its levels of violence, particularly prior to 2009, when it occupied a pre-watershed slot.