The Bill's Christopher Ellison looks unrecognisable over 30 years on from DCI Burnside debut

THE Bill star Christopher Ellison looks unrecognisable over 30 years on from his stint on the ITV drama.

The actor played DCI Frank Burnside in the popular show in 1984, and again between 1988-1993.

Chris, 74, shot to fame in 1975 during an appearance on the police drama The Sweeney, and went on to bag himself various other guest roles.

But he's most known for playing Detective Chief Inspector Burnside in The Bill.

He joined the programme in 37 years ago for one year, then in 1988 he became a regular character for five years.

Chris returned once more in 1998 for two years.

Then in 2000 Chris landed a role in his own six-episode spin-off show Burnside, following his career move to the National Crime Squad.

Chris has worked on plenty of other shows over the years.

He's appeared on Birds of a Feather, Buster, Basement and Bonded by Blood.

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The star also played parts in EastEnders and Casualty.

Chris has also dipped his toe in the realm of reality and TV chat shows.

He's taken part in Celebrity Big Brother,  Celebrity Come Dine with Me and has also appeared on Soccer AM.

Chris married his wife Anita Ellison in 1980 and they share two kids together.

During lockdown last year Chris reunited with his former castmates for a special one-off video.

He was joined by original cast members including Trudie Goodwin and Mark Wingett.

They had a virtual catch-up to discuss their time on the long-running ITV series.

Reminiscing about the show, which ran from 1984 to 2010, Chris Ellison – who played DI Frank Burnside – said: "There were no stars of The Bill, no egos.

"It was happy. Happy family people. It was a happy time for all of us."

Earlier this year we exclusively revealed The Bill is set for a return — with three original cast on the beat again.

Unfortunately Chris isn't one of them.

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

A source said: “The project started picking up pace last year after the cast got together to mark ten years since the show last aired.

“Simon started investigating the rights and managed to acquire them. Three of the best known stars are in talks and he’s hopeful he can get them on board. Tony has seen the script and they hope they can get him signed up too.

“They’re in constant contact and the project has begun to move on quickly. There’s a couple of channels interested in bringing back what is such a well-loved story.”

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