Name: Chris Ellison
Famous, why? DI Burnside – the tough talking antagonist from long-running ITV police drama The Bill
If, like me, you’re a 30-something student of pop-culture who spends more than a reasonable amount of their present talking about the past, Chris’s most famous role as an irritable (and sometimes damn right rude) copper DI Burnside in Sun Hill will be one you’re very familiar with. If not, here’s what you need to know about Chris.
Before getting his break as an actor in The Sweeney in 1975, London born Ellison was in the merchant navy, a graphic designer… and a mini cab driver.
In 1984, he appeared in Paul McCarney’s movie Give My Regards, and despite turning up in a number of other films in his earlier career (Phil Collins’ Buster was one of them!) he is best remembered for another role he first took in that year – the aforementioned Burnside.
It wasn’t until 1988 he became a full time member of the cast, but for the next 12 years he would be a household name in one of ITV’s biggest shows (which this writer, along with every wannabe actor in history, was an extra in) before The Bill’s untimely demise after only 2,400 spectacular episodes in 2010.
Post-Bill, Ellison enjoyed a role on Challenge TV’s Fort Boyard, appearances in EastEnders, Casualty, Minder, Judge John Deed and Minder to name but a few. He’s even been in a Doctor Who audio adventure and WON Celebrity Come Dine With Me!
He was most recently seen on telly in New Tricks playing a lag of some sort rather than a copper. So it remains to be seen whether he’ll bring law and order or chaos to the CBB House…
Here’s some vintage Burnside…
And in Fort Boyard (with Doctor Who’s Tom Baker):