Portrayed by Nula Conwell
First Appearance Funny Ol’ Business, Cops and Robbers (16/10/84)
Final Appearance The Short Straw (26/03/93)
Call Sign 227
Geoff McQueen and the producers of The Bill had a wonderful capacity to create strong female role model characters and with the creation of Viv Martella they hit the jackpot. Viv Martella didn’t have the need to work her way through the male officers in the station to gain respect. She did the opposite and avoided romance with other officers, she informed DS Ted Roach that she wouldn’t date him, “not while there’s a phonebook!” Viv was always ready to get stuck in to the job and had a good coppers instinct for trouble such as the time she detected there could be something amiss with a pregnant woman who had been stealing cigarettes from a factory… she had been pregnant for 13 months! Viv wanted to be one of the boys and on the whole she was treated as such. she was picked to join the stations 5 a side football team back in 1986 because Jim Carver thought she’d be good at the sport being as she played netball. As much as being one of the boys Viv was also able to show compassion to her fellow colleagues such as the time she talked Yorkie Smith through a FATAC over the radio.
Sun Hill nearly lost Viv Martella a decade before she was so cruelly taken from us (I still haven’t forgiven the writers) when she toyed with the idea of joining the Bermuda police force, Bermuda’s loss was Sun Hills gain. After several years of pounding the beat of Sun Hill Viv moved to CID. Her arrival in CID wasn’t exactly smooth; spending a day hunting down a witness ruining her new outfit in the process much to her new colleagues amusement. Her relationship with her superior officer DI Frank Burnside was firey she was never one to take any nonsense but at the end of the day there was mutual respect on both sides. In fact it was Burnside who cleared her desk the day she was shot dead. That day she really did pick the short straw, arriving late for work she missed out on the briefing, unaware she needed to keep away from blue vans whose drivers brandished shotguns Viv went to speak to the driver. She was shot dead leaving a shaken Tony Stamp to call it in and millions of viewers sobbing into their sofas.
Viv Martella’s final episode, The Short Straw on the 26th of March 1993 was the most watched episode of The Bill ever with 17.5 million UK viewers.
“If a man gives you flowers…. nick him!”
Where Can I See Now?
Nula can be heard in a The Bill podcast.