Angels (TV series)

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Angels
Angels BBC Television Series Titles.jpg
Final version of series titles from 1983
Genre Drama
Created by Paula Milne
Starring Fiona Fullerton
Lesley Dunlop
Julie Dawn Cole
Angela Bruce
Pauline Quirke
Kathryn Apanowicz
Shirley Cheriton
Judith Jacob
Clare Clifford
Lynda Bellingham
Rizvana Qurban
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 220
Production
Producer(s) Ron Craddock, Morris Barry, Julia Smith
Broadcast
Original channel BBC1
Original run 1 September 1975 – 22 December 1983

Angels was a British television seasonal drama series dealing with the subject of student nurses and was broadcast by the BBC between 1975 and 1978 and was once described as the "Z-Cars of nursing".

The show's format then switched to a twice weekly soap opera format (although still seasonal) from 1979 to 1983.

Background and creators[edit]

The show's title derived from the name of the hospital where the series was originally set, St. Angela's, Battersea, although in the early 1980s the scenario changed to Heath Green Hospital, Birmingham.The series was devised by Paula Milne.[1] Early producers included Morris Barry and Ron Craddock. The first episode was directed by Julia Smith who became the show's producer in 1979. Her script editor on the later series was Tony Holland.[2]

Julia Smith enlisted Tony Holland as Angels script editor after the show became a twice-weekly soap. Smith and Holland went on to create EastEnders in the 1980s. Writers on its first series included Jill Hyem and Anne Valery – who both went on to write the popular Tenko – and Adele Rose.

Actors[edit]

The series provided valuable early TV exposure for a variety of young actresses who have gone on to become famous faces and seasoned players on British TV, including Fiona Fullerton, Erin Geraghty, Lesley Dunlop, Julie Dawn Cole, Angela Bruce, Clare Clifford and Pauline Quirke. Additionally, Kathryn Apanowicz, Shirley Cheriton and Judith Jacob all went on to appear in EastEnders, with Cheriton playing the particularly prominent role of Debbie Wilkins. Mamta Kaash played a key role in the hospital drama Casualty.

Critical reception[edit]

Angels, in its 1979 to 1983 weekly soap format, tackled issues such as contraception, alcoholism and promiscuity as part of the nurses' lives. Angels received criticism for its unglamorous depiction of the nursing profession, but Smith defended the programme, arguing the need to address such subjects in the series. Indeed, with its sometimes hard-hitting portrayal of young nurses facing up to the demands of the profession, Angels, particularly in its soap format days of 1979 to 1983, was grittily authentic. To this end, each actress taking a part was required to work on a real hospital ward to gain experience and thus contribute to the realism of the production. Writers too researched their scripts in real hospitals.

From 2004 Channel 4 has screened the drama series No Angels, also set in a hospital, and specifically aimed at showing nurses as more fallible characters.

On March 18, 2013, Simply Media released the Series 1 (fifteen episodes) of Angels on DVD. Series 2 was released in September 2014.

Novels[edit]

Some TV tie-in novels were published to coincide with the series.

  • Angels by Paula Milne & Leslie Duxbury, Pan Books/BBC Books, 1975.
  • Flights of Angels by Paula Milne, Pan Books/BBC Books, 1976. Includes novelisations of the Season 2 episodes Vocation and Walkabout.
  • New Angels by Paul Milne, BBC Books, 1978.
  • Angel Katy by Leah Harrow, Dragon Books, 1979.

References[edit]

External links[edit]