Children's Ward

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Children's Ward
Also known as The Ward (1995–1998)
Genre Drama
Written by Paul Abbott
Tony Basgallop
Directed by Steve Finn
Alan Bell
Starring Carl Rice
Gilly Coman
Will Mellor
Anthony Lewis
Ben Sowden
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 12
No. of episodes 143
Production
Location(s) Bolton, Greater Manchester, England, UK
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Granada Television
Broadcast
Original channel ITV Network (CITV)
Picture format 4:3
Original run 15 March 1989 (1989-03-15) – 4 May 2000 (2000-05-04)

Children's Ward (retitled The Ward from 1995 to 1998) is a British children's television drama series produced by Granada Television and broadcast on the ITV network as part of its Children's ITV strand on weekday afternoons. The programme was set – as the title suggests – in Ward B1, the children's ward of the fictitious South Park Hospital (known as Sparky's), and told the stories of the young patients and the staff present there. Aimed at older children and teenagers, Children's Ward was a long-lived series for a children's drama, starting life in 1988 as a contribution to the Dramarama anthology strand, "Blackbird Singing In The Dead of Night", then first broadcast as a series 1989 and running from then until 2000.

The series was conceived by Granada staff writers Paul Abbott and Kay Mellor, both of whom went on to enjoy successful careers as award-winning writers of adult television drama. At the time, they were both working on the soap opera Coronation Street, and had recently collaborated on a script for Dramarama.

Abbott, who had been through a troubled childhood himself, had initially wanted to set the series in a children's care home rather than a hospital, but this was vetoed by Granada executives. During the course of its run, however, Children's Ward won many plaudits for covering difficult issues such as cancer, alcoholism, drug addiction and child abuse in a sensitive manner. The programme won many awards, including in 1996 a BAFTA Children's Award for Best Drama, won by an episode in which a serial killer lures children to him via the internet and is – highly unusually for children's television – not eventually caught.

Welsh television producer Russell T Davies was the show's producer, and writer of several episodes, from 1992 to 1995.

The decision to end Children's Ward came in mid-2000, after transmission of the final series, and ironically came as the sole original cast member Rita May – who played Auxiliary Nurse Mags – said she had no plans to leave the show.

On 5 and 6 January 2013, the show was repeated as part of CITV's Old Skool Weekend, which celebrated thirty years of the children's strand. This was also the first time the programme was seen on the CITV Channel.

Filming location[edit]

Filmed at Bolton General Hospital (now the Royal Bolton Hospital), in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

30 Years of CITV, which aired on ITV1 on 29 December 2012, revealed that interior sets for the hospital were filmed next door to some of the Coronation Street interiors.

Characters[edit]

These are the original main characters from the first three series. Some lasted several years and appeared in subsequent series too:

Character Actor/Actress Duration Role
Dr. McKeown Ian McCulloch 1989 Staff
Dr. Charlotte Woods Carol Harvey 1989–1991
Dave Spencer Andrew Hall 1989
Nurse/Sister Diane Meadows Janette Beverley 1989–1994, 1996
Mags Rita May 1989–2000
Jack Crossley Ken Parry 1989–1991
Jan Stevens Nina Baden-Semper 1989
Hospital Radio DJ (voice) Ross King 1989
Social Worker Steve Bailey Michael Bray 1989–1991
Nurse/Sister Mitchell Judy Holt 1990–1994
Dr. Kieran Gallagher Tom Higgins 1990–1991
Student Nurse Grahams Margery Bone 1990–1991
Keely Johnson Jenny Luckraft 1989–1991 Patients
Billy Ryan Tim Vincent 1989–1991
Fiona Brett Rebecca Sowden 1989
Darren Walsh William Ash 1989–1991
Dawn Khatir Leyla Nejad 1989–1990
Mathew McCann Dean Gatiss 1990
Lisa Dixon Rachel Egan 1990
Ian Cassin. Paul Swaine 1998
J.J. Chris Bisson 1990
Thea Chloe Newsome 1990
James Boyce Carl Rice 1990
Lee Jones Kieran O'Brien 1990
Cal Spicer Mark Dixon 1990
Bryony Shaeffer Sarah Cooper 1990
Ben Rowlingson William Mellor 1990
Mickey Bell Stephen Graham 1990
Scott Morris Anthony Lewis 1996-1998

Tie-in publications[edit]

Novelisations[edit]

  • White, Helen (1990). Children's Ward. Network Books. ISBN 0-563-36170-0. 
  • White, Helen (1991). Children's Ward – Deadly Enemies. Network Books. ISBN 0-563-36263-4. 
  • White, Helen (1991). Children's Ward – Make or Break. Network Books. ISBN 0-563-36264-2. 
  • White, Helen (1992). Children's Ward – Lost and Found. Network Books. ISBN 0-563-36391-6. 
  • White, Helen (1993). Children's Ward – On the Run. Network Books. ISBN 0-563-36726-1. 
  • White, Helen (1994). Children's Ward – The Crash. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-037350-0. 

Script book[edit]

  • Exact title unknown, possibly Children's Ward. Edited by Lawrence Till (contains selected scripts from the series by Paul Abbott, Kay Mellor and John Chambers), published by Heinemann Plays/Oxford in 1992.

DVD Releases[edit]

Unlike many UK shows, Children's Ward has not been available in other English-speaking countries such as Australia or the U.S.A. prior to the U.K.. In May 2011, a U.K. DVD release was announced for release in July 2011 for the first series from Network DVD.[1] Series 2 followed in October 2011, and Series 3 in January 2012. Series 4 was originally scheduled June 2013, but as yet has not been released.

References[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]