Angels (TV series)
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Final version of series titles from 1983
|Created by||Paula Milne|
Julie Dawn Cole
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||9|
|No. of episodes||220|
|Producer(s)||Ron Craddock, Morris Barry, Julia Smith|
|Original release||1 September 1975 – 22 December 1983|
The show's format switched to a twice-weekly soap opera format (although still seasonal) from 1979 to 1983.
Background and creators
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. 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. Filming took place at St James' Hospital, Balham, London (now demolished).
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 later co-wrote Tenko – and Adele Rose.
The series provided valuable early TV exposure for a variety of young actresses who became better known 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 later appeared in EastEnders, with Cheriton playing the particularly prominent role of Debbie Wilkins. Mamta Kaash played a key role in the hospital drama Casualty.
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 18 March 2013 Simply Media released the Series 1 (fifteen episodes) of Angels on DVD. Series 2 was released in September 2014.
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.