Bad Girls (TV series)

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Bad Girls
Bad Girls Titles.JPEG
Bad Girls title card
Also known as 'Jail Birds (UK working title)
Created by Maureen Chadwick
Ann McManus
Starring
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 8
No. of episodes 107 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Brian Park
Producer(s) Brian Park
Claire Phillips
David Crean
Cameron Roach
Rachel Snell
Sharon Houlihan
Running time 60–90 minutes
Production company(s) Shed Productions
Release
Original network ITV
Picture format 16:9 (576i SDTV)
Original release 1 June 1999 (1999-06-01) – 20 December 2006 (2006-12-20)
Chronology
Related shows Footballers' Wives (2002–2006)
Bad Girls: The Musical (2006–2007)
External links
Website

Bad Girls is a British television drama series created by Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus and premiered on ITV on 1 June 1999. The series received high critical acclaim immediately following its inception. It was produced by Shed Productions, the company behind the its later productions Footballers' Wives and Waterloo Road. The original cast included Simone Lahbib, Mandana Jones, Debra Stephenson, Jack Ellis, Helen Fraser, Alicya Eyo, Kika Mirylees and Victoria Alcock. It is set in the fictional women's prison of Larkhall, and features a mixture of serious and light storylines focusing on the prisoners and staff of G Wing. Eight series and 107 episodes, including a crossover with Footballers' Wives and two Christmas specials were produced and broadcast, concluding on 20 December 2006.

The show featured a large ensemble cast of characters, with only three of the original cast remaining by the series conclusion in 2006. The first series received high critical acclaim and successful ratings, averaging over 7 million per episode, with 9 million tuning in for series 2. Due to a decline in viewers for series 8, ITV cancelled Bad Girls, and the 2006 Christmas special was officially the final episode.

Bad Girls has since been shown numerously in syndication. The success of the series, saw the original series be adapted into a musical, titled Bad Girls: The Musical.

Series[edit]

The first series of Bad Girls was shown on ITV in 1999, lasting 10 episodes. There have been eight series in total, ranging from 10 to 16 episodes. Christmas specials were produced in 2005 and 2006 and are now established as the final episodes of Series 7 and Series 8, respectively. All series have been shown on ITV, at 9 pm, on varying days but primarily Tuesdays and Thursdays. The 100th episode, part of Series 8, was shown on Thursday 3 August 2006 at 9 pm.

ITV cancelled Bad Girls after Series 8 and the 2006 Christmas Special was the final episode.

Setting[edit]

The exact location of the fictional HMP Larkhall was never revealed, although in Series One, Episode Four character Shell Dockley mentioned it was 'not far' from Clapham. There were several other references through the series that alluded to it being in the South London region, but no specific location was given. Several districts of the London area were referenced throughout the series run, these include: Peckham, Clapham, Acton, Catford, Streatham, Sydenham, Tooting, Stratford, Balham, and Bethnal Green.

Sets[edit]

An exterior shot of Oxford Prison, used for Bad Girls (Series 1–3)

HM Prison Oxford was used for the exterior shots featured in Series 1–3, with a replica set of the prison's wing constructed for the interior shots. A reconstruction of the prison's exterior was also created for series 4–8, as HM Prison Oxford had by then been redeveloped into a hotel complex.

Location of HMP Prison Oxford

Location filming[edit]

Many scenes outside of Larkhall, were filmed on location, usually around London, with numerous London landmarks being visible in shots. Real houses were used for prison officers houses, rather than sets. Four episodes included scenes filmed outside of the UK, two episodes in series 3 had scenes that were filmed in Spain, the first episode of series 5 opened with a scene in Amsterdam, series 7 featured scenes filmed in Peru, but set in Costa del Sol.

Cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Key
Series regular Appeared in multiple episodes Series guest No appearances
Character Portrayed by Episode Count Series
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Helen Stewart Simone Lahbib
33
Main
Nikki Wade Mandana Jones
33
Main
Shell Dockley Debra Stephenson
36
Main Recurring
Jim Fenner Jack Ellis
88
Main
Denny Blood Alicya Eyo
59
Main
Rachel Hicks Joanne Froggatt
4
Main
Lorna Rose Luisa Bradshaw-White
7
Main
Dominic McAllister Joe Shaw
22
Main
Sylvia Hollamby Helen Fraser
91
Main
Julie Johnston Kika Mirylees
96
Main
Julie Saunders Victoria Alcock
96
Main
Zandra Plackett Lara Cazalet
18
Main
Monica Lindsay Jane Lowe
10
Main Guest
Crystal Gordon Sharon Duncan-Brewster
44
Main
Yvonne Atkins Linda Henry
58
Recurring Main
Karen Betts Claire King
57
Main Recurring
Josh Mitchell Nathan Constance
24
Main Recurring
Di Barker Tracey Wilkinson
76
Main
Malcolm Nicholson Philip McGough
28
Recurring Recurring Main
Barbara Hunt Isabelle Amyes
52
Main
Shaz Wiley Lindsey Fawcett
33
Main
Gina Rossi Lisa Turner
11
Main
Mark Waddle Paul Opacic
19
Main
Buki Lester Kim Oliver
38
Main
Maxi Purvis Kerry Norton
17
Main
Tina Purvis
Julie O'Kane
Tina O'Kane
Victoria Bush
73
Main
Al McKenzie Pauline Campbell
42
Main
Neil Grayling James Gaddas
52
Main Guest
Cassie Tyler Kellie Bright
13
Main
Roisin Connor Siobhan McCarthy
13
Main
Snowball Merriman Nicole Faraday
14
Main
Colin Hedges Tristan Sturrock
32
Main
Phyl Oswyn Stephanie Beacham
39
Main
Bev Tull Amanda Barrie
41
Main
Selena Geeson Charlotte Lucas
14
Main
Kris Yates Jennifer Ness
16
Main
Frances Myers Eva Pope
12
Main
Natalie Buxton Dannielle Brent
30
Main
Darlene Cake Antonia Okonma
34
Main
Paula Miles Nikki Amuka-Bird
8
Main
Vicky Floyd Orlessa Altass
12
Main
Janine Nebeski Nicola Stapleton
24
Main
Arun Parmar Rebecca Hazlewood
13
Main
Pat Kerrigan Liz May Brice
19
Main
Sheena Williams Laura Rogers
8
Main
Kevin Spiers Andrew Scarborough
7
Main
Joy Masterton Ellie Haddington
11
Main
Lou Stoke Amanda Donohoe
9
Main
Donny Kimber Sid Owen
11
Main
Rowan Dunlop Colin Salmon
9
Main
Mandy Goodhue Angela Bruce
11
Main

Episodes[edit]

Series 1 (1999)[edit]

Main article: Bad Girls (series 1)

From the beginning, Bad Girls dealt with controversial subject matter. Early episodes of the first series included particularly shocking moments such as a pregnant prisoner miscarrying in her cell, Zandra Plackett (Lara Cazalet) being viciously strip-searched by fellow inmates for concealed drugs, and Rachel Hicks (Joanne Froggatt) committing suicide due to being bullied. The central story arc of the first three series revolved around the developing romantic relationship between Nikki Wade (Mandana Jones), a prisoner serving a life sentence for the murder of a policeman who attempted to rape her girlfriend, and Helen Stewart (Simone Lahbib), the Wing Governor who spent much of series one engaged to her boyfriend. Furthermore, the script, unwilling to compromise the realism of the programme, contained much strong language (for example, the reference to Nikki Wade as a "rug-muncher" and Denny Blood's (Alicya Eyo) gloating over the likelihood of Rachel Hicks having "singed her minge"). Other storylines to feature prominently in series one included the pregnancy of a young drug addict Zandra, who decides to use an abortion as means to be sent to an outside clinic only for her to escape and make contact with her ex-boyfriend who has no interest in her or the baby, therefore she has no choice but to return to the clinic. In fear of losing her job over Zandra's escape, officer Lorna Rose (Luisa Bradshaw-White) asks fellow officer Dominic (Joe Shaw) to keep quite about the escape which leads to Zandra blackmailing Lorna to bring drugs into the prison, when Shell discovers what Zandra is up to she deceides to set Lorna up; the appeal of wrongly-imprisoned Monica Lindsay (Jane Lowe) (frequently referred to as "posh bitch" by other characters) and the illicit relationship between Jim Fenner (Jack Ellis), the male senior officer and Shell Dockley (Debra Stephenson), the resident bully and drug dealer, serving life for murder. Series 1 was produced by Brian Park.

Series 2 (2000)[edit]

Main article: Bad Girls (series 2)

Nikki and Helen's relationship deepens with Helen resigning from the Wing Governor's post and working as a new liaison officer for prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment, encouraging Nikki to continue her education and appeal against her sentence. Shell's background was examined in some detail, with harrowing scenes describing childhood abuse. Zandra's tragic story finally comes to a close when she dies from a brain tumour. For light relief, Yvonne Atkins (Linda Henry), the gangster's moll, set up "Babes Behind Bars", a sex-hotline staffed by the prisoners with smuggled in mobile phones, playing such characters as "Whiplash Wanda", "Saucy Sonia" and "Vicky the Virgin Bride". Series two ended on a double cliffhanger, with Nikki escaping from Larkhall to be with Helen, leaving Helen to agonise over whether to contact the police, and Shell luring Fenner to her cell for sex, where she reaches under her bed for a broken bottle. Series 2 was produced by Brian Park.

Series 3 (2001)[edit]

Main article: Bad Girls (series 3)

Series 3 picks up where Series 2 left off. Fenner and Shell are in bed together and Nikki, dressed in a nurse's uniform, is at Helen's house after escaping. Shell stabs Fenner with a broken bottle that she had brought back from Sylvia Hollamby's (Helen Fraser) party, with Fenner bleeding to death, Shell is in demand and soon finds herself back on top as Top Dog. New officer, the flirtatious and vivacious Gina Rossi arrives on G-Wing and soon locks horns with several inmates and staff alike. Young crack addicted prostitute, Buki Lester (Kim Oliver), arrives and lands Denny in danger when a piercing goes wrong. Nikki also suffers from heartbreak when her on and off relationship with Helen comes to an end, while she is staring her appeal in the face.

The third series saw a high turnover of short-term characters and storylines, but also chronicled the spectacular escape of Shell and Denny to the Costa Del Sol in Spain getting revenge on Sylvia and her husband along the way; Yvonne's Top Dog status being challenged by Maxi Purvis (Kerry Norton), the head of the "Peckham Boot Gang"; prison officer Di Barker's (Tracey Wilkinson) struggles as a home carer for her disabled mother and an upbeat finale of Helen and Nikki finally committing to their relationship when Nikki's appeal is successful and she is released from prison. Series 3 was produced by Brian Park.

Note: Series 3 was the first series to use the opening titles which remained the same until Series 8.

Series 4 (2002)[edit]

Main article: Bad Girls (series 4)

Following on from one of the several cliffhangers from series three, Yvonne in the frame for Virginia O'Kane's (Kate O'Mara) murder there is a game of cat and mouse between her and Fenner while the real culprits continue their reign over G-Wing. But it's not long before Yvonne is ruling the roost again, when Denny returns in the nick of time and aids Yvonne is her bid to prove her innocence. She arrives with Roisin Connor and Cassie Tyler, imprisoned for fraud and in a lesbian relationship complicated not only by their being behind bars, but by Roisin's being a married mother-of-two. The stress of G-Wing mounts for Karen Betts (Claire King), especially when she and Fenner split, but the stress is no longer her problem when she is demoted to basic officer and he is promoted to Wing Governor by Neil Grayling (James Gaddas), the new Governing Governor of Larkhall, who developed an attraction to Fenner. The series tackled domestic violence within the relationship of Di and Barry Pearce and teenage junkie Buki's battle for the right to see her disabled son, Lennox. The bitter hatred between Maxi and Shaz Wiley (Lindsey Fawcett) grows and ends in tragedy following a brutal fight. Crystal Gordon (Sharon Duncan Brewster) gives birth in the four bed dorm to a daughter but soon loses her faith in religion when another baby in the prison dies. Rhiannon Dawson, Julie Johnston's (Kika Mirylees) daughter arrives on the wing and the Julies are soon facing an additional sentence when the truth about Rhiannon's relationship with her boyfriend, Damion, is revealed. Yvonne and Karen find themselves at war when Yvonne's son, Ritchie, is revealed to be having a relationship with Karen. This is later revealed as a decoy, as his real girlfriend is new devious inmate, Snowball Merriman (Nicole Faraday), whom Ritchie is helping to escape from Larkhall. The fourth series ended with the prison library being obliterated as part of an escape plan by Snowball, resulting in a fire that left several inmates trapped and fighting for their lives.

Series 4 was produced by Claire Phillips.

Series 5 (2003)[edit]

Main article: Bad Girls (series 5)
Popular long-time character Yvonne Atkins is left to die after Jim Fenner locks her in the old hanging cell (Series 5)

The fifth series of Bad Girls saw the brief return of a recaptured and pregnant Shell to G-Wing. Fenner pimps Shell by offering her money to give the male officers a handjob. After the baby's birth, a screw tries to force her to have sex, when she violently refuses, Fenner makes it seem as if she tried to smother her baby. Shell is carted of to a mental home and her baby is taken into care. The "Costa Cons", Bev Tull (Amanda Barrie) and Phyl Oswyn (Stephanie Beacham) arrive. There is good news for Denny, who is transferred to an open prison. The ongoing feud between Fenner and Wing Governor Karen reaches its climax as Fenner ruthlessly frames Karen for a hit-and-run accident in which a man dies. Julie Saunders is diagnosed with breast cancer and takes the decision to take her chances without chemotherapy treatment. Babs Hunt (Isabelle Amyes) marries the former prison chaplain, Henry Mills – bad news for Sylvia, who had set her sights on Henry after she was widowed when her husband committed suicide. New prison officer Selena Geeson (Charlotte Lucas) and new inmate Kris Yates (Jennifer Ness) are in a relationship. Kris is taking the rap for killing her abusive father in order to spare her younger sister, the real culprit. Fenner's nefarious ways continue when he kills Yvonne as she tries to escape Larkhall, by ensuring that she will be trapped in the "hanging cell", a small room beneath the main prison that is blocked off from the outside world. Series 5 was produced by David Crean.

Series 6 (2004)[edit]

Main article: Bad Girls (series 6)
Tanya Turner crosses over from sister show Footballers' Wives to endure a short stay at Larkhall (Series 6)

With G-Wing thinking their ex top dog has escaped HMP Larkhall Kris finds Yvonne's corpse after she tries to follow the same way out. But as it is all blocked off she tells Selena who she found. Selena then tells Neil she found Yvonne. Yvonne's death shocks G-Wing. In her absence, Phyl is G-Wing Top Dog for a short time before being stopped in her tracks by new Wing Governor Frances Myers (Eva Pope).

Frances soon begins a feud with new inmate Natalie Buxton (Dannielle Brent), in prison for organising a prostitution ring using underage girls. The other girls are disgusted with Natalie and Al McKenzie (Pauline Campbell) plans to beat her up, but Natalie turns the tables and beats Al up. Natalie soon makes the other girls believe she is innocent.

The series features a crossover with Shed Productions' other hit series, Footballers' Wives, with the glamorous character of Tanya Turner (Zöe Lucker) enduring a spell on G-Wing for three special episodes that aired over consecutive nights in May 2004. Later Tanya is soon released, after striking a deal with Frances. During her time on G-Wing, Tanya was accused of poisoning her fellow inmates with rhubarb, with Al dying from her illness, however it was soon uncovered that Bev and Phyl were actually responsible.

Kris' sister, Milly, commits suicide after Selena puts her under pressure to confess to her father's killing (in self-defence) in order to free her sister. Kris and Selena split and Kris sleeps with Natalie but the couple are reconciled and the series ends with the cliffhanger of Kris and Selena protesting in London about the injustice of Kris being behind bars.

Fenner marries Neil's ex-wife Di. As Neil and Karen are sure Fenner has something to do with the hit and run Karen was accused of, they hire a private investigator to prove Karen's innocence. Fenner is proven to have been the person who was running away from where Karen's car was dumped that night. Fenner is later arrested on his and Di's wedding day. Series 6 was produced by Cameron Roach.

Series 7 (2005)[edit]

Main article: Bad Girls (series 7)

This series does not follow up on the Series 6 cliffhanger and Kris and Selena neither feature nor are mentioned in this series. Series 7 sees a big cast upheaval with original officer Fenner leaving along with two other long standing characters, Di and Dr. Malcolm Nicholson.

Di, now Fenner's wife, lies to ensure he is released from prison and Fenner returns, not only to G-Wing, but as Wing Governor. When Bev and Phyl escape to Spain, Neil is demoted to Wing Governor and Fenner promoted to Governing Governor. Before Fenner can start his new job, he is murdered in the "hanging cell" during a memorial service for Yvonne Atkins. The police have a host of suspects to choose from, including new bisexual lifer, Pat Kerrigan (Liz May Brice), a woman who is in jail for murdering her abusive boyfriend and is a recent transfer from Alberton prison. Pat had already managed to develop a feud with Fenner over his treatment of Sheena Williams (Laura Rogers) and her son, Dylan. The increasingly mentally unstable Julie J later reveals that she committed the crime to exact vengeance against Fenner for all his past crimes, in particular, the death of Yvonne. However, it is Fenner's widow Di who is arrested, charged and remanded in custody for the offence. New Governing Governor Joy Masterton (Ellie Haddington) arrives and indicates she will instigate a tough regime at Larkhall.

Meanwhile, Natalie has taken over as G-Wing's new Top Dog. When Natalie and the other inmates find out that new inmate Arun Parmar (Rebecca Hazlewood) is transgender, Natalie makes her life hell until Pat, annoyed by Natalie's bullying of Arun, beats her in a fight and demands she leave Arun alone. Pat develops a romance with recovering drug addict and single mother Sheena before managing to expose Natalie, despite her denials to the contrary, as having been involved in the prostitution of underage girls. Series 7 was produced by Rachel Snell.

Rivals Pat Kerrigan and Natalie Buxton in their final battle, resulting in Natalie's death (Series 8)

Series 8 (2006)[edit]

Main article: Bad Girls (series 8)

The series begins two years after series seven end and with the arrival of Emira Al Jahani (Laura Dos Santos), a Muslim whose husband is a suspected terrorist. When Neil and new prisoner Ashley Wilcox (Sandra De Sousa) die and other prisoners fall ill, Emira is accused of biological terrorism. However, it is later established that Neil has died of a previously undiscovered heart condition and the sickness on the wing has been caused by an outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease caused by a faulty air-conditioning unit. New G-Wing Governor Lou Stoke (Amanda Donohoe) develops a romance with the prison doctor Rowan Dunlop (Colin Salmon), not knowing he is married; she also tries to find her missing sister. Meanwhile, Pat is sickened by Natalie's use of a child in smuggling drugs into the prison and plans to get rid of her for good. Pat devises a plan in which she will trick Natalie into trying to escape, but Natalie realises she is being tricked and a fight ensues, which ends when Pat fatally hits Natalie over the head with a rock. With the help of the two Julies, Pat disposes of Natalie's body in the sewers beneath the prison, making it seem as if Natalie has indeed escaped from Larkhall. Inmate Janine Nebeski (Nicola Stapleton) and new prison officer Donny Kimber (Sid Owen) embark on a romance which leaves her pregnant. With help from Bev, Phyl and Tina O'Kane (Victoria Bush), Janine gives birth in her cell and names the baby after Bev. Long-term inmate Tina is released for the second time but, as before, she struggles to adapt to life in the outside world and commits another crime. She takes a bank hostage with a toy gun where a man suffers a heart attack; she is re-imprisoned again. Joy's long-lost daughter Stella Gough (Helen Modern) turns up as an inmate at the prison, but is shipped out after taking her mother hostage. Darlene Cake (Antonia Okonma) is tricked into killing new inmate Catherine Earlham's husband and tries to commit suicide, but is saved by Donny. Natalie's spirit returns in the last episode to haunt Sylvia and teach her the error of her ways. Series 8 was produced by Sharon Houlihan.

Reception[edit]

Early reviews of the series were generally positive. The Daily Telegraph stated that the series is "One of the biggest television drama hits of recent years" and that it was "Almost embarrassingly gripping", while The Observer said that it is a "Jewel in the Crown of prime time ITV" and that "Network executives must be thankful they have a rare, if unexpected success in Bad Girls." They also said that it is "Less cosy than other dramas ... no sick animals or people are healed." DVD Monthly reviewed the series and cited that "Bad Girls is a brilliant drama about life in a ladies prison. It's gritty, well written and fully merits the phrase 'hard hitting'" and that it "Makes compulsive viewing and does so with a level of intelligence and honesty".

The first three series of Bad Girls were the most successful. After the first three series, the show slightly declined in quality for the fourth and fifth series. Nonetheless, the show continued to earn high viewing figures. Series Six of Bad Girls was considered the most successful series after the first three series as it performed somewhat better than the previous two. The seventh series mostly saw viewing figures drop; although the Series Seven finale, the Christmas special, did perform very well. Series Eight had a further drop in viewing figures, and was the last series before cancellation.

Ratings[edit]

Series Episode Date Total Viewers ITV Weekly Ranking
1
1
1 June 1999
7,990,000
17
2
8 June 1999
7,390,000
16
3
15 June 1999
6,360,000
18
4
22 June 1999
6,860,000
17
5
29 June 1999
7,050,000
19
6
6 July 1999
7,020,000
14
7
13 July 1999
7,670,000
12
8
20 July 1999
7,600,000
15
9
27 July 1999
7,320,000
12
10
3 August 1999
7,660,000
14
Series Episode Date Total Viewers ITV Weekly Ranking
2
1
4 April 2000
9,440,000
14
2
11 April 2000
8,530,000
13
3
18 April 2000
8,210,000
11
4
25 April 2000
8,120,000
12
5
2 May 2000
8,260,000
16
6
9 May 2000
7,700,000
11
7
16 May 2000
9,300,000
11
8
23 May 2000
8,980,000
8
9
30 May 2000
9,490,000
9
10
6 June 2000
9,240,000
10
11
13 June 2000
9,130,000
8
12
27 June 2000
8,500,000
8
13
4 July 2000
8,810,000
10
Series Episode Date Total Viewers ITV Weekly Ranking
3
1
20 March 2001
9,420,000
16
2
27 March 2001
8,490,000
17
3
3 April 2001
8,590,000
14
4
10 April 2001
9,100,000
12
5
17 April 2001
8,600,000
14
6
24 April 2001
8,840,000
13
7
1 May 2001
8,510,000
11
8
8 May 2001
9,140,000
6
9
15 May 2001
9,100,000
9
10
22 May 2001
8,400,000
6
11
29 May 2001
8,600,000
11
12
5 June 2001
8,410,000
9
13
12 June 2001
8,460,000
13
14
19 June 2001
8,180,000
10
15
26 June 2001
8,120,000
11
16
3 July 2001
8,150,000
10
Series Episode Date Total Viewers ITV Weekly Ranking
4
1
28 February 2002
7,560,000
13
2
7 March 2002
6,830,000
17
3
14 March 2002
7,300,000
15
4
21 March 2002
7,330,000
12
5
28 March 2002
6,820,000
15
6
4 April 2002
6,990,000
16
7
11 April 2002
6,920,000
17
8
18 April 2002
7,100,000
18
9
25 April 2002
7,120,000
14
10
2 May 2002
6,900,000
11
11
9 May 2002
7,430,000
11
12
16 May 2002
7,120,000
12
13
23 May 2002
7,350,000
12
14
30 May 2002
6,590,000
14
15
6 June 2002
6,330,000
14
16
13 June 2002
7,130,000
13
Series Episode Date Total Viewers ITV Weekly Ranking
5
1
8 May 2003
8,360,000
17
2
15 May 2003
7,880,000
15
3
22 May 2003
7,630,000
12
4
29 May 2003
6,920,000
11
5
5 June 2003
7,100,000
14
6
12 June 2003
6,620,000
12
7
19 June 2003
6,760,000
12
8
26 June 2003
6,360,000
14
9
3 July 2003
6,530,000
13
10
10 July 2003
6,570,000
13
11
17 July 2003
6,570,000
13
12
24 July 2003
6,530,000
15
13
31 July 2003
6,560,000
15
14
7 August 2003
6,430,000
14
15
14 August 2003
6,540,000
14
16
21 August 2003
6,780,000
13
Series Episode Date Total Viewers ITV Weekly Ranking
6
1
14 April 2004
7,940,000
14
2
21 April 2004
8,250,000
13
3
28 April 2004
7,510,000
15
4
5 May 2004
7,780,000
11
5
10 May 2004
7,750,000
13
6
17 May 2004
7,870,000
11
7
18 May 2004
7,220,000
19
8
19 May 2004
7,800,000
14
9
2 August 2004
6,270,000
10
10
9 August 2004
5,920,000
15
11
16 August 2004
5,570,000
15
12
23 August 2004
6,670,000
12
Series Episode Date Total Viewers ITV Weekly Ranking
7
1
10 May 2005
6,210,000
12
2
17 May 2005
6,050,000
17
3
24 May 2005
5,640,000
15
4
31 May 2005
5,050,000
20
5
7 June 2005
4,840,000
20
6
14 June 2005
5,560,000
14
7
21 June 2005
5,180,000
15
8
28 June 2005
4,800,000
18
9
5 July 2005
5,510,000
16
10
12 July 2005
5,780,000
16
11
19 July 2005
5,580,000
15
12
26 July 2005
5,490,000
15
13
19 December 2005
7,160,000
13
Series Episode Date Total Viewers ITV Weekly Ranking
8
1
13 July 2006
5,400,000
11
2
20 July 2006
4,470,000
14
3
27 July 2006
4,410,000
15
4
3 August 2006
4,180,000
16
5
10 August 2006
4,280,000
15
6
17 August 2006
4,870,000
15
7
24 August 2006
5,000,000
17
8
31 August 2006
4,560,000
17
9
7 September 2006
4,620,000
18
10
14 September 2006
4,980,000
22
11
20 December 2006
5,130,000
16

Accolades[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

National Television Awards

  • Nomination: Most Popular Actress — Debra Stephenson (2000)
  • Won: Most Popular Drama — Bad Girls (2000)
  • Nomination: Most Popular Actress — Debra Stephenson (2001)
  • Won: Most Popular Drama — Bad Girls (2001)
  • Nominated: Most Popular Drama — Bad Girls (2002)
  • Nominated: Most Popular Drama — Bad Girls (2003)
  • Nominated: Most Popular Drama — Bad Girls (2004)
  • Nominated: Most Popular Drama — Bad Girls (2005)
  • Nominated: Most Popular Drama — Bad Girls (2006)

TV Quick Awards

  • Won: Best Loved Drama — Bad Girls (2000)
  • Won: Best Loved Drama — Bad Girls (2001)
  • Won: Best Actress — Debra Stephenson (2001)
  • Won: Best Loves Drama — Bad Girls (2002)
  • Won: Best Actress — Claire King (2002)
  • Won: Best Loved Drama — Bad Girls (2003)
  • Won: Best Actress — Claire King (2003)
  • Won: Best Actor — Jack Ellis (2004)

Theme and music[edit]

For the first series of Bad Girls, the music was composed by Nina Humphreys and the theme music for Series One was played out in full over the end credits. This theme did not play at the end of episode four and was replaced with the song Amazing Grace, performed by Sharon Duncan Brewster (Crystal Gordon). From Series Two, the music had been revamped as was the recap music and official theme music had been established and again played over the end credits as both Series One and Two only consisted of a five-second opening title. For the majority of the series, the music had been composed by Kath Gotts. From Series Three, a new set of opening titles had been introduced, running about 20 seconds and contained various shot of G-wing and the theme music, which slightly differed from Series Two was played over the titles both beginning and end. In the latter half of Series Three, the theme for the opening titles changed again, slightly and remained this way until the remainder of the series in 2006. The soundtrack was available on CD which was included on the original Series Three DVD set and is now out of print. The soundtrack did not contain the music from Series One.

Broadcast history[edit]

Series Time slot Episodes Premiered Ended Ave. rank Ave. viewers
(in millions)
Date Viewers
(in millions)
Date Viewers
(in millions)
1 Tuesday 9:00 pm 10 1 June
1999
7.99 3 August
1999
7.66 15th 7.29
2 Tuesday 9:00 pm 13 4 April
2000
9.44 4 July
2000
8.81 10th 8.75
3 Tuesday 9:00 pm 16 20 March
2001
9.42 3 July
2001
8.15 11th 8.63
4 Thursday 9:00 pm 16 28 February
2002
7.56 13 June
2002
7.13 14th 7.05
5 Thursday 9:00 pm 16 8 May
2003
8.36 21 August
2003
6.78 13th 6.88
6 Wednesday 9:00 pm (episodes 1–4)
Monday 9:00 pm (episodes 5 & 6)
Tuesday 9:00 pm (episode 7)
Wednesday 9:00 pm (episode 8)
Monday 9:00 pm (episodes 9–12)
12 14 April
2004
7.94 23 August
2004
6.67 12th 7.21
7 Tuesday 9:00 pm (episodes 1–12)
Monday 9:00 pm (episode 13)
13 10 May
2005
6.21 19 December
2005
7.16 15th 5.60
8 Thursday 9:00 pm (episodes 1–10)
Wednesday 9:00 pm (episode 11)
11 13 July
2006
5.40 20 December
2006
5.13 16th 4.72

Production format[edit]

Bad Girls was one of the more earlier television series to be produced in widescreen format 1.78:1. Although most of Britain were still viewing standard screen televisions, the early years of the series were seen in a format of 14:9 on analog television and cropped to pan and scan for the DVD releases of the first three series. These series' of the show are now available in their original widescreen format, as they have been re-screened on ITV3 and CBS Drama, and the DVD re-releases.

Syndication[edit]

Bad Girls received a complete run of repeats on ITV2 following their initial broadcasts on the original channel. From 1 September 2005, the series commenced a re-screening on ITV3, in which the first series was screened. From 5 September 2006, ITV3 again aired the complete first series, with both series two and series three following, and finished broadcast in early 2007. This was the final time ITV broadcast Bad Girls as their rights to the series had expired. In 2006, Five Life had acquired the rights to screen the fourth series, perhaps to pick up where ITV3 had left off. Bad Girls (along with the first series of Footballers' Wives) began airing on the channel in Spring 2007 following the third series on ITV3. However, no subsequent series followed on Five Life.[1]

In 2010, CBS Drama acquired the rights to Bad Girls, with the series debuting on 4 October 2010. Initially, for licensing reasons, the first seven series' were only broadcast, between October 2010 and February 2011. After ITV's rights of the eighth series expired, CBS Drama gave the series a re-run from 7 March 2011, with the inclusion of Series Eight, which premiered on the channel in July 2011.[2] The series had been re-screened several times on the channel, again from August 2012 and for the final time from 5 July 2013 in a new late-night time of 12:10 am. In July 2014, CBS Drama announced, via their Facebook page, that they no longer have the rights to show Bad Girls.

After a short hiatus, CBS Drama's sister channel, CBS Action commenced broadcast of the series on 21 October 2015 from Monday to Friday at 10:00 pm, with times varying on some nights. The week's five episodes had been repeated on Saturdays from 9:00 pm. CBS Action's format of the series followed the same format as CBS Drama, in that, the extended episodes which originally screened at 90 minutes on ITV were edited into two parts and shown on consecutive nights. CBS Action completed its first run of the series, with the final episode broadcast on 29 March 2016. Bad Girls once again screened the series from the very beginning on CBS Action from 30 March 2016. No repeated episodes were screened for this run. This run of the series concluded on 6 September 2016, and a third run will not be screened; However, the series did return again to CBS Drama from the beginning on 3 October 2016, with double episodes airing each weeknight from 10:00 pm, while repeated episodes are broadcast on over Saturday and Sunday nights. Series six is currently screening on CBS Drama as of 21 November 2016.

International

The series has endured success outside of the United Kingdom and has established a loyal fan base. It became popular in Australia, despite not attract high viewing figures when it was first broadcast on the Seven Network in 2000; however, it did gain a vast audience when it screened druring the 2000 Sydney Olympics.[3] The Seven Network only aired the first three series as it was cancelled due to poor ratings. UKTV in Australia screened the first four series, after which, the series was dropped. In New Zealand, it received a complete run when it was broadcast on TV One. In the United States, Bad Girls was initially broadcast on BBC America, lasting the complete first series and the first ten episodes of the second series and was aired Tuesday nights.[4] It was eventually removed from BBC America's Schedule. Due to its popularity in the U.S., especially among the LGBT community, the series moved to the LGBT-oriented network Logo TV, where it received a full eight-series screening. Similar to the U.S. channel LOGO, the series was available in Canada via OutTV which was acquired in 2006 and broadcast all eight series.[5] In Ireland, the series was broadcast on TV3 from 2001, and by the fifth series, it was exactly in pace with ITV's broadcasts at 9:00 pm, and remained as such until the final episode in 2006. TV3 have re-screened episodes; however, they no longer hold broadcasting rights. In South Africa, the series endured enormous success when it was broadcast M-NET. While the network was still screening series two in 2001, the cast of Bad Girls travelled to South Africa as part of a promotional tour for the documentary "Bad Girls in South Africa"; due to its growing popularity, the network secured the rights to the third series as the cast were on tour.[6] In France, under the title "Les condamnées",[7] the series was initially broadcast on NT1 on 12 December 2002",[8] with series one to seven, and AB1 with series one to six. In Luxembourg, Bad Girls is broadcast on RTL9, receiving a seven-series run and is internationally available to viewers in France, Belgium and Switzerland. In Sweden, the series is re-titled "Bakom Järngaller" and it was aired on TV4 with the first seven series'. It has received a complete run in countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina on TVSA and NTV Amna, Estonia, titled as "Pahad tüdrukud", on Kanal 2, Finland on Nelonen, Montenegro on TV Vijesti and Georgia on rustavi 2. A four-series run has been screened in Belgium, where it is broadcast on Vtm and Serbia on TV Košava.

Home media[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Initially, Bad Girls had been released on VHS format via the Contender Entertainment Group. The first series was released in 2000, with the second series following later the same year. Subsequently, the third and fourth series were made available in 2002 and 2003, and the fifth series, which was released by 2 Entertain, was available in 2004. These had been the only series to receive VHS releases as the format became obsolete for most titles at this point.

In 2001, Contender commenced releasing the series on DVD. Series One to Four had been released by the company between 2001 and 2003, after which they did not hold the rights to any subsequent series. A box set containing the first four series was available from 2006. Each set did contain several special features including interviews, outtakes, photo galleries, deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage, and a soundtrack CD which was available with Series Three. For the first three series, they had been cropped from their originally-produced 16:9 versions and received an aspect ratio of 4:3, as they had been transfers from the VHS releases. Furthermore, each of the recap sequences at the beginning of each episode had been removed, with the exception of the first and fifth episodes from the third series. The 'Next Time' clips which had started from the end of each Series Three episode (not produced as part of the first two series) had also been removed from the DVD releases. Series Four was virtually untouched, as each episode was available in 16:9, with each recap and 'Next Time' clip package intact. As the title of each episode did not display on the original television airings, they had been included in the opening scene of each episode for the DVD releases.

Distribution company, 2 Entertain acquired the rights to release the series from 2004. Between 2004 and 2006, Series Five to Eight had been released, each bringing newly commissioned artwork, different to the previous styles. Like Series Four, each episode following this was complete and uncut, in an original aspect ratio of 16:9, with recaps and 'Next Time' scenes included. For these new releases, each episode had their series and episode number displayed below the Bad Girls title in the opening sequence. For example, 'Series 5, Episode 1' and so forth. A set comprising Series Five to Eight was made available in 2007. Special features were also included in each set.

Contender and 2 Entertain no longer hold the rights to release the series for home entertainment puropses, and all DVD sets are now out of print.

In 2011 Acorn Media began releasing Bad Girls on DVD from the very beginning. Each series contains newly commissioned artwork, some of the series also contain less discs than in the previously releases. Series one has been given new certificate by the BBFC, previously given an '18' for disturbing scenes of violence, it has now been reduced to a '15' certificate. Also for the first time, series one to three has been released in their original widescreen format, and they contain subtitles, as does series four, which were previously not included. Bad Girls: The Complete Collection was released on 2 July 2012, for the first time all eight series are included in a complete boxset. The first three series are now available in their original widescreen 16:9 format with the recap sequences included for Series One and Series Two. Series Three still contains no recap or 'Next Time' clips from the Acorn Media release, except for the recap on the first episode only.

In the first episode of Series One of Bad Girls, the song featured in the ITV broadcasts, "If You Buy This Record (Your Life Will Be Better)" performed by The Tamperer featuring Maya was replaced in both the Contender and Acorn Media releases. In Series Eight, two songs which were featured in the ITV broadcasts, an alternative version of Peace Train performed by Dolly Parton and Y.M.C.A performed by Village People were replaced in the 2 Entertain and Acorn Media releases. The CBS Drama broadcasts of these episodes contained the same versions as the DVD releases.

Format Year Title Release date No. of tapes/discs Contents Rating
VHS 2000 Series 1 5 June 2000 3 Episodes 1–10  18 
VHS 2000 Series 2 2 October 2000 4 Episodes 1–13  15 
DVD 2001 Series One 18 June 2001 4 Episodes 1–10  18 
DVD 2001 Series Two 1 October 2001 4 Episodes 1–13  15 
VHS 2002 Series 3 25 March 2002 4 Episodes 1–16  15 
DVD 2002 Series Three 25 March 2002 5 Episodes 1–16 (includes CD)  15 
VHS 2003 Series 4 9 June 2003 4 Episodes 1–16  15 
DVD 2003 Series Four 9 June 2003 5 Episodes 1–16  15 
VHS 2004 Series Five 23 August 2004 4 Episodes 1–16  15 
DVD 2004 Series Five 23 August 2004 4 Episodes 1–16  15 
DVD 2005 Series Six 25 June 2005 3 Episodes 1–12  15 
DVD 2006 Series Seven 7 August 2006 4 Episodes 1–13  15 
DVD 2006 Complete Series 1–4 9 October 2006 18 Episodes 1–55 (includes CD)  18 
DVD 2006 Series Eight 26 December 2006 3 Episodes 1–11  15 
DVD 2007 Series Five to Eight 22 October 2007 14 Episodes 56–107  15 
DVD 2011 The Complete Series One 7 February 2011 3 Episodes 1–10  15 
DVD 2011 The Complete Series Two 18 April 2011 4 Episodes 1–13  15 
DVD 2011 The Complete Series One and Two 2011 7 Episodes 1–23  15 
DVD 2011 The Complete Series Three 4 July 2011 4 Episodes 1–16  15 
DVD 2011 The Complete Series Four 5 September 2011 4 Episodes 1–16  15 
DVD 2011 The Complete Series Five 3 October 2011 4 Episodes 1–16  15 
DVD 2011 The Complete Series Six 26 December 2011 3 Episodes 1–12  15 
DVD 2012 The Complete Series Seven 20 February 2012 3 Episodes 1–13  15 
DVD 2012 The Complete Series Eight 2 April 2012 3 Episodes 1–11  15 
DVD 2012 The Complete Collection 2 July 2012 28 Episodes 1–107  15 

Australia[edit]

In Australia, each series has been released by distribution company Shock Records. All eight series have been released twice by Shock. The first releases contain the same artwork as Contender and 2Entertain's artwork in the UK, with the exception of series seven and eight which contain their own style of artwork. The new releases contain brand new artwork on all eight series. Originally, the first seven series where issued an MA15+ rating for drug use, strong violence and coarse language, with Series Eight receiving an M rating. However, for the re-releases, Series Two, Three and Four had all been re-classified and given an M rating.

Year Title Release date No. of discs Contents Rating
2003 Series One 24 March 2003 4 Episodes 1–10  MA 15+
2003 Series Two 19 May 2003 4 Episodes 1–13  MA 15+
2003 Series Three 8 September 2003 5 Episodes 1–16  MA 15+
2004 Series Four 22 April 2004 5 Episodes 1–16  MA 15+
2005 Series Five 7 March 2005 4 Episodes 1–16  MA 15+
2005 Series Six 4 July 2005 3 Episodes 1–12  MA 15+
2006 Series Seven 18 September 2006 4 Episodes 1–13  MA 15+
2007 Series Eight 1 September 2007 3 Episodes 1–11  M 
2010 The Complete Collection 10 November 2010 32 Episodes 1–107  MA 15+
2011 Series One (re-release) 12 January 2011 4 Episodes 1–10  MA 15+
2011 Series Two (re-release) 12 January 2011 4 Episodes 1–13  M 
2011 Series Three (re-release) 9 March 2011 4 Episodes 1–16  M 
2011 Series Four (re-release) 9 March 2011 5 Episodes 1–16  M 
2011 Series Five (re-release) 11 May 2011 4 Episodes 1–16  MA 15+
2011 Series Six (re-release) 11 May 2011 3 Episodes 1–12  MA 15+
2011 Series Seven (re-release) 1 June 2011 4 Episodes 1–13  MA 15+
2011 Series Eight (re-release) 1 June 2011 3 Episodes 1–11  M 

Note: "The Complete Collection" of Bad Girls contains the re-release sets with became available as individual sets following this release, and not the original release sets.

United States[edit]

Bad Girls: The Complete First Season was released in the United States on 9 May 2006 via CAPITAL ENTERTAINMENT ENTERPRISES in a 3 DVD set. It was released in its original widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with the recaps intact. The set also contains a 'Slang Dictionary' so that American viewers can understand the British slang in which the characters of the series use.

Other media[edit]

Bad Girls: The Musical[edit]

A musical comedy adaptation, based on the characters and storylines of series 1, including the events of the death of inmate, Rachel Hicks, and the relationship between Wing Governor Helen Stewart and lifer, Nikki Wade. The musical originates with the same creative staff which worked on the television program. Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus, of Shed Productions, are the book writers of the musical, and Kath Gotts, composer for Bad Girls series 2 – 4, is the composer-lyricist. The first full production of the musical premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in May – June 2006. A West End production began a run at the Garrick Theatre in August 2007, closing in November 2007 (four months earlier than intended). A DVD version of the musical has since been released. A national tour of Bad Girls The Musical has been ruled out.

Bad Girls Most Wanted[edit]

In 2004, following the Series Six finale of Bad Girls on ITV1, a special was broadcast on ITV2 - Bad Girls Most Wanted, which was hosted by Jack Ellis. It counted down the top ten 'most wanted' prisoners from the first six series as voted for by viewers in the UK.

The list included:

Rank Character
10
Tina O'Kane
9
The Two Julies
8
Natalie Buxton
7
Phyl & Bev: The Costa Cons
6
Denny Blood
5
Kris Yates
4
Darlene Cake
3
Nikki Wade
2
Shell Dockley
1
Yvonne Atkins[9]

Book[edit]

Bad Girls: The Inside Story, a companion book to the show was written by Jodi Reynolds and Jamie McCallum and published on 8 May 2001 and was to coincide with the third series of Bad girls, which was currently being broadcast at the time, and at its peak of popularity. The text is a guide to Larkhall prison's G-wing and its most notorious inmates, with additional information on the show. The book is currently out-of-print as of 6 February 2002. ISBN 978-0-00-711548-8

Proposed American version[edit]

HBO is developing a U.S. remake, with the same characters and same storylines. Shed Productions has been involved in talks since as early as 2002 regarding a US version of Bad Girls. In 2006 it was announced that FX would be bringing an American version of Bad Girls to US screens, but Shed subsequently vetoed FX's original pilot script after the show was given a "really gritty and unpleasant" feel like that of Oz.[10]

In 2008, Eileen Gallagher, CEO of Shed Productions' parent company Shed Media, announced that HBO bought the rights to the show from FX. HBO's version of Bad Girls is being developed with creative input from Six Feet Under writer Alan Ball, and it will be written by Nancy Oliver and Raelle Tucker. According to Gallagher, the HBO team will be sticking very closely to the characters and story lines from the original show.[11]

In February 2012, it was confirmed that NBC would be developing an American remake version of Bad Girls. The pilot episode is expected to be aired in either 2014 or 2015.[12] As of 2015, no release date has been confirmed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Five Life to show 'Bad Girls' and 'Footballers' Wives'". tvforum.uk. January 11, 2007. Retrieved March 13, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Bad Girls Season 8 Update". cbsdrama.tv. February 22, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Bad Girls in trouble down under". The Guardian. December 12, 2000. Retrieved March 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ ""Bad Girls" Gets It Right". afterellen.com. April 11, 2006. Retrieved March 13, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Owners brought gay TV network from bland to just fabulous". Canada.com. July 3, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2016. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "More Bad Girls for SA". news24.com. May 30, 2001. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Bad Girls". allocine.fr. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Bad Girls / Condamnées (Les)". a-suivre.org. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Bad Girls Most Wanted - #1 Yvonne Atkins". YouTube. 28 June 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Bad Girls: HBO locks in deal for US version of ITV prison drama ", MediaGuardian.co.uk.
  11. ^ "Interview With Eileen Gallagher", AfterEllen.com.
  12. ^ "'Bad Girls' remake picked up to pilot by NBC - US TV News". Digital Spy. 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2013-05-27. 

External links[edit]

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