- Angels (TV series)
"Angels" was a
British televisiondrama dealing with the subject of student nurses that was broadcast by the BBCbetween 1975 and 1983. The series' title derived from the name of the hospital where the series was set, St. Angela's.
The series was devised by
Julia Smith, who later went to create " EastEnders", and as such "Angels" prefigured the (initial) toughness of Albert Squareby tackling social 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 and multi-ethnic cast, "Angels" 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.
Initially, the series aired in series of thirteen episodes each, but was later screened twice a week. One might retrospectively argue that the BBC were "testing the water" for a long-running prime-time soap, and indeed the success of "Angels" in its slot does seem like a dry run for "
EastEnders" and for "Casualty", another medical series noted for its (initial) gritty realism and which also increased its production rate as its popularity rose.
The series also 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 such as
Fiona Fullerton, Lesley Dunlopand Pauline Quirke. Additionally, Kathryn Apanowicz, Shirley Cheritonand Judith Jacoball went on to appear in " EastEnders", with Cheriton playing the particularly prominent role of Debbie Wilkins.
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.
* [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/481736/index.html British Film Institute Screen Online]
* [http://stangelas.homestead.com/index.html St. Angela's unofficial site]
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