Angels

1975 - United Kingdom

Created by writer Paula Milne, Angels chronicled the personal and professional lives of six student nurses based at the fictitious St Angela's Hospital in London's Battersea district, from 1975-1983 on BBC1. 

Dubbed the Z-Cars of nursing by some critics due to its authentic semi-documentary approach, the series, over the course of its successful run, acted as a valuable training ground for a number of young gifted actresses such as Fiona Fullerton, Kathryn Apanowicz and Shirley Cheriton (EastEnders), Lesley Dunlop (May to December) and Pauline Quirke (Birds of a Feather), all of whom would later go on to consolidate the promise exhibited during their time with the series. Other notable behind the scenes production personnel who lent their talents to the series were writers Anne Valery and Deborah Mortimer and experienced directors such as Tristran de Vere Cole, Derek Martinus and future EastEnders supremo, Julia Smith. 

The series began as a 50-minute drama series but changed to two half-hour episodes a week in 1979 and exterior scenes were shot in the grounds of St. James's Hospital, Balham. With its winning combination of the soap opera-like personal lives of the young nurses and the often starkly detailed and harrowing medical aspects of its drama, Angels was a slickly produced series that can now be seriously regarded as the all-important bridge between the gentler medical series of the 1960s such as Emergency-Ward 10 and the intense, harder edged offering that followed such as in Casualty and A&E.

Published on November 27th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

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