Angels TV Series
by Mark Nobes, chief editor
Angels was a gritty, British medical drama series that followed a group of student nurses during their 3 year nursing course, and originally aired on BBC1 from 1975 to 1983, with nine series and 220 episodes in total. It became a twice weekly soap from 1979 onwards.
Now, I have a BBC schedule from October 1983 which shows that the final series was broadcast at 18:40 -19.05 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which means each episode lasted for around 25 minutes.
Created by Paula Milne, the series was originally set in St. Angela's hospital in Battersea (hence the title of the series) and filmed at St. James' hospital in Baltham, London. Each episode was one hour long and followed six student nurses.
The setting changed to Heath Green hospital in Birmingham for the twice weekly soap format (in the early 1980s), which was filmed at Walsgrave hospital in Coventry. Both of these buildings have since been demolished.
The actresses were each asked to work in a real hospital to experience first hand what the working life of a nurse involves. The series gave a pretty authentic and hard-hitting portrayal of nursing at this time, and was very different to the glamorous American TV shows from this time. Angels was not afraid to tackle the very real every day issues and stresses faced by nurses, such as alcoholism and contraception, and how they dealt with patients and Doctors.
The first episode was broadcast on 1st September 1975, with the final episode airing on 22nd December 1983.
The theme music was created by Alan Parker and was called "Motivation". You can hear this is the video at the top of the page.
The shows producer were Ron Craddock, Morris Barry (who also helped produce Z-Cars), Julia Smith (who co-created Eastenders with Tony Holland) and Ben Rea.
Julia Smith became a producer in 1979, when the show became a twice weekly soap. She asked Tony Holland to become her script writer.
Pauline Quirke as Vicky Smith
Pauline Quirke played nurse Vicky Smith in series 8-9, but she is best-known, of course, for her role as Sharon Theodopolopodous (don't ask me to spell that again!) in the ITV comedy series Birds Of A Feather.
Patricia Rutherford (series 1-3) was played by Fiona Fullerton, who went on to play Pola Ivanova in the 1985 James Bond film A View To A Kill.
Irish actress Erin Geraghty played Maureen Morahan in series 1-3, and more recently was Laura Evan in Doctors (2020).
English actress Lesley Dunlop was Ruth Fullman in series 1, and she is currently Brenda Walker in the ITV soap Emmerdale (2021).
English actress Julie Dawn Cole played Jo Longhurst in series 1-3. You may remember her as the awful Veruca Salt in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.
Leeds-born actress Angela Bruce played Sandra Ling from 1975 to 1983, and she also played Janice Stubbs in Coronation Street during 1978, and Brigadier Winifred Bambera in the 1989 Doctor Who story Battlefield. She was also in the Red Dwarf episode Parallel Universe playing a female version of Lister.
English actress Clare Clifford played Shirley Brent in series 1-4, and in 2021, she played Patricia Stanton in an episode of the BBC medical drama Doctors.
Kathyrn Apanowicz played Rose Butchins in series 5-7 and was the partner of Countdown's Richard Whiteley from 1994 until his sad death in 2005.
Shirley Cheriton played Katy Betts in series 4-7, and she is also known for her role as Debbie Wilkins in Eastenders from 1985 to 1987.
The role of Beverly Slater (series 5-7) was performed by Judith Jacob, who was also in Eastenders from 1986 to 1989 as health worker Carmel Roberts.