Angels (TV series)

Last updated

Angels BBC Television Series Titles.jpg
Final version of series titles from 1983
Genre Medical drama
Created by Paula Milne
Theme music composer Alan Parker
Opening theme'Motivation'
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series9
No. of episodes220
Running time
  • 50 minutes 1975 – 1978
  • 30 minutes 1979 – 1983
Production company BBC
Original network BBC1
Original release1 September 1975 (1975-09-01) 
22 December 1983 (1983-12-22)

Angels is a British television seasonal drama series dealing with the subject of student nurses and was broadcast by the BBC between 1975 and 1983 and was once described as the " Z-Cars of nursing".


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. [1] 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. [2] Filming took place at the now demolished St James' Hospital, Balham, London. Location filming for the fictional Heath Green Hospital took place at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, which has been demolished and replaced on the same site by University Hospital Coventry.

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, Érin 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 .

Theme music

The guitar-driven theme tune, reminiscent of American police dramas of the time, was called Motivation, and was composed and performed by Alan Parker. [3]

Critical reception

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 series.


ActorCharacterSeries Duration
Fiona Fullerton Patricia RutherfordSeries 1–3
Julie Dawn Cole Jo LonghurstSeries 1–3
Lesley Dunlop Ruth FullmanSeries 1
Clare Clifford Shirley BrentSeries 1–4
Karan David Sita PatelSeries 1–3
Érin Geraghty Maureen MorahanSeries 1–3
Angela Bruce Sandra LingSeries 1–5
Joanna Monro Anna NewcrossSeries 4–7
Shirley Cheriton Katy BettsSeries 4–7
Carol Holmes Jean MacEwenSeries 4–6, 8–9
Shelley King Jay HarperSeries 4–5
Kate Saunders Brenda CotteralSeries 4
Clare Walker Sarah Lloyd-Smith #1Series 4
Kate Lock Sarah Lloyd-Smith #2Series 5
Kathryn Apanowicz Rose ButchinsSeries 5–7
Sharon Rosita Fleur BarrettSeries 5–7
Judith Jacob Beverley SlaterSeries 5–7
Susan Gilmore Elizabeth FittSeries 6–7
Fay Howard Adrienne O'SheaSeries 6
Julia Williams Tracey WilloughbySeries 7–9 [4]
Sarah Lam Linda MoSeries 7–8
Pauline Quirke Vicky SmithSeries 8–9 [4]
Mamta Kaash Nargis KhanSeries 8
Al Ashton Mike HathawaySeries 8
Michelle Martin Janet DickensSeries 8–9 [4]
Juliet Waley Alison StreeterSeries 8–9 [4]
Joy Lemoine Ayo LapidoSeries 9


Some TV tie-in novels were published to coincide with the series.

DVD Release

On 18 March 2013 Simply Media released the Series 1 (fifteen episodes) of Angels on DVD. Series 2 was released in September 2014.

Canceled reboot

According to a 2019 interview with Julie Dawn Cole, the show was slated for a reboot sometime after its initial run. While not much about this reboot is known, Cole stated that the theme of the show was to have new characters in the same fictional setting of Saint Angela's Hospital, who were less “wholesome” than the characters from the original series. The working title for this reboot was Angels With Dirty Faces. Ultimately the reboot never materialised.

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  1. BFI Screenonline: Angels (1975-83)
  2. BFI Screenonline: Smith, Julia (1927-1997) Biography
  3. Alan Parker - Motivation (Theme from Angels), BBC
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Thursday TV BBC1 - Angels New Season". Radio Times via 8 September 1983. Retrieved 8 September 2020.