Show History



From Within These Walls and Prisoner Cell Block H to Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, female prison dramas have always been a hugely popular television genre. But before there was O.I.T.N.B. there was Bad Girls

Bad Girls first hit the screens on 1 June 1999 on primetime ITV and went on to run for eight series and a total of 107 episodes. It was set in the fictional women's prison of HMP Larkhall, and followed the lives of prisoners and staff on G Wing. The show became a big hit and was a repeat winner at the National Television Awards and widely syndicated internationally.

The original TV drama series was created by Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus and was made by Shed Productions, which ultimately went on to become part of the Warner Bros company.

The appeal of a closed world of strong female characters, raw emotions and big stories, coupled with a bawdy sense of humour, led to the idea of creating Bad Girls The Musical.  The show was then developed by Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus in collaboration with composer and lyricist Kath Gotts, and director Maggie Norris.



Following a semi-staged workshop production at the New Players Theatre in London (now Charing Cross Theatre) in November 2004, Bad Girls premiered at West Yorkshire Playhouse in June 2006, with a cast that included Hannah Waddingham in the role of Nikki Wade and Hal Fowler as Jim Fenner. The girls were then 'sent down' to London for a West End run at the Garrick Theatre from August to November 2007.

The West End production featured several veterans of the TV show as well as familiar musical theatre names. Helen Fraser reprised her infamous role as Sylvia "Bodybag" Hollamby and Nicole Faraday, better known in her role as Snowball Merriman in series 4 and 5 of Bad Girls, was the "evil incarnate" Shell Dockley. Laura Rogers played the troubled Wing Governor Helen Stewart and Maria Charles made a welcome return as old-timer Noreen Biggs. West End leading man David Burt played the malicious Jim Fenner and Sally Dexter won rave reviews as the ultimate Top Dog, King-of Gangland’s missus, Yvonne Atkins.

Bad Girls The Musical was filmed live at the Garrick Theatre and is available to buy or rent through Amazon Instant Video and Vimeo On Demand.



West End - and now East End(ers)- star Jenna Russell played the role of Julie Saunders in the 2004 workshop production of Bad Girls The Musical at Charing Cross Theatre.