Angels

Angels Disc 1-3.1.mp4_snapshot_00.24_[2020.05.17_11.24.28]

I’ve just dug out series one of Angels for another watch. Whilst it’s a shame that only the first two series made it to DVD, that shouldn’t dissuade you from picking them up as these early episodes are first rate.

Along with the colour Dixon of Dock Greens, Angels is probably the series I’ve found myself reassessing the most.  Based on hazy memories of the later, twice-weekly soap format, I’d long held the opinion that it was a rather cosy, pedestrian show. Maybe it did later lose its spark, but to begin with Angels is rich in interest in all areas – acting, writing and directing.

That a core group of female writers were assembled (and each assigned one of the main characters to write for) is noteworthy. Others also made valuable contributions, such as P.J, Hammond (who provides a typically disorientating offering later in the first series). I’d previously written about the first two series episode by episode here.

Given that Simply now seem to be out of the DVD game, it might be that their various BBC licensed titles will slowly begin to drift out of print. If so, you may want to pick up their Angels releases (and indeed anything else of interest) sooner rather than later.

The 1970’s Angels fan was well served with merchandise. There were the obligatory tie-in novels as well as annuals and (most eye-opening of all) a range of dolls. That most of the merchandising was aimed at the child market – even though the series wasn’t always child-friendly – is slightly odd, but it was common at the time (various post watershed programmmes like The Professionals and The Sweeney did something similar).

12 thoughts on “Angels

  1. Your write-ups of ANGELS inspired me to buy the DVD sets, and I’m surprised at how good the show is; it’s the best archive TV I’ve picked up in a long time. Needless to say, this follow-up post with all the photos of memorabilia is pretty cool! Thank you!

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  2. How come Simply’s out of the DVD game? I’ve not heard anything about that. Their DVD catalogue was the best around.

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  3. Which nurse is the doll supposed to be? And I notice she’s in flares rather than her uniform.

    (I saw Sandi Toksvig prsented a documentary on Sindy dolls, and she spoke to a little girl who said she’d like to have a police woman Sindy doll.)

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  4. I’d never seen those dolls before! “Your favourite nurse from St. Angela’s hospital” bears no particular resemblance to any of the cast, and I suspect may be a ruse to prevent the expense of casting a new mold/ paying writer and performer fees.

    It is curious just how much better remembered the second iteration of the programme is. I suppose that you would have to be in your fifties to have any memories of the first version, but in your (late) forties to have seen the latter one (plus most of the original viewers would have carried on watching after the change). But there is also a real pull of nostalgic association that come from the ritual of watching twice-weekly half hour serials, especially over five consecutive autumns. I’m not sure that the 1979-83 series was all that cozy and pedestrian in itself. I’ve not watched systematically, but have seen a couple of dozen episodes and what it feels most like is a mash up of Grange Hill and some of the less-confrontation early Brookside storylines.

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    • I’ve only briefly dipped into the half hour episodes but I’m sure I’ll eventually go through them all in sequence, so it’ll be interesting to see how they stand up.

      Certainly by the mid eighties, Angels seemed to have gained something of a negative reputation – I seem to recall early publicity for Casualty stressed how it would be harder hitting than Angels (which helped to cement Angels’ reputation as a series which concentrated mainly on the nurse’s love lives, with patient interaction a distant second).

      The reality is quite different though, and I’m glad to have eventually discovered just how rich the series is.

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      • Of course, Toby Whithouse’s No Angels (Channel 4 2004-06) was a hat-tip to the perceived softness of the BBC Series.

        I went to the BFI’s Casualty 25th anniversary event in 2011 and the show’s creators repeated their assertion that they didn’t want to make another Angels. Some clips were shown of the programme’s antecedents; EW10, General Hospital and Angels. That was a lot better than I remembered Angels being, the Casualty men conceded.

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