Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Bad Girls (Chadwick, McManus, Gallagher, 1999-2006)

Two years after Oz launched in the US the British got a show called Bad Girls. Oz ran for six seasons, Bad Girls for eight. There are a lot of similarities, and notable differences. Bad Girls looks at many prisoners and prisoner groups, and it also looks at the staff quite a bit. There's a rapey/philandering guard, concerned guards, a warden whose intent is not always clear, an old couple that do not participate in the factions. All similar to Oz, but this is not a female version of the same show. Not exactly. It does follow the same WIP soap opera format, and since WIP is a formulaic enterprise to begin with the two are going to be superficially similar.

The show takes place in HMP Larkhall Womens Prison. Thus far, our good girl is Rachel Hicks (Joanne Froggatt), though she has yet to display the toughness which the good girl typically achieves. Our HBIC is Shell Dockley (Debra Stephenson), a lifer who runs the prison's drug trade. Her right hand is Denny Blood (Alicya Eyo). Our hardened veteran is Nikki Wade (Mandana Jones), who received a life sentence after killing a policeman who was attempting to rape her girlfriend. Our warden is Helen Stewart (Simone Lahbib), and the sadistic guard role is currently split between the annoying/uncaring Sylvia Hollamby (Helen Fraser) and the conniving/rapey Jim Fenner (Jack Ellis).

I have only seen a few episodes from season (series) one thus far, and it certainly appears to be building a bigger story. Whether it will also be similar to Oz in splitting off the main arc for several episodes is not clear; though it would be hard to hold a single arc for eight seasons.

Season one is available in the US on DVD from Netflix, and appears to be available at some expense through Amazon. The DVD set appears to have launched in 2006, so there seems little chance of later seasons being released here. Many of the seasons are available in the UK at various prices, most appear to still be in print.

Easily my favorite character is Denny Blood. Alicya Eyo does a lot of great acting with her, adding odd little character traits that really bring her to life. In the scene below, Denny is trying to write to her mother. Denny is just learning to read and write, so needs a little assistance.

Find out more about the show at the official homepage.

HBIC Shell Dockley and Enforcer Denny Blood

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