It was the controversial, yet award-winning, drama series from 1999 until 2006, and the cast of Bad Girls sure kept viewers gripped to their screens with their antics in Larkhall prison. There were scandals, murders, affairs and love stories which remained for the eight series the show was on the air. Since the shows end in 2006, many of the famous actresses have continued to star in British dramas, film, and stage productions. However, for a lot of these girls, Bad Girls was their most notable performance. Even over ten years later, we cannot forget the ladies of Larkhall and wonder where they are today.
Claire King – Then
Claire King joined the cast as wing governor Karen Betts in 2000 and stayed on the show for four years.
Betts was framed by Jim Fenner for death by dangerous driving, but she found proof against him which she revealed at Fenner’s wedding.
Claire King – Now
Claire King is best-known for her role as Kim Tate in Emmerdale, a role which she played for ten years before her move to Bad Girls. She played Karen Betts for four years and has since appeared on Hollyoaks, Holby City, and Coronation Street.
In 2006, King was a contestant on the fourth series of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing where she finished sixth place, and in 2014, she entered the Celebrity Big Brother house. After 16 days she had to leave the house because of an illness.
Kerry Norton – Then
Kerry Norton played Maxi Purvis, the inmate who was charged twenty-four months for ABH and handling stolen goods. In fact, Maxi came from a criminal family and her older sister Tina was also doing time on G-Wing.
Maxi was completely fearless and was determined to be the ‘top-dog’ of G-Wing no matter the cost. However, things did not end too well for this ruthless inmate. Maxi had killed herself in series four, and her body was hidden under the prison chapel.
Kerry Norton – Then
In 1996, Kerry Norton starred in an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and later made several appearances on the American series, Battlestar Galactica, where she starred alongside her real-life husband.
She played the leading role of Anne Alstein in The Screwfly Solution and was a member of the original cast of the touring play, Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners. Kerry has also embarked on a music career and, in 2005, she recorded an album of covers, titled “Young Heart”.
Nicola Stapleton – Then
Janine Nebeski, played by Nicola Stapleton, was sentenced to Larkhall for five years after committing credit card fraud. During her time there, she attempted to run away, but prison officer Donny Kimber chased after her and brought her back.
In fact, the two began a relationship with one another, and he saw that bringing her back to Larkhall was for her own good. Donny’s career was later in jeopardy when Janine fell pregnant with his child, but she gave birth to their daughter Beverly-Janine.
Nicola Stapleton – Now
Stapleton began her acting career at a young age and appeared in the children’s show, Simon and the Witch in 1987. It was in 1992 that she won her high-profile role as Mandy Salter in BBC’s Eastenders, a role she played until 2004.
She reprised the role after seventeen years in 2011 but left for the second time a year later. In 2017, Nicola took over the voice of Rosie in Thomas & Friends for both the UK and US and also made her third appearance in Casualty, playing her third different character.
Simone Lahbib – Then
Simone Lahbib became widely recognised when she took on the leading role of Helen Stewart in Bad Girls from 1999. Helen was the new G-wing governor who aimed to make G-wing a better place.
Since she did not receive any help from other officers, she began working with the prisoners and enlists the help of inmate Nikki Wade. Although the two ladies clashed at first, they soon formed a personal relationship. Helen left at the end of series three to embark on a romantic relationship with Nikki.
Simone Lahbib – Now
Lahbib has continued to star in television dramas since her departure from Bad Girls. She starred in Judge John Deed, Monarch of the Glen, and took the leading role as D.I. Alex Fielding in Wire in the Blood.
She joined the cast in the fourth series and remained until the six when the show was cancelled. She has also had guest appearances in New Tricks and Downtown Abbey and appeared in some highly-acclaimed films such as Philomena and Wayward’s Song.
Rebecca Hazlewood – Then
Alongside Janine Nebeski’s arrival at Larkhall, arrived Arun Parmer, played by Rebecca Hazlewood, who had received three years for credit card fraud. Arun has a hard time in the prison and is even beaten up by Janine who beats her ribs with bricks following Natalie’s demands.
It later becomes apparent that Arun is actually a male-to-female transsexual, and is need of hormone pills. When the other female inmates discover the truth about Arun, they demand that she be taken to a men’s prison.
Rebecca Hazlewood – Now
Aside from her role as Arun in Bad Girls, Rebecca Hazlewood is best known for her role as Beena Shah in Crossroads. She has also made her way across the pong and won the role as Asha in the NBC sitcom, Outsourced.
In 2008, she appeared in season 14 of ER portraying Jaspreet and as Ajira Airways ticket agent Nalini in Season five of Lost. She has also appeared on the hit series’ Grey’s Anatomy, White Collar, and the film, Equals.
Alicya Eyo – Then
When viewers were first introduced to Denny Blood, played by Alicya Eyo, she seemed to have a more cruel side to her than good. However, over time in the prison, she became kind and caring, especially to her girlfriend, Shaz Wiley.
This all turns once again when Shaz is killed in a fire, and Denny seeks revenge on Snowball Merriman, the inmate who caused the fire. She later made a friend in Yvonne Atkins but was then moved from Larkhall to Whitecross, an open prison.
Alicya Eyo – Now
Alicya last appeared as Denny Blood in series 5 of Bad Girls but, before the show was axed, producers were hopeful in asking her to reprise her role. However, with the show coming to an end in 2006, Alicya started work on other British television shows, including Holby City, and Doctors.
In 2011, Eyo was cast for the role of Ruby Haswell in Emmerdale. She played the lesbian partner of Ali Spencer, but her time on Emmerdale came to an end in 2015 when her character died after a helicopter crash.
Mandana Jones – Then
Mandana Jones took on the role of Nikki Wade for three series of Bad Girls. Nikki was serving a life sentence after murdering a policeman, and later formed a relationship with the wing governor, Helen Stewart.
The pair clash at the beginning, but soon realised they had feelings for one another. Nikki also escaped from Larkhall at the end of series two, but it was Helen who brought her back to the prison. Nikki later wins her appeal and her and Helen could finally be together on the outside.
Madana Jones – Now
Mandana Jones is no stranger to British soap operas and, over her career, she has appeared on London Bridge, Doctors, Holby City, Eastenders, The Bill, Casualty, Silent Witness, and, most recently, Emmerdale.
While starring as Nikki Wade on Bad Girls from 1999-2001 was her most high-profile role to date, Jones’ second largest role was when she appeared as Dr. Mary Holland on the BBC TV children’s show, Powers. Jones appeared on all 13 episodes of the show’s duration in 2004.
Kika Mirylees – Then
Kika Mirylees played inmate Julie Johnston from the very first episode of Bad Girls in 1999, to the final episode in December 2006. Julie was originally sentenced to serve two years in prison, but it got increased to eight after she was charged with GBH with intent.
While she was in jail, her ex-husband had fled to America with their three children, which resulted in Julie missing her kids incredibly. She found a best friend in Julie S, however, and was devastated when it was revealed Julie S had cancer.
Kika Mirylees – Now
After Bad Girls came to an end, it was announced that Mirylees would be joining the cast of Eastenders, playing the role of Hazel Hobbs. She joined the soap in April 2007 and played Gary’s mother for just a year.
In 2009, she joined Holby City, and this follows from her other roles on soap operas, including The Bill and Casualty. Although Mirylees is best-known for her role on Bad Girls, she starred as Angela Snow in The Darling Buds of May, and Doc Newton in Red Dwarf.
Helen Fraser – Then
Another original character who remained in the show throughout its entirety on air was prison officer, Sylvia Hollamby, played by Helen Fraser. Sylvia was the most law-abiding of the corrupt prison staff, but she hated her fellow prison officers, as well as, all the inmates.
She constantly complained about her job and would have rather been sitting reading a magazine and drinking a cup of tea than working. Meanwhile, she didn’t have it easy as a prison officer, and there were several times she came close to death.
Helen Fraser – Now
After Bad Girls came to an end, and Fisher’s successful run with the show, she reprised her role as miserable warder Sylvia in the West End production of Bad Girls: The Musical, in 2007.
In 1963, Fisher had starred in the film Billy Liar and, in 2009 and 2010, she took on the role of Mrs. Fisher when she toured the UK for the stage version of the film. In 2011, she joined the tour of Calendar Girls, and she has also appeared in Casualty, Coronation Street, and Doctors.
Tracey Wilkinson – Then
Tracey Wilkinson played Di Barker from series two on the prison drama. Di later became known by her married names Grayling and then Fenner, before eventually returning back to Barker.
She was the prison officer new to G-Wing when she arrived at Larkhall, but by series seven, Di was behind bars in the same prison she once worked. She was suspected of killing her second husband, Governor Jim Fenner, although viewers were aware that she was innocent of the crime.
Tracey Wilkinson – Now
Wilkinson left the prison drama in between the filming of the 2005 Christmas Special, and the fate of Di Barker, who was on remand for Jim’s murder, remained unresolved. Meanwhile, Tracey has starred in the films Billy Elliot, Purely Bear, and most recently, Wasted.
She has also had a recurring role in the American series Outlander where she stars as Mrs. Graham and, appeared on Casualty as Jackie Munroe. Jackie is married to Howard Munroe who was played by James Gaddas and played Tracey’s on-screen husband on Bad Girls.
Debra Stephenson – Then
Stephenson had one of the most prominent roles on Bad Girls, having played psychotic Shell Dockley from 1999 to 2001. During her time on the show, Dockley earned herself the nomination for Best Actress at the National Television Awards in both 1999 and 2000.
Although she was one of the most popular characters on the show, Stephenson thought she was ready to leave the hit prison drama after three years of playing Larkhall’s bully. She did, however, appear in the first four episodes of series five.
Debra Stephenson – Now
As well as starring on television, Stephenson has been a regular starring in stand-up comedy and has several roles as a comic actress on radio and television. Some of her work has been featured on At Home with the Snails and TV to Go.
From June 2004, however, Stephenson took on the role as Frankie Baldwin in Coronation Street. She played the role of Danny’s wife until 2006, and her role received many nominations at the award shows. She later went onto guest star in Waterloo Road.
Linda Henry – Then
Linda Henry first appeared as Yvonne Atkins in the penultimate episode of Series 1. Yvonne had hired a hit-man to kill a business rival of her husband, Charlie, who was a London gangster, and therefore, received four years for conspiracy to commit murder.
Soon after first arriving at Larkhall, Atkins became the Top Dog of G-Wing, and her power remained until her death at the end of Series 5 when Jim Fenner murdered her in the last episode of the series.
Linda Henry – Now
After her departure from Bad Girls in 2003, Henry went onto appear as Shirley Carter in the BBC soap opera, Eastenders, and is a role she still holds today.
Meanwhile, she had previously appeared on the series as Lorraine Salter, the mother of Mandy Salter, from 1991 to 1992. In 2014, Henry was arrested for racially aggravated harassment, and she stood trial in February 2015 where she pleaded not guilty. She was charged under her married name of Valiris, but was later cleared of all charges.
Sharon Duncan-Brewster – Then
For the first four series of the show, Sharon Duncan-Brewster appeared as Crystal Gordon, who was originally sentenced to twelve months for persistent shoplifting. Gordon later returned to Larkhall when she was found guilty of harbouring escapees Shell and Denny.
Gordon was a devout Christian who believed the prison treated their inmates too softly and whose officers failed to eliminate illicit substances effectively. Gordon also found love with Josh, and the two were last seen driving off into the sunset with baby Zandra after completing her sentence.
Sharon Duncan-Brewster – Now
After her time on Bad Girls, Sharon guest starred in Holby City, Waking the Dead, Babyfather, and Doctors. In 2009, she took on the role of Trina Johnson on EastEnders and as Maggie Cain in the autumn 2009 Doctor Who special, “The Waters of Mars.”
As well as her roles on notable television series’, she did voice-over work for the football video game FIFA 17 where she played Catherine Hunter, Alex Hunter’s mother. She then reprised this role in FIFA 18’s Journey Season 2.
James Gaddas – Then
When James Gaddas arrived as Neil Grayling, the new Governing Governor at Larkhall, he was determined to make improvements to the prison and always stay on top of officers below him.
Neil had been married twice, but his marriage to his first wife ended after she caught him in bed with another man. His departure from the series came when Neil later fell victim to Legionnaire’s Disease and died. It was also revealed in his postmortem that he was suffering from Coronary Heart Disease.
James Gaddas – Now
Before his stint on Bad Girls, Gaddas would have been best recognized for playing Vinnie Sorrell in Coronation Street. He has since taken to stage production as appeared as in Billy Elliot the Musical as Jackie Elliot, Peter Pan, Spamalot, The Girls, and as Bill Anderson in Mamma Mia!
As for television,, Gaddas has made appearances on The Bill, Tracy Beaker Returns, Medics, Dogtown, Doctors, and Waterloo Road. In 2015, he appeared in yet another soap opera drama playing Ged, a prisoner awaiting trial for murder, in Emmerdale.
Stephanie Beacham – Then
Stephanie Beacham came to Larkhall as Phyllida “Phyl” Oswyn in Series 5, with hope to provide some comic relief among the typical dark storylines. Together with Bev Tull, they were known as the “Costa Cons,” and would often scheme against and con their fellow inmates.
Phyl later becomes Tom Dog after Yvonne Atkins escaped, but later escapes with Bev when one of their conning stints went wrong. However, they are soon both brought to Larkhall and continued to manipulate their inmates up until the final episode in 2006.
Stephanie Beacham – Now
Before joining the cast of Bad Girls in 2003, Stephanie Beacham was already a well-known British actress. She starred in television shows such as Tenko and Connie and even filmed across the pond for roles in shows including The Colbys and Dynasty.
Beacham had made her film debut in 1970 for the film, The Games and went onto star in The Nightcomers, Schizo, and Troop Beverly Hills on the big screen. Beacham is also a Golden Globe Award nominee after her role in the NBC sitcom, Sister Kate.
Eva Pope – Then
Once a Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police Vice Squad, Frances Myers came to Larkhall as the Grade Wing Governor. Played by Eva Pope, Frances was the sassy babe who always dressed in designer gear.
Having lost the love of her life to her sister, Frances had completely given up on love and showed men that what they see is not what they could get. She joined the Prison Service to stop people with wrecked lives going back for more and eventually left Larkhall to open her own prison.
Eve Pope – Now
Eva Pope is best known for her role as headteacher Rachel Mason in the BBC drama, Waterloo Road, and has made appearances in shows such as The Bill, Heartbeat, Holby City, Casualty, and Strictly Confidential.
Her most recent role is in the TV show, Hetty Feather, as Matron Gertrude Bottomly, but Pope also has theatre credits to her name. She starred in The Comedy of Errors, Turkey Time and Hobson’s Choice. She is also a regular performer of the international touring play, Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners.
Joe Shaw – Then
Prison officer, Dominic McAllister, had turned down a place at university to join the Prison Service to help support his parents. He was kind to all the women in prison and, as a result, they respected him for that.
While he may have been soft on the inmates, he was an excellent officer because of his positive attitude and dedication to the women. Dominic did fall for inmate Helen Stewart and, while he tried to remain professional, this later took a romantic turn.
Joe Shaw – Now
While still training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Joe left before the end of his final year to star in the 1996 BBC series, Rhodes. At the time, the miniseries was the most expensive series the BBC had ever made, but it garnered a huge amount of attention.
He starred in Bad Girls until its final series in 2006 and has also achieved success as an accomplished writer/director. His first short film in 2002 was titled, Passing Through, which was well received and played at international festivals.
Pauline Campbell – Then
Pauline Campbell was chosen for the role of Al Mckenzie during the height of the show’s popularity in Series 3. She was discovered while studying at Reid Kerr College and was asked to audition for the role on the ITV series.
Al joined as one of the new faces of G-Wing, alongside sisters Maxi and Tina Purvis. Al was part of the main cast until the Series 6 when she was killed off after she died from oxalate poisoning and from choking on her own vomit.
Pauline Campbell – Now
While Campbell was asked to audition for the role as Al Mckenzie, she was also asked to have her shoulder-length blonde hair removed to suit the character.
While she may have given a perfect audition to play Al, Al was a violent character, and she was an aggressive bully. Therefore, producers asked Campbell to suit the role she was portraying by receiving a skinhead. After her stint on Bad Girls, Campbell went onto appear in Mile High and Casualty.
Tristan Sturrock – Then
While the cast of Bad Girls was primarily female, there were also male cast members throughout the series. In 2002, Tristan Sturrock was cast to play the role of Officer Colin Hedges.
Colin certainly was not the life of the party in Larkhall and believed his life had taken a wrong turn somewhere. With the breakdown of his marriage, and his ex-wife leaving with their son, Billy, Hedges became very wary of women and turned to illicit substances for help.
Tristan Sturrock – Now
Sturrock appeared on series five to seven of Bad Girls but is better known for his contribution to British theatre. He has spent the last 30 years working with Kneehigh, the internationally renowned theatre company, and is currently playing the role of Zacky Martin in Poldark.
His other productions include Brief Encounter on Broadway and Mayday, Mayday, a project he wrote and performed internationally. As for television, Sturrock made his first appearance in 1996 on the detective series Wycliffe and has since appeared on The Bill, Holby City, and The Royal.
Elizabeth May Brice – Then
Liz May Brice joined the cast of Bad Girls in 2005 for Series 7 of the show. She was cast for the role of Pat Kerrigan, who is serving life in prison after murdering her ex-boyfriend.
With Pat becoming ‘Top Dog’ of the show, she meant business, and she stood for no nonsense from the other ladies. As a result, Pat wanted to destroy Natalie’s life, and eventually murdered her. Along with the help of other inmates, Pat managed to hide Natalie’s body before officers discovered the murder.
Elizabeth May Brice – Now
Brice has appeared in episodes of BBC’s Hustle, The 10th Kingdom, Peep Show, and The Colour of Magic. Furthermore, Brice went onto star in more soap opera shows including The Bill, where she played anti-terrorism officer, Karen Lacy, and took on the role of Lyn in an episode of Casualty.
She then appeared as Billy Mitchell’s new love interest, Tara, when she starred in episodes on Eastenders in 2013. Liz has also appeared on the big screen, starring in the horror film, AVP: Alien vs. Predator, and Fortress 2.
Nicole Faraday – Then
Nicole Faraday played the role of prison inmate Snowball Merriman in Series 4 and 5 of Bad Girls. She originally comes to Larkhall with an American accent, hoping to convince the other inmates that she is a Hollywood actress.
However, Yvonne later discovers that Snowball Merriman had a completely different career to the one she mentioned. She also started dating Yvonne’s son, Ritchie and planted a bomb in prison in hope to escape. Nothing good came from this, and Merriman became the most hated inmate in prison.
Nicole Faraday – Now
As well as her leading role in Bad Girls, Faraday is known for her roles in Casualty and Emmerdale, which have made her a TMA Award-winning actress. She has also starred in The Bill, Kingdom, and Doctors.
Moreover, Faraday starred as Bad Girls character, Shell Dockley, in the West End stage musical version. The TV show acknowledged this, and when the character of Shell returned to the TV series, she comments on how Snowball is trying to steal her look.
Kellie Bright – Then
After discovering that Cassie Tyler had embezzled £47,000 from the finance company she worked for, she was sentenced to three years in prison. Played by Kellie Bright, Cassie came to Larkhall in 2002 and was one of the more positive inmates on the show.
She settled into prison life quickly, and managed to make friends along the way. However, the person she was closest to, was Roisin Connor. Connor was her former PA and co-defendant who Tyler was having an affair with at the time of her arrival to Larkhall.
Kellie Bright – Now
Kellie Bright is perhaps best known for playing Linda Cater on BBC’s soap opera drama, Eastenders. For her role on the show, she won the 2015 British Soap Awards for Best Actress and Dramatic Performance.
In addition to Bad Girls and Eastenders, Bright has starred in The Upper Hand, Rock & Chips, and in 2015, she competed on BBC’s, Strictly Come Dancing. Participating in the 13th series of the popular dance show, Bright missed the top spot when she came runner-up on the final episode.
Victoria Bush – Then
Victoria Bush joined the cast of Bad Girls from series three, until its end in the eighth series. Originally known as Tina Purvis, her name later became Tina O’Kane and she joined the prison as part of the “Peckham Boot Gang.”
After forming a close friendship with wheelchair-bound Virginia O’Kane, her former gang members assault Tina. Tina continually committed crimes every time she was released from prison, that she was always institutionalised and considered Larkhall ‘home’, and her cell her ‘room.’
Victoria Bush – Now
In 2012, Victoria joined the cast of BBC’s school drama, Waterloo Road. She was introduced as Sonya Donnegan, Lorraine’s sister, and the new school secretary.
In 2016, she played Flo in Casualty for one episode. Away from television, and the various drama soap operas Bush has been involved in, Bush is one half of female comedy duo, Checkley & Bush, alongside Laura Checkley. One of their recent tours was called “Keep Calm and Carry On” which was featured at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011.
Victoria Alcock – Then
Victoria Alcock played one of the most popular inmates in Larkhall and was in all eight series of the show. The character Julie Saunders, who led a life of crime, was always friendly and would do anything to help others, especially her closest friend, Julie J.
She had a tendency to make people laugh and also believed she had psychic powers. After her diagnosis of breast cancer, she starts to lose her softer side and began to challenge the system.
Victoria Alcock – Now
Victoria’s time on Bad Girls came to an end in 2006 when the show was cancelled. As well as having a successful run on the show, she also met her husband while cast as Julie Saunders on the series.
Alcock is also well-known for her role as Agnes Clarke in The House of Eliott and, in 2012, she was cast to take on the role of Lorraine Stevens in Eastenders. In fact, Lorraine was the mother of Mandy Salter who was played by her Bad Girls co-star, Nicola Stapleton.
Jack Ellis – Then
Jack Ellis is best-known for his portrayal of villainous prison officer Jim Fenner. Although Jim was the prison officer, he was later imprisoned for death by dangerous driving. He was eventually released and was able to return to his job as G-Wing Governor in Larkhall.
Before his death, he was once again promoted to Acting Governing Governor but, during the seventh series of the show, Fenner was murdered by Julie J. This, however, was not the first assassination attempt made towards Jim by the other inmates.
Jack Ellis – Now
Jack Ellis’ most prominent TV role, other than in Bad Girls, was playing Detective Inspector Muddyman in Prime Suspect. He has also appeared in Heartbeat, Highlander: The Series, Inspector Morse, Lewis, and Where the Heart Is.
In 2007, Ellis was cast to play betting shop owner Harry Mason on Coronation Street. As well as television, Ellis has had many theatre performances, including staring as Hastings in William Shakespeare’s Richard III, Great Expectations which was performed in London’s West End, and, most recently, in Shawshank Redemption.