Top 11 highlights of episode one
1 – The return of such edifying dialogue as – “Your tea tastes of piss.” “Then piss off” and “I’m gonna pissing well crucify you.”
2 – The return of Tina ‘I’m an arsonist now’ O’Kane after starting a fire at Urban Woman, a store they purveys the most flammable clothes ever. Tina was so delighted to return to Larkhall that she thanked the prison van driver as if he was a cabbie dropping her off at a restaurant.
3 – The montage of Jim Fenner’s greatest hits – the hits he dished out and the hits he received
4 – Phyl’s makeover to the sound of Keep Young And Beautiful. She wanted to look like Cameron Diaz but ended up looking very much like that Alma Baldwin off Corrie or, more scarily, that Amanda Barrie off Hell’s Kitchen.
5 – Jim Fenner pleads with the nonce-haters for mercy – “I was always a friend to the cons” – but they ignore him and he gets molested by a mop.
6 – After the Costa Cons say nice things about the cut of Neil’s suit, he has the temerity to call them “our senior citizens.”
7 – Nicola Stapleton turning up as spiteful little Janine who has got it in for her ex-friend Arum who couldn’t sin by lying under oath – but was quite happy to get involved in a credit card scam
8 – Sylvia being spooked by the voodoo doll – “my gippy neck’s come back” – and being told to lose two stone by the uncaring Dr Nicholson. (We were disappointed we hat to wait until near the end of part three for Sylvia to utter those immortal words “My Bobby”)
9 – Natalie ‘she may be a slut but she’s a psycho slut’ Buxton describes Tina O’Kane as a “thick little fatty” and stabs newcomer Janine in the eye just to show she’s top dog on G Wing now.
10 – Governor Neil Grayling’s enlightened ” a flagship for change” policy gets dubbed by Sylvia ‘Bodybag’ Hollamby as “touchy feely prison wardering”. But reformed smackhead Colin Hedges was more supportive: “It’s about time we moved out of the Dark Ages.”
11 – Ben ‘I was getting shagged dry in there’ Phillips/Hennessy being set up by Fenner to take the rap for the hit-and-run killing he committed, leaving Fenner to return to his wicked ways on the wing.
Top 7 highlights of episode two
1 – Di donning a sexy leopardskin print nightie with a massive black heart on the back, armed with her predictor kit. “Let’s make a little Jim Junior.” When Jim can’t get it up, she pops off to the “sex shop near the arcade” (oh that one) to get a manual and some “dangly things”. Jim still fails to get it up. “I’d rather shag a dry stone wall.”
We do hope that Di is less gullible than she looks and she’s kept hold of some of the evidence from the lock-up shrine to Karen Betts and will produce it to vanquish the foe Fenner eventually.
2 – Sylvia’s limp. Sylvia’s joy at inheriting a £2.2m Hampstead mansion. Sylvia’s joy at being romanced by evil Dr Nicholson (including a bit of illicit footsie) who only loves her for her money. The pig-faced doc is fast becoming our favourite character. When dealing with Janine, who had her eye poked by Nasty Natalie, he really turned on that charmless bedside manner: “You only need one eye to see your way to the workroom.”
3 – Bev and Phyl convince Sylvia she needs to drink her own urine four times a day to lift the voodoo curse . “I can barely bare to choke it down once a day,” complained Sylvia.
4 – Bev and Phyl replacing The Two Julies in the canteen on the strength of organising “soirees for the expat community.”
5 – Touchy feely Neil’s decision to provide more worthy work for the inmates. He bans the thankless task of sewing shrouds. “From now on, the women will be making novelty candles.”
6 – Campest dialogue of the week: Bev – “You lived with a witch doctor, didn’t you?” Phyl – “So he said. He had a magic wand at any rate.”
7 – Nasty Natalie being nasty. We especially loved her latest insults for Tina (“lardarse” and “gobby fat bitch”) and the lovely present she gave Janine The Grass – an eyeball
Top 5 highlights of episode 3
1 – Paul Henry’s appearance. The dim but cuddly Benny from Crossroads is now the dim but sleazy Frank the baker’s man, falling for Phyl’s sweet talk (“You’re a knight in shining… well, a white van.”) and treating her to eclairs and donuts in the hope he’ll get a grope. The cakes then got passed to dumpy Denise from D Wing who works in the officers’ bar in exchange for gin.
2 – Di falling for Jim’s latest sob story (“I was raped. I didn’t want you thinking I was some sort of poof. The latest thing I need to do is talk to come do-gooder about being shafted.”) but then going on the warpath when she found out what he was doing with Nasty Natalie in the library (inserting a bookmark, as it were). Full marks, though, for the clout that Di dished out to Natalie.
3 – Darlene, who has been in the shadows of Nasty Natalie, getting back to the levels of stroppiness we loved in the last series. “You best tough up your bad self,” she told Janine. “I tried to take on Natalie. She licked me down to my ass.” (We think that’s what she said. You never can tell with Darlene’s comedy accent.
4 – Property millionairess Sylvia being almost as gullible as Di. “Oh Malcolm,” she swooned as the devious pig-faced doctor (aka “passionate man”) got a mate to make off with all the valuables from her newly inherited Hampstead home. Stupid Sylvia was delighted to get rid of a valuable painting of three naked women (“I have to look at enough naked women at work”) and, being a total philistine, told Malcolm: “I’ve got a very nice print to go in that place: Sunset In Torremolinos. I got it in 1974. In a few more years, it’ll be worth something.” Stupid Sylvia was also delighted when Malcolm proposed, with a £29.99 ring he bought from a pawnbroker.
5 – Arum trying to become the latest temptress to seduce Jim after getting a nasty beating in the library from That Cow Janine.
Top 5 highlights of episode 4
1 – The storyline involving Laura Canning – “it’s the girl off the news.” The mother-murdering teenager (she stabbed her 27 times) was greeted upon her arrival at Larkhall by a baying, bannered-up mob (presumably there were no paedophiles around to shout at that day). Sylvia turned on her usual welcoming charm – clucking with disapproval as she processed the “vicious psychopath”. Janine also gave Laura a hard time, until being spooked by Laura’s sketchbook containing drawings that Janine described as “like somefink out of Silence Of The Lambs” but we were not allowed to glimpse.
However, officer Colin Hedges, the one who was a smackhead in the last series but is now a saint, showed her compassion and managed to get her to reveal where she had imprisoned her bullying sister. Sadly for Colin, Laura jumped to her death in front of him, so maybe he should have just kept his head down like all the other Larkhall screws.
2 – The Two Julies running their Highlights For Lowlifes beauty salon where they gave Natalie some Dynasty-era big hair and left Darlene bald (after a few hours as “Tina Turner on stilts”)
3 – Sylvia’s seduction of pig-faced doctor Malcolm. She’d dabbed on the Moonlight Roses scent, made him a lovely lamb casserole and then writhed around in front of the devious doctor before grabbing the bewildered man and tangoing with him up the stairs to her bedroom. They deserve each other.
4 – Sylvia welcomes Di back after her suspension for smacking Natalie. “A slap is what more of them out there could do with.”
5 – Bev seducing Frank the baker’s man (Paul ‘Crossroads’ Henry) by licking cream off her fingers.
Highlights of Bad Girls: episode 5
• Nun/none of the clichés were left out when Larkhall saw the arrival of Sister Thomas More, a Hail Marying, blind-curing, self flagellating, God-bothering , Kumbaya-singing embezzler.
• Sister Thomas More’s warm welcome from Sylvia. “Been stealing from the little black babies? You can stand there looking all saintly with your rosary and that get-up but you’re worse than a common little thief, using God to cover up your crimes.”
• Sister Thomas More’s warm welcome from Natalie – a slap round the face, a few punches and a knee in the stomach – just because Natalie was taught by nasty nuns as a kid. “They’re all dykes. That’s why you lock yourself away from men your whole life with a lifetime’s supply of candles to keep you company. You dress up like a penguin and tell everyone you’re married to Jesus.”
• Sister Thomas More’s Inability to remember Sylvia’s surname. Holloway, Hoolihan, Huckaway, Holliday…
• Sylvia’s sickening display with her intended Dr Malcolm. “I can’t get used to being chauffeured to work by my fiancé,” she purred before locking her lips to his petrified piggy face.
• Di’s make-up in one scene made her look like a glamour model – but she was soon back to that famous poisonous dwarf look we love.
• Phyl and Bev being caught with a cake and having to pretend they’d made it to celebrate Sylvia’s wedding – and then having to gather it up again when Sylvia distributed it among the cons
• This week’s winner of the most unedifying line. “I’ve shat cleverer slags than you,” Fenner told Natalie, “and wiped my arse with them afterwards.”
• Di’s revenge on naughty Natalie – planting the scissors in her cell after stealing them from the “beauty” parlour
Highlights of Bad Girls: episode 6
• New inmate Pat Kerrigan – a possible successor to Yvonne Atkins as a hard-as-nails-but-with-a-heart top dog. When deprived of food, she told the screws: “Low blood sugar makes me irritable. You could ask my ex-boyfriend but I don’t suppose you’ve got a medium on call.”
• Sylvia Violet Hollamby’s sky blue nightie (possibly wincyette, but we’re no experts on the attire of elderly ladies)
• Sylvia’s explanation of why her daughters won’t be attending her wedding. “Gail’s just had a hysterectomy” and she’s fallen out with Constance “after I gave her youngest a smacked bottom.” But son Bobby Darren did show up, trying to squeeze cash from his mother and then trying to squeeze Neil Grayling’s dick inside him when the pair ended up in bed together. (Neil’s gaydar flashed when Bobby Darren revealed he managed a store’s soft furnishings department).
• Pig-faced hubby Malcolm’s barefaced lies to Sylvia the Sucker. “If we had to live in a caravan, I’d still be the luckiest man in the world,” he told her, in his slimy manner.
• Fenner’s smug look when he realised gold-digger Malcolm was blundering into marriage, not realising that Sylvia had sacrificed her riches in order to get wed.
• “If I get done, those knickers come out of hiding.” – Natalie’s warning to Fenner.
• The drama of the Sister Thomas More/Father Kelly child abuse storyline in which the nasty nun was held hostage and stripped by vengeful Pat and the pervy priest was headbutted by Colin Hedges. The nun struggled to show remorse, telling Pat: “Your sins will devour you and the devil will claim you like he did to your little whore of a friend.”
• Arum’s beard
Highlights of Bad Girls: episode 7
• Di getting frisky with Fenner and then furious when he blew their chances of adoption then all gooey when she met baby Dylan
• Hard but caring Pat coming to the rescue of Arum after the transsexual had come under a barrage of insults eg lying perv bastard, man bitch, shim, sick hairy arse, pervert scum.
• The showdown between blackbelt top dog Natalie and Pat with the Two Julies as referee. Natalie took an early advantage but good won out against evil, so Pat’s the mummy now.
Highlights of Bad Girls : episode 8
• The marriage from hell (Evil Jim and Dotty Di) going from bad to worse when she got her hands on baby Dylan. “The kid comes into my house over my dead body,” ultimatumed Jim, hours before spending a restless night with the kid crying and Di fretting.
• Di setting up Dylan’s mum, reformed druggie Sheena, so she can keep the kid. “She won’t get that early release now. Tragedy,” said deadpan Di when the drugs she’d planted on the poor girl were uncovered.
• Creepy Kevin Spiers. What’s the hidden agenda of Larkhall’s superscrew?
• Neil getting a bouquet of flowers from Sylvia’s son Bobby Darren after shagging him on the night of Sylvia’s wedding
• Jim’s nightmare, brought to the screen as if it was a Prodigy video
• The Two Julies are heartbroken to be assigned back to the kitchen after running their salon. “I know we’re not Toni and Guy, but but it’s a step up from skivvying.”
• Natalie’s ultimatum to Fenner (the sort of thing you only ever hear in Bad Girls): “I get the trip and you get the knickers. Or else Grayling gets the knickers and you get the chop.”
• Janine’s opening line to her novel: “It was a hot day and Janine wished she’d left her coat at home.” Darlene hated it and tried to get Janine to write about love in Jamaica in 1999 instead.
• Janine’s AC/DC T-shirt; little Julie’s retro specs.
• Fenner’s scary face when he found the evidence against him that Di had hidden under the floorboards
Highlights of Bad Girls : episode 9
• Jim Fenner’s most evil episode ever (well, since he locked Yvonne Atkins in the hanging cell where she died after four days of clawing at the door).
• As Di looked at the burnt blonde wig that she’d been keeping so she had something on Fenner, he taunted her cruelly. “I had a vasectomy. That’s how seriously sick of you I am.”
• Later, Fenner smashed Di across his office. “You’ve no idea what I’m capable of. If I say I’m gonna kill you, you’d better bloody believe it.”
• Later, Fenner beat up Natalie, once he’d got his hands on those incriminating knickers
• Phyl and Bev’s barefaced lying to escape punishment for getting drunk. “We had absolutely no idea what we were drinking,” Phyl told governor Neil. “We were about to see a nun cut from ear to ear before our very eyes,” Bev offered in mitigation.
• Tina’s walk when she got stroppy about being ripped off in the cakes-for-booze scam
• The cartoon boing sound when Bev clouted baker man Frank to stop him raping Phyl who, he felt, should have let him shag her in return for coconut macaroons.
• Phyl and Bev’s escape, propping an unconscious Frank in the driver’s seat of his van but manipulating the controls themselves and even managing to get him to wave to the guard on the prison gates as they drove away
• Tina wrapped in clingfilm
• Malcolm swallowing Viagra and muttering “think of the money” before consummating his marriage to Sylvia
• Phyl and Bev’s luck and lucklessness at the Hotel Americana. They turned up and begged an old porter friend to provide them with a room for free – he gave them a suite. But the suite was right next to Sylvia’s honeymoon suite. But the safe did contain diamonds and a gun. But the Russian criminal who had stolen the gems was tortured Reservoir Dogs-style to reveal the whereabouts of the horde.
• Malcolm’s reaction when Sylvia told him she’d been disinherited by marrying. “Lying, conniving bitch,” the pig-faced doctor shouted, before turning on that smarmy charm. “Oh Malcolm,” Sylvia purred, “I bagged myself quite a man in you.” She wasn’t so pleased, though, when his mood changed again and he gagged her on her tights and prepared her for a lethal injection. “To think, I put up with your whining, chattering, your pawing. For what?!”
• Phyl and Bev saving Sylvia’s life. Larkhall would not be the same without Bodybag.
• Phyl escaping again and riding off, clad in leather, on a motorbike – while Bev was nabbed when she dropped the stolen diamonds
Highlights of Bad Girls : episode 10
• The classic build-up to the Who Killed Jim Fenner? storyline in which everyone got to bear a grudge against the evil bastard and to vow that they’d put an end to his terror. Pity, then, that almost everyone ended up with an alibi by being at the memorial service for Yvonne Atkins when the deed was done.
• The decent pastiche of a horror movie in which Fenner died amid creepy music and among burning candles, in a cobwebby cell, in front of Yvonne’s photographs and bloody scratchmarks, convulsing wildly from the knife plunged into his throat.
• Di to her colleagues – “On a final note, I’d like to be known as Miss Barker again. The name Fenner sticks in my throat.”
• Fenner being hit by a bread roll – the best bread roll attack we’ve seen on TV since Grange Hill in the 1980s.
• Neil claims that Phyl and Bev are ruthless prisoners. “They’re old age pensioners,” said the unsmiling chairman of the board as he suspended the governing governor for letting the Costa Cons escape.
• The Sheena/Pat love story, drawn out as if Barbara Cartland had been dug up and brought in to write the script
• Fenner to Sheena – “A junkie lezza like you isn’t fit to be a mother.”
• Fenner to Neil – “You’re finished. Better start praying to the patron saint of poofs.”
• The Fenner/Neil fisticuffs. Like the wrestling scene from A Woman In Love except they weren’t naked and there was no blazing fire.
• Di allowing Pat to smuggle an arrow up her sleeve, knowing that it may well be bound for Fenner’s chest
• Natalie biting Bev.
• Sylvia upsets the world’s male population by declaring: “I’m finished with men for ever. The barricades are well and truly up.”
• Sylvia tossing Malcolm’s ring in the gutter when she discovers it’s cubic zirconium and worth just a tenner. It’s strange to be sympathising with old Bodybag after years of hating her with irrational intensity.
• Kevin Spiers developing as the Mr Nasty for the next series. “You’re not clever enough to get one over on me,” he told Fenner. “Consider yourself dead,” Fenner replied – which turned out to be a hollow threat.
• Phyl munching on a fat sausage as a Spanish barman tried to get into her pants for some Vroom, Vroom.
• Sylvia being generous enough to give Bev a bottle of gin in return for saving her life
• Fenner tries to upset Sylvia by telling her that son Bobby Darren is gay. “Looks like he’s being groomed for Grayling’s favourite bum boy.” Bobby Darren needed no such grooming – he was only too keen to be shagged on Neil’s office desk. “You can be my governing governor any day,” he said in his slimy way, reminding us of Craig’s submissiveness towards AnTHony in the Big Brother house
• Tina’s cheese straws
• Tina’s poem to Yvonne: “Now you are free like a bird and a bee.”
• The foxy chaplain who conducted Yvonne’s memorial service
• The rather pathetic dancing to Yvonne’s favourite song, Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run.
Highlights of Bad Girls : episode 11
• Tony Slattery’s masterful, matter-of-fact performance as DI Hayes, a cop from the black and white 1950s (posh Cockney voice, brusque manner, chain smoking) called in to investigate the murder of Jim Fenner.
• The Who Killed Jim Fenner? Riddle. Almost everyone was a suspect, although Di topped the list, having been caught scrawling “Die Bastard” on Fenner’s car and because she was the one who found the body in the hanging cell.
• Di’s look of horror when she realised she could go down for murder. She denies to charge but screams: “I hope he’s burning in hell, burning in f**king hell.”
• The What Killed Jim Fenner? Riddle. Darlene’s drugged dart, Di with a knife, Julie S’s poisoned candles, Pat’s sharpened stick? No, it was Julie J’s chard of ice
• Julie S claiming credit for Fenner’s demise. “I did it for Yvonne and little Rachel and Shell and every other woman in here whose life he’s turned to sh*t.”
• Julie S’s distress when she realised her poisoned candles may not have been the cause of death. “It’s just another thing in my life I’ve messed up.”
• Tina – “Do you think it’s a sin to have a wee in church? It’s sod all compared to what some of us have done.”
• Natalie on Di – “She might have married the bastard but she’d have carved him up with a smile on her face.”
• The witty pathologist dealing with Fenner’s corpse. “Let’s turn him over. Turn of the screw, as it were.”
• Sylvia putting on her very poshest voice when being interviewed by the cops. And her desperate attempt to pin the blame on Pat. “She’s been a dirty bomb on a short fuse since she set foot in the place. Wasn’t here five minutes when she was holding a knife to a flaming nun’s throat.”
• New governor Joy Masterton (Ellie Haddington) – a classic northern battleaxe (or a “psycho bitch” according to Phyl) who lays down the law to demoted Neil. “Only place for sugar coating is a cake shop window. As far as I’m concerned, your weak-kneed liberal thinking has turned this place into a BLOODY DISGRACE, haemorrhaging escapees, turning officer against officer and finally ending in murder.”
• Natalie’s eyelashes
• The arty, and rather pretentious, black and white sequence showing Di’s discovery of the body.
• The arty, and rather pretentious, black and white sequence showing how Fenner died at the hands of Julie S and her chard of ice – a weapon that melted before our very eyes. Not original but suitably ridiculous.
Highlights of Bad Girls, episode 12, ITV1, Tuesday
• The governor trying to treat the prisoners like dumb soldiers because they are “ignorant, illiterate, ill-equipped to deal with life on the outside.” That’s rich coming from someone who can’t get the parade ground mentality out of her head. Or, in the words of Darlene Cake: “Dat’s an abuse of our human rights.”
• Sylvia – “Poppycock to that.”
• The lesbian love/lust story got even cornier, with Pat and Sheena getting it on together. But Pat regretted it in the morning.
• Julie J’s mental breakdown in which she thought she was still a prostitute on the streets of East London. The governor’s reaction to the breakdown: “When I have her having a cold shower at five, she’ll be ticketyboo.”
• “Couple of stray cats who can’t be trained not to piddle on the carpet.” – Sylvia’s view of Janine and Darlene
• Nasty Kevin getting a face full of mace after being outthought by Nasty Natalie
• Sylvia swinging her keys as she marches through the wings
• Natalie’s headbutt
• Natalie getting her comeuppance when Pat taped her admission that she was a sex trafficker – and proud of it
• The tearful finale featuring Di (banged up for finishing off Fenner), Julie S (a little upset after getting a beating from best mate Julie J) and Sheena (reunited with lover Pat).
Bad Girls, ITV1, Wednesday 20 December 2006
Did we like it?
We want our Bad Girls to be BAD, not hugging and dancing and being nice just because it’s Christmas so this was a disappointing swansong to the legend that is Larkhall Prison.
What was good about it?
• Sylvia ‘Bodybag’ Hollamby before a visit from the shining white ghost of Nonce Natalie Buxton turned her nice (“I know I can be a narrow-minded old battleaxe,” she then admitted – as if that was a bad thing!). Sylvia’s at her best when she’s snarling out bigotry. Highlight of the show was her reaction to gay son Bobby Darren’s plans to introduce her to his boyfriend. “I don’t know where you get it from,” she spat. “There’s never been anything like it in the family before.”
• “It’s a good thing the Three Wise Men had to make their way to Bethlehem, not Bethnal Green. They’d never have followed the star with these rain clouds.” – Sylvia
• Bev and Phyl making the best of things, nicking the screws’ whisky when they’d rather be “snobbing it up on the Costa del Racket.”
• “There’s less people wan’ing to kill each other in Baghdad than there is round my mum’s at Christmas.” – Donny (aka Sexy Sid Owen)
What was bad about it?
• The plot took lots of liberties, assuming a lack of plumbing knowledge on the part of viewers. Of course, a rotting hand couldn’t suddenly poke out the loo in the ladies and a lavatory pan couldn’t bubble up with blood.
• Lisa ‘Bastard’ Mayford, the dyke from D Wing who ran off with Mandy’s long-term lover Sandy – on the day before Christmas. What a bitch.
• Janine’s predictably early labour (although the scene was saved when Phyl gave Janine a bottle of whisky to swig in lieu of gas and painkillers).
• Listen, they’re playing our song.” – Bobby Darrin’s reaction when YMCA came on the impromptu G Wing festive knees-up – the climax of the episode’s It’s A Wonderful Life-like final act
• The ghost of Nonce Natalie Buxton (“Coppers won’t do you any good, better try Ghostbusters.”) was a real jumping-the-shark moment. Fortunately it came within 20 minutes of the end of the eight-series show. Most other programmes these days seem to jump the shark before the theme song has trailed away.