Who knew tennis star Greg Rusedski was a fan of women prisoners? Or maybe it’s just “bad girls” in general he fancies? The former British Number Two (and his wife Lucy – so he remained on good behaviour) broke into the West End premiere of Bad Girls - The Musical, the stage adaptation of the long-running ITV drama which opened at the Garrick Theatre Thursday (13 September 2007, following a press night on 12 September and previews from 16 August).

Rather more expectedly, amongst the other guests at the glitzy opening were stars of the original series Victoria Alcock, Alicia Eyo, Claire King, Nicola Stapleton, Melanie Cameron and Wendi Peters as well as Zoe Lucker, Susie Amy, Sarah Barrand and Jamie Davis from Footballers’ Wives, which was written by the same team.

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The Bad Girls television drama, set in the fictional HMP Larkhall, ran on ITV for eight series from 1999 to 2006. The musical, written by the creators of the television series and first seen in July 2006 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, is based around some of the core characters from season one.

In it, idealistic new Wing Governor Helen Stewart tries to make improvements on G Wing, but old guard officers, including Jim Fenner and his sidekick Sylvia Hollamby, stand in her way. A death on the ward leads to an angry protest which also forces Stewart and her love interest inmate Nikki Wade onto their opposite sides of the bars. Other featured inmate characters include Shell Dockley and her runner Denny Blood, the Two Julies, and the top dog and missus to the king of gangland, Yvonne Atkins.

Helen Fraser recreates her screen role as Sylvia ‘Bodybag’ Hollamby on stage in a cast that also features Sally Dexter, Nicole Faraday, David Burt, Laura Rogers, Julie Jupp, Amanda Posener, Caroline Head, Rebecca Wheatley and Chris Grierson.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for arrivals and the curtain call at the Garrick Theatre and at the post-show party at Sugar Reef along with the Bad Girls - The Musical company and other first night guests including Brian Park (producer of the original TV series), Prunella Scales, Michael Barrymore, Danielle Lloyd, Brenda Edwards, Sheridan Smith, Ingrid Tarrant, Rudolph Walker, Angela Wynter, Tracy Brabin (EastEnders), Janet Ellis (Blue Peter), Christopher Biggins, Kate O'Mara, Claire Goose (Waking the Dead), Jesse Birdsall (Bugs), Janet Ellis (Blue Peter), director Christopher Malcolm, Amanda Barrie (Coronation Street), Georgina Bouzova (Casualty) and Liberty X’s Kelli Young.

Bad Girls - The Musical has a book by Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus with music and lyrics by Kath Gotts. Its songs include “All Banged Up”, “Jailcraft”, “The A-List”, “One Moment”, “The Baddest and the Best” and “Freedom Road”. The production is directed by Maggie Norris, who also helmed it in Leeds, and designed by Colin Richmond, with lighting by Tim Mitchell, orchestrations by Martin Koch and choreography by Anne Yee.

- by Terri Paddock