Bad Girls - The Musical, the stage adaptation of the long-running ITV drama, broke into the West End last night (13 September 2007, following a press night on 12 September and previews from 16 August) with a star-studded opening gala at the Garrick Theatre.

The 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.

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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.

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.

For Whatsonstage.com TV, we were on hand for the curtain call of Bad Girls - The Musical at the Garrick Theatre and the post-show party at Sugar Reef. Amongst our TV interviewees are cast members Helen Fraser, Sally Dexter and Nicole Faraday, director Maggie Norris, composer/lyricist Kath Gotts, producer Tristan Baker, producer of the original TV series Brian Park and other first night guests including Prunella Scales, Nicola Stapleton, Amanda Barrie and Janet Ellis.

Other celebrities on hand for last night’s opening gala were Rudolph Walker, Angela Wynter, Tracy Brabin, Christopher Biggins, Michael Barrymore, Kate O'Mara, Claire Goose, Danielle Lloyd, Greg Rusedski, Brenda Edwards, Sheridan Smith, Ingrid Tarrant, Zoe Lucker, Susie Amy, Sarah Barrand, Jamie Davis, Victoria Alcock, Alicia Eyo, Claire King, Melanie Cameron and Wendi Peters.

- by Terri Paddock

** Don’t miss our Whatsonstage.com Outing to Bad Girls The Musical – including a FREE programme & FREE drink at our post-show cast reception – click here to book now! **