UK Dopers: "Bad Girls"

I accidentally got hooked on this prison soap opera (they show it on the “gay channel,” Logo). I have some questions:

-Was this popular in the UK?
-Did people take it as camp or serious drama?
-Can women really wear their own clothes in prison?
-Would the “screws” really be more like caring camp counselors than prison guards? Does “personal officer” = counselor of sorts?
-Do prison guards in Britain really not carry guns?

The show is great fun, but I find it a bit cheeseball!

It was popular enough that it became a West End Musical. Never seen it myself though.

Never watched it myself (only vaguely heard of it to be honest), but there’s a thread about the ratings for series 8 at It looks like about 4 million / 30%, which doesn’t sound too bad, although apparently earlier series got up to 9 million, which would have made it a top-ten or -twenty show (top-rated soaps get 8 - 12 million).

Not in English, Welsh or Scottish prisons. Northern Ireland may be different.

ETA I don’t know if you already know this, but our police generally don’t carry guns either.

I watched a season of ‘bad girls’ and thought it was brilliant tv. In fact, it’s probably the last UK drama I watched before giving up on the whole tv-watching experience. I definitely took it as you have, a very camp and OTT production - it’s funny that it’s being shown on the gay channel. I wonder if that’s because there are a lot of lesbians in the show or whether it’s in recognition of the generally gay feel to it. The bent* prison officer in charge (Fenner?) was particularly outrageous.

I would suspect that it is a million miles away from what a real Uk womans prison is like- although I am pretty sure prison officers are not armed.

There is a real camp tradition in a lot of UK soaps/ drama. Coronation St has been running for decades and always struck me as very arch in the same way as bad girls.

*bent as in corrupt, not bent as in gay (UK slang). Although wasn’t he gay as well? I forget.

I know that UK police officers don’t carry guns, but I guess I was more startled that prison guards don’t. In one episode, the screws have to stop a prisoner who is holding the matron hostage with a syringe full of AIDS-infected blood and they use a firehose to stop the inmate.

I’m really enjoying it, though I’ve seen just three episodes.

So it’s like Oz except with females?

I don’t think most prison guards here in the U.S. carry firearms either. At least not the guys who come in regular contact with prisoners.