Charlie’s Angels TV series: Bouncy leading ladies, flicked hair, skimpy outfits
Last updated at 12:44 AM on 26th November 2011
Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy… and were each assigned very hazardous duties. They had to run after criminals wearing unsupported halterneck tops and respond to orders given by a disembodied voice.
Charlie’s Angels was the show that gave us Farrah Fawcett, the flick hairdo and the highly un-PC concept of ‘Jiggle TV’. It may have aired for only five seasons in the 70s and 80s but it spawned video games, comics and two hit movies starring Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz.
And now, 30 years on, it returns to the small screen in an all-new series that blends crime- solving and hair-tossing like no other show.
Poster girl: Farrah Fawcett was by far the most popular of the Angels. The risqu photograph of her wearing a red swimsuit became the biggest selling poster of all time more than 12 million were sold
Launched in 1976, the show starred Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith as three young cops, Jill, Sabrina and Kelly, who quit the force to become private detectives working for their unseen boss Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe, who went on to star as Dynasty’s Blake Carrington).
Charlie’s Angels became a worldwide phenomenon thanks to its combination of sleuthing, stars who resembled swimsuit models, and fabulous outfits.
For years there were attempts to resurrect the franchise, including doomed 80s version Angels ’89, featuring Tea Leoni. But it wasn’t until original executive producer Leonard Goldberg got involved that the new series came about.
After a tough childhood she became
one of the police’s youngest detectives, but took bribes and became a
drug addict. Saved by Charlie, she’s valued for her vast knowledge of
Her privileged upbringing destroyed
when her financier father was exposed as a swindler, Abby became a
safe-cracker – but joined the Angels after a spell in jail.
Raised by her uncle after the death
of her parents when she was only five, Eve joined a gang of car thieves
in her teens until a crash left her facing jail for manslaughter. The
Angels’ newest recruit.
‘We did the original series and thought
that was it,’ he says. ‘But after the movies with Drew Barrymore were so
successful, Sony called and said, “How about doing a new Charlie’s Angels TV show?”’
Both Barrymore and 77-year-old Goldberg
act as executive producers on the new version, which shifts the action
from Los Angeles to Miami and features three new stars who have been
transformed from criminals to crime-busters. The Brunette, formerly
played by Jaclyn Smith, is now called Eve French (played by Minka
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Kate Jackson (Sabrina Duncan)
Left the line-up after three seasons and went on to star in the popular 80s spy series Scarecrow And Mrs King. Now 63, she does a lot of work for breast cancer awareness, having beaten the disease twice.
Jaclyn Smith (Kelly Garrett)
The only Angel to last for five series, Jaclyn, 66, later won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in a TV miniseries and has her own clothes, perfume and home furnishings ranges.
Farrah Fawcett (Jill Munroe)
Her success on the show destroyed her marriage to Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors and led to a 4.5m lawsuit against her when she left the show after one series. She died of cancer in 2009, aged 62.
Cheryl Ladd (Kris Munroe)
When Fawcett left the show, Ladd, 60, took over as her bikiniwearing sister and lasted for four seasons. She has recently appeared on TV
series CSI Miami, NCIS and Las Vegas.
Tanya Roberts (Julie Rogers)
She played a Bond Girl in A View To A Kill in 1985 and, now 56, stars in women’s soccer film Queens Of The World.
The Blonde, played by Farrah Fawcett, has been replaced by Abby Sampson (Grey’s Anatomy’s Rachael Taylor), while The Smart One, formerly Kate Jackson’s character, is now Kate Prince (Annie Ilonzeh).
They’re gathered together by Charlie (voiced by Victor Garber) and are overseen by John Bosley – now a muscular computer hacker played by The Wire’s Ramon Rodriguez.
Rachael Taylor says the new show is best described as ‘a cross between 24 and Sex And The City’. Says writer Al Gough,
‘We wanted to make these women feel real and give them back stories. The show’s really about Charlie giving them a second chance; it’s about a kind of redemption.’
The original series was memorably labelled ‘Jiggle TV’ due to the bralessness of its three beautiful leads.
Even Farrah Fawcett remarked, ‘When the show was number three in the ratings, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wore a bra.’
This being the 21st century, the new Angels have brains and biceps as well as beauty.
‘They also have to be warm, real, smart and powerful,’ says Gough. Despite that, the new series was cancelled in the US after just one eight-episode season.
When the original Charlie’s Angels was on its last legs, the show’s makers came up with a spin-off idea featuring a widow who ran a detective agency with three male hunks – the exact reverse of the Angels concept. Maybe the producers should give this idea another go.
Charlie’s Angels, E4, Wednesday, 8pm.
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