Babes In The Wood. Image shows from L to R: Leigh (Denise Van Outen), Caralyn (Natalie Walter). Image credit: Lucky Dog.

Babes In The Wood

A peek into the steamy lives of three young women who share a flat in London, and their neighbour Charlie, a middle-aged divorcee

1998 - 1999  (ITV)
14 (2 series)
Karl Howman, Denise Van Outen, Natalie Walter, Samantha Janus, Madeleine Curtis, Mark Hayford
Geoffrey Deane
Lucky Dog
& Chrysalis

Babes In The Wood focuses on dumb-and-ditzy Caralyn, laddish and up-front Leigh, and their flatmate; the slightly quiet and reserved Ruth (Series 1), and snobbish wannabe model Frankie in Series 2.

They are good friends - although sometimes a little reluctantly - with their neighbour, middle-aged divorcee and part-time womaniser Charlie. All four spend much of their time at local cosmopolitan wine bar Bar Coda, managed by ex-public schoolboy Benito.

Our Review: Although perhaps a little clich├ęd in places, Babes In The Wood was largely a warm, friendly sitcom. Caralyn often pushed the realms of believability with her dim-witted nature, but her innocence contrasted fairly well with Leigh's ladette qualities and, in Series 1, Ruth's slightly reserved nature, and in Series 2 Frankie's snobbish leanings. There were some inconsistencies at times, but nothing of particular detriment to the humour.

The passage of time hasn't been particularly kind to Babes In The Wood. When broadcast it received a mixed reaction from the public and a broadly hostile one from professional critics. Whilst it's certainly true that the series played it safe, not breaking any new ground, it's key to appreciate that it didn't try to and fail. It knew what it was right from the start and stuck to it.

All in all, not a great sitcom even by ITV's standards, but certainly not as bad as many modern commentators may have you believe.