“Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy….but I took them away from all that…my name is Charlie” so spake the opening lines of Charlie’s Angels each week. Charlie’s Angels practically invented “jiggle tv” (i.e. lots of running around in skimpy costumes and no bras and as such the show was very popular with the male viewing public, especially as the girls were all gorgeous).
The show concerned a trio of sexy private detectives working for the Charles Townsend Detective Agency, helped by Charlie’s right hand man John Bosley, most of the girls cases involved them going undercover, the original trio were Kelly, Jill and Sabrina but after the first season Farrah Fawcett-Majors who played Jill left the show because she wanted to build a film career capitalising on the enormous popularity she had garnered thanks to her role in the show. A famous poster of Farrah in a swimsuit was a must have wall adornment for much of the seventies, it even appeared in Saturday Night Fever.
The shows producers were none too happy about this of course and took Farrah to court with the result that she appeared in occasional episodes (six in total) over the following three seasons. A new regular arrived in the form of Jill’s sister Kris (who in fact stayed till the end).
But the show never really recovered from the loss of Sabrina, after Kate Jackson left the show continued for two more seasons (with a different girl making up the trio each season – these were Tiffany Welles and finally Julie Rogers).
Charles Townsend never actually appeared but was heard over the office intercom every episode, he would, however, make an occasional sort of appearance where you would see the back of his head or something as he sunned himself on some tropical beach attended to by assorted dusky maidens.
The late 1990’s saw a couple of explosive big screen revivals of the series with Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz whilst the less said about the lacklustre 2011 TV reboot the better.
USA / ABC/ x60m-e / Wednesday 22 September 1976 – Wednesday 19 August 1981
JACLYN SMITH as Kelly Garrett
KATE JACKSON as Sabrina Duncan 91976-79)
FARRAH FAWCETT-MAJORS as Jill Munroe (1976-77)
CHERYL LADD as Kris Munroe (1977-81)
SHELLEY HACK as Tiffany Welles (1979-80)
TANYA ROBERTS as Julie Rogers (1980-81)
DAVID DOYLE as John Bosley
JOHN FORSYTHE as Charlie Townsend (voice only)