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Children's Ward
Genre Drama
Written by Paul Abbott
Tony Basgallop
Directed by Steve Finn
Alan Bell
Starring Rita May
Ian McCulloch
Carol Harvey
Andrew Hall
Janette Beverley
Tim Stanley
Ken Parry
Nina Baden-Semper
Ross King
Michael Bray
Judy Holt
Tom Higgins
Margery Bone
Jenny Luckraft
Tim Vincent
Rebecca Sowden
William Ash
Leyla Nejad
Dean Gatiss
Rachel Egan
Paul Swaine
Chris Bisson
Chloe Newsome
Carl Rice
Kieran O'Brien
Mark Dixon
Sarah Cooper
Gilly Coman
Will Mellor
Stephen Graham
Anthony Lewis
Ben Sowden
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 12
No. of episodes 143
Production location(s) Bolton, Greater Manchester, England, UK
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Granada Television
Original network ITV Network (CITV)
Picture format 4:3
Original release 15 March 1989 (1989-03-15) – 4 May 2000 (2000-05-04)

Children's Ward (retitled The Ward from 1995 to 1998) is a British children's television drama series produced by Granada Television and broadcast on the ITV network as part of its Children's ITV strand on weekday afternoons. The programme was set – as the title suggests – in Ward B1, the children's ward of the fictitious South Park Hospital (known as Sparky's), and told the stories of the young patients and the staff present there.

Aimed at older children and teenagers, Children's Ward was a long-lived series for a children's drama, starting life in 1988 as a contribution to the Dramarama anthology strand, "Blackbird Singing In The Dead of Night", then first broadcast as a series in 1989 and running from then until 2000.

Filming location

Filmed at Bolton General Hospital (now the Royal Bolton Hospital), in Bolton, Greater Manchester. Some exterior shots (such as the exterior entrance to the children's hospital) were filmed outside the now demolished Maternity Hospital entrance at the former Withington Hospital, South Manchester.

30 Years of CITV, which aired on ITV1 on 29 December 2012, revealed that interior sets for the hospital were filmed next door to some of the Coronation Street interiors.


These are the original main characters from the first three series. Some lasted several years and appeared in subsequent series.

Character Actor/Actress Occupation Duration Role
Dr. McKeown Ian McCulloch Consultant Paediatrician 1989 Staff
Dr. Charlotte Woods Carol Harvey Originally Houseman to Dr McKeown, later Consultant Paediatrician 1989–1991
Charge Nurse Dave Spencer Andrew Hall Charge Nurse 1989
Sister Diane Meadows Janette Beverley Staff Nurse (1989–1992)
Senior Staff Nurse (1992–1994)
Ward Sister (1996)
1989–1994, 1996
Senior Sister Margaret 'Mags' Davis Rita May Auxiliary Nurse (1989–1993)
Senior Staff Nurse (1993–1995)
Ward Sister (1995–1997)
Senior Ward Sister (1997–1999)
Clinical Matron (1999–2000)
Student Nurse Gary Miller Tim Stanley Student Nurse 1989–1991
Jack Crossley Ken Parry Porter and Sweet Trolley Man 1989–1991
Staff Nurse Jan Stevens Nina Baden-Semper Staff Nurse 1989
Unnamed Character Ross King Hospital Radio DJ 1989
Steve Bailey Michael Bray Social Worker 1989–1991
Sister Sandra Mitchell Judy Holt Staff Nurse (1991)
Senior Staff Nurse (1991–1992)
Acting Deputy Clinical Matron (1992–1993)
Ward Sister (1993–1994)
Dr. Kieran Gallagher Tom Higgins Senior House Officer, Emergency Medicine 1990–1991
Katie Grahams Margery Bone Student Nurse 1990–1991
Keely Johnson Jenny Luckraft Patient (1989)
Play Assistant
Student Nurse
Staff Nurse
1989–1994 Patients
Billy Ryan Tim Vincent 1989–1991
Fiona Brett Rebecca Sowden 1989
Darren Walsh William Ash 1989–1991
Dawn Khatir Leyla Nejad 1989–1990
Mathew McCann Dean Gatiss 1990
Lisa Dixon Rachel Egan 1990
Ian Cassin. Paul Swaine 1998
J.J. Chris Bisson 1990
Thea Chloe Newsome 1990
James Boyce Carl Rice 1990
Lee Jones Kieran O'Brien 1990
Cal Spicer Mark Dixon 1990
Bryony Shaeffer Sarah Cooper 1990
Ben Rowlingson William Mellor 1990
Mickey Bell Stephen Graham 1990
Scott Morris Anthony Lewis 1996–1998

Tie-in publications


Script book

  • Exact title unknown, possibly Children's Ward. Edited by Lawrence Till (contains selected scripts from the series by Paul Abbott, Kay Mellor and John Chambers), published by Heinemann Plays/Oxford in 1992.
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