Oxford Tour...

Exterior con'd, pg 2

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Bridge link between D-wing & G-wing

[015]: On our tour, we have now walked up those security fence steps, and are in the space which would have been between the security fence in Bad Girls and the D-Wing (museum) building—a space that we don't ever get to see on the show. These photos show the 'bridge-link' between the Debtors' Tower part of the D-wing museum building, and the gable-end window of G-wing. This is the window that we are familiar with from the stylised opening credits of Bad Girls and in many of the atmospheric shots we see such as in S1 Ep1 [47.59] and S1 Ep8 [45:16-35, composite]. The exterior window that we normally get to see is the one at the opposite end from this one, at the servery end of G-Wing, which is now the Malmaison Restaurant. To the left of both of these shots you can see the rounded end of the D-Wing building—yes, another round end—the first one where we entered was the Round Tower, this one is the Debtors' Tower, and dates back to the 18th century. In those days different categories of prisoner were housed separately, there were even 1st and 2nd class debtors, and they had separate exercise yards. You can just make out the rounded profile of the Debtors' Tower in S3 Ep6 [42:19] behind the Julie's heads.

This bridge-link between the Debtors's Tower and G-Wing replaces a masonry structure which linked the two when Bad Girls was filmed there. Some of our photos were taken at different times, so both shots are of the same spot, but with one slightly different detail: the metal railings on the walkway (photo left) have now been replaced with clear glass/perspex side panels (photo right). So to avoid confusion: if you see metal railings in some other photos here featuring this end-window, please note—the railings are history! The new walkway linking G-wing with the Debtors' Tower means you can now freely walk underneath it, through to the area which would have been Nikki's garden, whereas before Nikki would have had to have been let out through the gate in the security fence at the top of the steps, as well as the gate through the masonry structure joining the two buildings.

[016]: Peering through the gable-end window into the hotel interior, you can make out one of the green cell doors, which are of course now the hotel bedroom doors!

[017]: Peering in the window again... crikey, it's almost as if the location itself encourages bad behaviour! (I even came back a second time for this shot, which makes me a repeat offender.) This time you can see the stairs and landing railings, and also the arched window at the opposite end. You can see something similar in S1 Ep3 [09:32] and S1 Ep8 [42:39]. In this photo the camera lens makes the window at the other end seem very much closer than it actually is.

Gable-end arched window

[018]: The gable-end arched window from under the glass link between the Debtors' Tower and G-wing. They seem to dominate the interior in terms of their size—in S1 Ep7 [28:45] and S1 Ep9 [43:58] for example—but from the outside they are just a fraction of the width of the building, because of course the side bits of the gable-end wall are cells.

View from the Debtors' Tower bridge-link towards St George's Tower

[019]: Standing on the bridge link between G-wing and the Debtors' Tower, this is the view down the exercise yard side of D-wing towards the St George's Tower. In Bad Girls the security fence would have been just to the left of this photo. The open doorway to the right of the shot leads into the Debtors' Tower. If you look carefully at the stonework surrounding the doorway, you'll notice that it looks different from the rest—this is probably where the old masonry link that joined G-wing to the Debtors' Tower was removed to be replaced by the new, open one that we're standing on. The only time in Bad Girls that we get anything approaching a view of almost the full length of D-wing on this side of the building from this angle is the extremely out-of-focus image we see behind Crystal in S3 Ep13 [26:20].

St George's Tower

[020]: At the opposite end of D-wing from the Debtors' Tower is the eleventh-century St George's Tower, which is the second oldest part of the prison buildings—the Crypt of St George's Chapel below it being the oldest. The stair turret, the part of the tower which bulges out from the rest, which you can see above the blue door, is where the winding stone stairway up to the viewing platform at the top is located. St George's Tower is thought to be the oldest surviving secular building in England.

End of G-wing, Debtors' Tower and D-wing
[021]: We have now moved under the glass bridge-link, past the Debtors' Tower and G-wing to the garden side of the complex. Now to relate the garden area to where we've just come from, this shows a bit of the end of G-wing (on the rear side of the building from the exercise yard) and the Debtors' Tower with the glass/perspex bridge-link, from the garden side. This photo shows the transition between the two buildings—the G-wing building on the left and the D-wing (garden side) building on the right—with the glass link between the two buildings and part of the eleventh-century St George's Tower at the top right of the shot.

We do occasionally get a glimpse of the masonry link between G-Wing and the D-Wing building in Bad Girls from the garden side, the best view probably being in S3 Ep15 [43:38] where we also get a clear view of the gate and door that links through to the exercise yard security fence side of the wing. This is also where the bins were located—against the gable-end of G-Wing on the garden side, as we can see in this Bad Girls scene. So this is where all the scenes with Josh chatting up Crystal while she was emptying her slops into the bins, and the Julies finding Tinkerbell took place. There were also originally one or two large trees planted between these two buildings, and you can see some of the foliage at the top of the frame of the screenshot. On one occasion we see Dominic on his way to the gateway in the link in S2 Ep8 [00:41]. And if you view the preceding sequence it will give you a better idea of this area between the two wings as it was before all the structural changes were made. In S1 Ep6 [02:31] we see Helen heading off past this end of G-wing clearly on her way to the gateway in the link. Whether or not there was a direct link between the original two wings in Oxford prison at ground level, I am not sure—there may just have been the gate through to the other side of the wing, but the two wings clearly were linked by this masonry structure on the floor above this, as is evident from the Extras feature on the S1 DVDs—Documentary: Bad Girls in Oxford [13:56] where you can clearly see the doorway leading from the area to the left of the arched gable-end window.

G-wing gable, Debtors' Tower, D-wing & St George's Tower

[022]: This photo shows the full length of the garden side of D-wing/St George's Tower building (now the museum). As you can see, not a blade of grass or a pansy in sight—not even a potting shed! The G-wing gable-end window is on the left of the shot, the round Debtors' Tower in the centre and St George's Tower to the right.

We see this garden side of D-wing quite frequently in Bad Girls and in the sequence preceding and after S3 Ep11 [07:41] we get perhaps the most comprehensive view of it. The new part of the building—the "Unlocked" museum entrance and shop—is to the lower right of the shot, and the edge of its roof overhang is situated where that low rectangular grey building in the Bad Girls garden was, which we see in S1 Ep9 [14:24]. Nikki's shed would have been further to the right, just out of frame of this photo, and closer to the boundary wall, as would the area where Sean burnt his suit. The spot where Sean burnt his suit would be more or less to the right of the advertising sandwich board in the photo—so in reality there is no way that the women would have been able to see him from any window on G-Wing; the shot of him burning his suit would have been taken from the window of an entirely different building. The wall surrounding the garden, as seen in S2 Ep12 [00:30] is in fact the outer perimeter wall of the prison. This would explain why it was so easy for Zandra's drugs and Shell's phone to be thrown over the wall into the garden.


[023]: A more recognisable view of the D-wing building that we are familiar with from many of the garden scenes. You'll recognise this wall of D-wing as the wall that has plants along it in Nikki's garden. You can see it in S1 Ep9 [14:31] and if you look closely at this photo, you'll notice that the little ground floor window arch on the extreme right of the shot is bricked in. The low rectangular grey building in Nikki's garden joined onto the D-Wing building at this point. To the left of it is the small half-moon window, and the next two longer arched windows to the left of that.

Continuing our window sequence, in S2 Ep12 [01:26] you can see (from right to left) part of the the larger arched window, then the filled-in arch, and to the left of that the gated green door. (To see the final part of the D-wing sequence—which is out of frame to the left of this photo, you'll need to look at S2 Ep 10 [11:07] and you'll see the section from the gated green door to the end of the Debtors' Tower.)

'Hospital-wing', garden end of G-wing, Debtors' Tower & D-wing

[024]: This is the view from what would have been the garden, looking back towards G-Wing with D-wing to the right, the Debtors' Tower in the centre, the gable end of G-wing to the left of it, and the building which in Bad Girls featured as the 'hospital wing'—when Dominic told Helen in Series 2 that Zandra was on the hospital wing roof, to the left of that.

This whole area has changed substantially from when Bad Girls was filmed there, and besides the large trees, there appear to have been maybe two additional structures in place that would have obscured the view which we have in this photo. The one closest to us would have been the less obvious one, possibly a temporary structure just behind where the group of people are standing, directly between the Debtors' Tower and G-Wing. This can be seen behind Pam Jolly in S3 Ep6 [25:23]—you can see where it is in relation to the Debtors' Tower. We get a clearer view of it at [26:41] behind Di and Josh. The more obvious building that we see more frequently is the low, grey block structure which would have been more or less where the patch of grass is in this photo. We encounter this building on numerous occasions, from various angles, including from the archway at the lower left of the 'hospital wing' building in S2 Ep1 [29:09], looking towards the garden. From that shot we can see that the building is also partially surrounded by a low wall.

'Hospital-wing' and garden end of G-wing

[025]: Here we have turned slightly left to see part of the gable-end window of G-Wing and that bridge-link between the two structures again. This is the end of G-Wing and the rear side of that section of the long exercise yard façade. It is probably from one of these 'G2' windows near the gable-end that the women were supposed to be watching Sean burn his suit, but as you can see, they would not have been able to see that particular part of the garden from that angle, as that area would have been further back and to the right of where I am standing for this photo. If you have a look at S2 Ep8 [00:18] you'll see Dominic having to walk around the grey block building that was situated where the grassy patch is now, the white archway is at the extreme left of the shot, above the half wall surrounding the grey block structure. Behind Dom's head is the window to the right of the archway, and to his right is the white railing around the base of G-Wing. There is perhaps a more complete view of this archway, window, railing sequence in S2 Ep6 (19:45-19:49).

[026]: This is looking down into the area which is behind the white fence in the previous photo. It is below ground level and if you notice the handrail extending upwards, this is where Dominic runs up the stairs in S2 Ep12 [05:28] into the yard to ask Nikki, who is pushing her usual pansy-filled wheelbarrow along the pathway, if she has seen anyone from Works.

Something else to notice is the little windows. There are corresponding windows on the other half of the G-wing block, on the entrance courtyard side of the building, but these, too, are similar to the windows that appear in the external shot in S2 Ep2 [26.55]; that sequence leads into the scenes with Nikki down the block after she's hit Dominic and prior to her little contretemps with Helen. Note that the horizontal bars on the windows closest to us have been removed—you can see the one at the very end still has them, and the window looks very much like the windows in that shot. (There aren't any pipes along the ground anymore though.) These particular windows with their bars still intact are to be seen in S1 Ep6 [02:28].




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