Simone Lahbib: Helen and Nikki’s Bad Girls story stands the test of time

The storyline still stands the test of time (Photo: ITV)

It was a love story that touched millions of people – the cult prison drama Bad Girls explored many important storylines, but one that stands the test of time is the relationship between Helen Stewart and Nikki Wade.

The couple overcame many obstacles and unlike the portrayal of lesbian relationships on television, there was no cheating and it did not end in death – we have all heard of the depressing trope ” Kill Your Gays’ shows tend to use for emotional impact and shock value, missing the fact that those who are dating or want to go out need positive portrayal.

Simone Lahbib, better known, despite her many roles since, as Hélène admits that at the time, no one on the show realized what legacy the story would have – but she knew from the start that the couple deserved a happy ending and she wanted to see it through.

She told “This is a huge thing we hear from the women who invested in the story. Lots of gay women who followed him, back when they were watching the L Word and so on. Women in long term relationships didn’t feel represented – gay women were always presented as hopping in bed and promiscuous, so it was nice to have a real love affair.

“We didn’t realize at the time how much of an impact the story had made – the first Bad Girls reunion was such a touching event. People have told us their stories face to face. We’ve done other work, but this TV show is just as important to people as ever – and we understand why now. Some people said that the script saved their lives and the young people felt lost, they finally felt represented. There were a lot of tears and emotions and being able to share that was so impactful. I finally really understood why Helen and Nikki were so important to the fans.

And the legacy continues with fans young and old alike attending conventions, sharing their love online, gorging on their box sets and campaigning for a resurrection.

Simone smiles: “The love story element prevailed and there were so many strong characters. It is still after all this time the longest single sex love affair of all time.

Style aside but it stands the test of time! The characters, the stories and the issues that were discussed – that covered a lot of issues related to women in this prison environment. It meant a lot to women and is still attracting new followers now. There is another reunion coming up and one of the TV channels has been broadcasting the series from the start – I wonder if we have influenced this as there is still a clear interest.

While she didn’t realize the fan response due to the lack of social media at the time, Simone knew in her instincts that she wanted – just like Mandana Jones – to finish the story from start to finish. end.

She explained, “I instinctively understood that I had to stay and finish the story. There was a point where Helen might not have returned after the first season, but they brought Helen back in a whole new role.

“It took a few more years to complete the story – I just knew that a happy ending was so important. When you’re in the role, you connect with the story – that was important to me as a person as well. I’m so glad I saw it through to the end.

“I think the story was underestimated at first so I’m glad they’ve seen it through all these years, it means so much to people.”

And Simone has so many fond memories of her time on the show – recent events in Reunion even allowing her to reconnect with Mandana and build what she believes to be an even stronger friendship than she originally did.

“The cast that made the first three, I made lifelong friends, but ironically Mandana and I kind of lost touch until the Bad Girls reunion and we reconnected about it. We call each other and just rekindled a friendship – she is an amazing person, I love her as a person, she is so bright, interesting and has such a big heart. We had our children two weeks apart, our lives are parallel!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ITV / Shutterstock (11730394s) Simone Lahbib 'Loose Women' TV Show, London, UK - January 28, 2021

Simone says she is still better known as Helen Stewart (Photo: ITV)

“Her son came to my acting lessons and Mandana started teaching them. Alicya Eyo and Debra Stepehnson are people that I was also close friends with. Sharon Duncan-Brewster, she’s amazing. My friend thinks I have a crush on her because I keep talking about her. Debra in her solo show, I felt like a real fan – she wore this show, kidnapping Shirley Bassey. She’s amazing and she’s totally hilarious too. She is very politically connected.

“These three years, we laughed a lot, I had a lot of good memories.

And Simone believes the love story and the happy, positive ending for Helen and Nikki make the storyline one of the most enduring ever for the LGBT community.

“It was a good time to end the story as if we had stayed, they would have separated them and everything,” she reflected. “There are still a lot of people talking about a reboot for Bad Girls. It’s good that there is always such interest – you never know! ‘

As long as Helen and Nikki stay together, sign us up for it!

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