I’m not one to draw lines in the sand about good art and bad art. I’m not comfortable saying this thing is better than that thing; or that so-and-so are a better couple than such-and-such — except for this: The first three series’ of the UK prison drama Bad Girls is the best lesbian story ever on TV, and Helen Stewart (Simone Lahbib) and Nikki Wade (Mandana Jones) are the all-time, number one, super dooper, mega best lesbian couple in the history of time and space forever and ever, amen.
It’s been 10 years since the show first aired in Britain, and Helen James recently sat down with Simone Lahbib to talk about the impact of Helen and Nikki’s relationship (and a possible reunion!) a decade after its humble beginnings.
We’ll get to that part in a second, but first let’s quickly flip through our Larkhall scrapbook to remember what makes Helen and Nikki better than everyone else.
Aw, look: the first time Nikki gets acquainted with Helen’s fingers:
The first time Helen gets acquainted with Nikki’s breasts:
The first time they get acquainted with one another’s lips:
The second time:
Oh! The time all that acquainting pays off:
(Or, in the words of the most eloquent Bad Girls fan ever: "Helen and Nikki are in bed. Together. Naked. OMG. Do they look like a painting, or am I just that far gone?")
Aw, and here they are taking it dead slow:
So, Simone Lahbib. Ten years later, what does she think of Helen Stewart? Here’s the interview in its entirety:
I confess I had to watch the interview twice to glean any information from it. The first time I kept answering the questions for Simone:
Helen James: Let’s talk about Helen Stewart.
Me: Sure! I mean, that’s only my favorite pastime ever.
Helen James: What do you think is so magical about the Helen and Nikki storyline?
Me: Uh, everything.
Helen James: Is Helen Stewart one of your most favorite characters?
Me: She’s my favorite person in life.
Helen James: Bette Porter versus Helen Stewart in a cage match: who would win?
Me: I would pay one hundred badrillion dollars to watch that.
(In case you didn’t actually watch the interview, I made up that last question.)
On second viewing, here were some of my favorite parts:
Helen James: Are you proud of being a part of something so groundbreaking?
Simone Lahbib: Very proud. Very proud. I think they did a great job in the writing. I think one of the reasons women, especially, respond to Bad Girls is that they really explored a lot of women’s issues, and you know, a lot of women’s issues that were slightly taboo. I think the Helen and Nikki storyline was the longest-explored lesbian relationship on TV.
Helen James: Everyone was waiting. Everyone wanted [Helen and Nikki] to be together. It was quite an emotional thing. Was it nervous for you, doing that final scene, knowing everyone was wanting to see you together?
Simone Lahbib: No. No, it was wonderful to do that scene because I imagined, as a viewer, that you wanted a happy ending for these two people. You just wanted that so much. I was really pleased that they had that in the end. It was partly why I decided to go with the third series … When we spoke together with Shed [Productions] and they said that, you know, that was there plan, I knew I had to see it through.
Helen James: Do you have a bossy side, then?
Simone Lahbib: I do have a bossy side.
Helen James:If they wanted to bring it back, would you do another series, ten years later?
Simone Lahbib: Um, I’ve been asked that a few times over the years, and I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to doing that. You know, if we sat down and really thought it through. The things is, because there’s so much expectation about that, you wouldn’t want to get it wrong. So, if it was well-devised and Mandana was happy to do it as well, then yeah, possibly.
Sigh. Don’t tease me, Simone Lahbib. Or, whatever, tease me. Your call. I’ll just sit in this chair and wait for you to make up your mind.
What do you think of Lahbib’s interview? Would you watch a Helen/Nikki reunion, a decade after the show aired?
For more on Helen and Nikki, check out our interviews with Simone Lahbib and Mandana Jones. Or live the magic all over again with our Bad Girls recaps.
Thanks to Stealthgirl for the tip!