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Her training took place at East 15 Acting School, London. She has appeared in many television roles including Bergerac (1981–1984), 2point4 children, Making Out, Summer Hill, Jackanory, Archer's Goon, The Demon Headmaster, The Worst Witch, The Queen's Nose and Coronation Street, as well as an early appearance in series one of the Hale & Pace show in a number of sketches. In 1989, Badland also appeared in "The Rough and The Smooth", an episode of All Creatures Great and Small. She played the recurring villain Blon Fel-Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen a.k.a. "Margaret Blaine" in the 2005 series of Doctor Who. She also provides commentary on the Doctor Who Complete Series One Box Set, on the episodes "World War Three" and "Boom Town". In 2006 she put in an appearance at Larkhall Prison for the eighth series of ITV1 drama Bad Girls. She played Angela Robbins, a disturbing inmate who was suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder.
She has also appeared in many films including A Little Princess (1986), Jabberwocky (1977), Little Voice (1998) and more recently Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). Badland has performed in several radio dramas including BBC Radio 4's Rolling Home (2001), Smelling of Roses (2003) and an adaptation of George MacDonald's novel At the Back of the North Wind. In 2005 she took the role of Hazel Woolley, the "bad seed" adopted daughter of Jack Woolley in the long-running radio soap opera The Archers, and in 2008 appeared in the radio serial The Way We Live Right Now as Tilly Carbury.
Badland was also the presenter of BBC's You and Me in the early 1990s and appeared in the British comedy Three and Out released on 25 April 2008. She also played the sharply conservative Ethel Tonks in the BBC's All the Small Things (April/May 2009) alongside Sarah Lancashire, Neil Pearson, Sarah Alexander and Bryan Dick. In 2009 she appeared in Casualty as a disturbed mother who was always worrying about her daughters.
She has also recently made her debut at the Royal Exchange Theatre, in Manchester, as Madame Arcarti in Blithe Spirit. In 2010, Badland is performing in Caryl Churchill's Far Away at the Bristol Old Vic.
On 5 July 2010 she appeared as a Verger in Doctors. In 2012, Badland will appear as Ursula in the new CBBC science fiction series, Wizards vs Aliens. She was also in BBC's Cutting It, for 4 series.
In the CBBC hit show The Sparticle Mystery, Badland played Dooms Day Dora. She appeared in 4 episodes which were:
- Episode 3: The Message (First aired 16 February 2011)
- Episode 4: The Quest (First aired 17 February 2011)
- Episode 5: The Funfair (First aired 21 February 2011)
- Episode 13: The Sparticle Project (First aired 6 March 2011)