Barbara Angell was educated at Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne, and then studied for a Diploma of Music at the Melba Conservatorium. She found work in the 1950s as a dancer/comedian, spending five years on the Tivoli circuit (including the Tivoli Party Time variety television series). She also appeared in and wrote for a number of TV variety shows during the late 1950s, while at the same time studying television production at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).
In 1959, Angell travelled to the UK to further develop her career as a writer; while there, she specialised in revue work. After returning to Australia, she formed her own revue company (and also co-wrote, produced, and appeared in a series of stage shows). In 1964, Angell became one of the principal members of the Mavis Bramston Show creative team, and later appeared in the series as an actor. She moved back to the UK in the late 1960s, spending some two decades there as a stage/television practitioner. She eventually returned to Australia to take up a position with the Grundy Television organisation and later formed her own company, Angell Productions Pty Limited.
A daily television drama series set in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough, Neighbours chronicles the lives of the residents of Ramsay Street. The series initially revolved around three families: the Ramsays (at number 24 Ramsay Street), the Robinsons (at number 26), and the Clarkes (at number 28). The scope of the series has since broadened to include new Ramsay Street familes.