AIMS: We report our initial 3-year experience of chemoradiotherapy for cervical cancer with computed tomography-based image-guided high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy using the tandem-ring applicator. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-eight patients were treated between February 2005 and December 2007. All patients received initial external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) followed by HDR brachytherapy (planned dose 21 Gy to point A in three fractions over 8 days). For each insertion, a computed tomography scan was obtained with the brachytherapy applicator in situ. The cervix, uterus and organs at risk (OAR) were contoured on the computed tomography images to create an individualised dosimetry plan. The D(90) (the dose delivered to 90% of the tumour target), V(100) (the percentage of tumour target volume receiving 100% of the prescribed dose) and the minimum dose in the most exposed 2 cm(3) volume (D(2 cc)) of rectum, bladder and bowel were recorded. The equivalent dose in 2 Gy fractions delivered by EBRT and brachytherapy was calculated. RESULTS: The 3-year cancer-specific survival was 81%, with a pelvic control rate of 96%. In 24 patients, a D(90)>or=74 Gy (alpha/beta10) was achieved. The only patient with local recurrence had a D(90) of 63.8 Gy(alpha/beta10). The overall actuarial risk of serious late morbidity was 14%. Seventeen patients had satisfactory OAR doses using the standard loading pattern. Seven patients had modifications to reduce the risk of toxicity, whereas two had modifications to improve the tumour dose. Comparison with a previous cohort of patients treated with chemoradiotherapy and a conventionally planned low dose rate triple source brachytherapy technique showed an improvement in local pelvic control of 20% (P=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of a computed tomography-based tandem-ring HDR brachytherapy technique in conjunction with individual dose adaptation has resulted in a significant improvement in local control at Addenbrooke's without increasing the risk of serious toxicity, and with little effect on radiotherapy resources.