Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Never work with children or animals - or wear a bikini in public

Someone sent me this fantastic PDF from 1979 yesterday. Unfortunately I can't add it here. Anyway, it's from the Daily Mirror showbiz pages, and amid the stories about Leave Him To Heaven and the final of Rising Stars (whatever that was - a sort of late Seventies X Factor probably) and an Eric & Ernie cartoon strip, is a fantastic picture of that year's - and perhaps the only ever - Miss Children's Television contest.

Look! There's Newsround's 'Lucy', Ragtime's Maggie Henderson, Crackerjack's Jan Hunt (who must have been at least 40 and was famous for getting the words to songs wrong on that singy bit they used to do in the show), the scandalous Tina Heath, Maggie Philbin and Floella Benjiman, Flambards star and Playschool irritant Carole Leader, Wildtrack's Su Ingle, and Stopwatch lovely Susan King, lumpenly shoehorned into unflattering Miss World one-piece swimsuits complete with sashes. No outstanding figures there that I can see. It's great though. I wonder who won?

But I wonder. Were they forced into it by their bosses? Or perhaps they thought they were striking a blow for women's lib (there's a dated phrase) or do you think they just enjoyed it? Do you think perhaps, that because they were kid's TV presenters it was inappropriate? More so than Konnie Huq getting her norks out for FHM?

But the point is: can you imagine this happening now? I don't know the names of enough kid's TV presenters to complete a fantasy line-up, but still, it would never, ever happen today. Even if it was suggested, there would be a demand that men did it instead, just to prove that sexism is dead, blah, blah, blah. Or perhaps some might do it, but in ironic fashion. Shame.

Why must the modern world be so po faced? Don't you wish it was still 1979?


Brian Rowland said...

Hello. I really should remember that Miss Children's Television business but I can't for the life of me. All the presenters you mention there used to appear together on the annual All-Star Record Breakers spectacular - it was otherwise unusual for all BBC children's presenters to muck in at the same time - so maybe it was part of that.

It's a terrible thing to admit but I probably saw a lot of televised beauty contests in the 70s. And cheering if someone local won, or even made it through to the next round. It does just seem bizarre now though, as a format for entertainment.

Rising Stars was one of the BBC's attempts to ape the success of ITV's Opportunity Knocks and New Faces. I can't remember if it discovered a Victoria Wood or a Les Dawson or a Lenny Henry, which means it probably didn't. It was presented by Lennie Bennett.

Oh, and Carol Leader is now a psychotherapist.

A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

I remember this! As I recall, it was indeed part of All-Star Record Breakers. And although they may have worn swimming cossies in the publicity shoots, on the actual show they wore evening dresses that were themed for their programme: Maggie Henderson had glittery rags, Sue Ingalls may have had fake leaves and nature stuff hanging off her frock, that sort of thing.

However, it got what seemed like a load of publicity at the time, and I recall my dad and the bloke from next door engaging in a fairly heated debate about who they thought had "form", so to speak. My dad favoured Maggie H.

And as for the actual winner... there wasn't one. The whole thing was framed as some sort of dream sequence, so whoever was dreaming (I'm assuming Roy Castle, although I don't really remember that bit) woke up before the winner could be announced. I suppose it was the only way to prevent a lot of jealous backstabbing at TV Centre.

Five-Centres said...

Wow, your memories are great, and welcome Brian Rowland.

As you say, it was indeed part of All-Star Record Breakers, but I don't remember the contest either. How diplomatic for it to have been in a dream sequence.

Brian Rowland said...

Thanks Five. Excellently remembered, Kitten. If done now, there would probably have to be a winner.

Dan W said...

I think they just do a shoot for FHM now don't they?