Web Page No 2110
29th November 2014
First Picture: Lady Saunders ( Katie Boyle) with her new Triumph Herald
Second Picture: Lady Isobel Barnett with TV actress Eleanor Sommerfield
The cult of celebrity is nothing new, in fact it was rife on television during our formative years but then the Celebrities were all titled personages. Do you remember these two well known ladies?
Katie Boyle, Lady Saunders was born Caterina Irene Elena Maria Imperiali di Francavilla on 29th May 1926 and is an Italian-born British actress, television personality, and game-show panelist, well known for appearing on TV panel games such as What's My Line? and for presenting the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1960s and 1970s. She was also a former agony aunt, answering problems that had been posted to the TV Times by readers.
She was born in Florence and is the daughter of an Italian marquis (the Marchese Demetrio Imperiali di Francavilla) and Dorothy Kate Ramsden. She came to Great Britain in 1946 and started a modelling career, which included work for Vogue. She also appeared in several 1950s films, the first being Old Mother Riley, Headmistress, (1950) followed by The House in the Square (1951), Not Wanted on Voyage (1957), The Truth About Women, Intent to Kill (with Richard Todd ) in Les Carnets de Major Thompson/The Diary of Major Thompson (1955), with Jack Buchanan.
Having been an on-screen continuity announcer for the BBC in the 1950s in the 1960s she became a television personality regularly appearing on panel games and programmes such as What's My Line? and Juke Box Jury. She was the presenter for the 1960, 1963, 1968 and 1974 Eurovision Song Contests, all hosted in the UK. According to some sources she hosted the 1974 contest minus her underwear, which was cut off from under her satin dress moments before the broadcast began. She also hosted the UK qualifying heat, A Song for Europe, in 1961.
In 1982 she played herself in the BBC radio play The Competition, which told the story of a fictitious international song contest being staged in Bridlington. Katie Boyle was guest of honour at the Eurovision fan club conventions staged in 1988 and 1992.
She appeared at the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest held in Birmingham as a special guest of the BBC. Her other work has included theatre, television and radio. In 2004, she was a guest on a special Eurovision-themed celebrity version of The Weakest Link on BBC1, hosted by Anne Robinson. In a unique moment, she became the first, and to date the only, contestant ever to vote herself off the programme.
In 1947 she had married Richard Bentinck Boyle, 9th Earl of Shannon but the marriage was dissolved in 1955. The same year she married Greville Baylis, a racehorse owner, who died in 1976. In 1979 she married theatre impresario Sir Peter Saunders, who died in 2002. There were also rumours that she had a long-standing relationship with Prince Philip in the 1950s.
She is a lover of animals, especially dogs she now lives just off East Finchley's prestigious Bishops Avenue.
Isobel, Lady Barnett (30th June 1918 – 20th October 1980) popularly known as Lady Barnett, she was a radio and television personality during the 1950s and 1960s.
She was born Isobel Morag Marshall in Aberdeen, the daughter of a doctor. She went to the independent Mount School in York and, following in her father's footsteps, studied medicine at Glasgow University. She qualified as a doctor in 1940, and married solicitor and company director Geoffrey Barnett the following year. He was knighted for political and public services to the city of Leicester in 1953. Lady Barnett gave up her medical career in 1948 and for the next twenty years was a Justice of the Peace.
In 1953 she arrived on BBC television as one of the original panel members of What's My Line? This made her a household name. She actually appeared on the programme for ten years. Elegant and witty, she was regarded by audiences as the epitome of the British aristocracy (although her title actually came from the fact that her husband had been knighted she was not an aristocrat, nor had she married into the aristocracy). She also made regular appearances on the long-running BBC radio series Any Questions?, on the radio.
The crystal-clear voice and discreet and engaging smile also made Lady Barnett greatly in demand as an after-dinner speaker, a role into which she slipped confidently, always delivering a highly amusing and perfectly polished speech.
When the more informal culture of the 1960s and 1970s brought an end to her television career, she became a reclusive and with an eccentric existence. In 1980, she was found guilty of shoplifting, being fined £75 for stealing a can of tuna and a carton of cream worth 87p from her village grocer. This brought her briefly back into the public eye; just four days later, she was found dead, when an electric fire was found in her bath with her.
Her story was sensitively recounted by several of her friends and colleagues in a 1991 BBC Radio 4 documentary in the Radio Lives series, which confirmed that she gave no indication whatsoever to any of her friends that she was planning to take her own life, and that she kept up a façade of "business as usual". She had one son, Alastair (born 1944). Her husband Sir Geoffrey died in 1970.
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News and Views:
On this day 29th November 1960-1965
On 29/11/1960 the number one single was It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Take Your Pick (AR) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/11/1961 the number one single was Little Sister/His Latest Flame - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Another Black & White Minstrell Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/11/1962 the number one single was Lovesick Blues - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Out of the Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/11/1963 the number one single was You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/11/1964 the number one single was Baby Love - Supremes and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/11/1965 the number one single was Get Off Of My Cloud - Rolling Stones and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Take Your Pick (AR) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.