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What Katy did next

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What Katy did next: Sometimes your heroines really are worthy titleholders

WHEN I was 12, I wrote to Katy Manning requesting an autograph.

She was touring in a stage production of There's A Girl In My Soup at the time.

Dundee was the nearest the tour came to Edinburgh. I wrote to her, care of the stage door.

Sometime after the tour ended, weeks later, an envelope arrived and I had a signed photo - still do, in fact.

Katy Manning was then (and still is, for that matter) my favourite actress "in all the world". She was quirky, bubbly, cute and very sexy - an unusual combination. Most actresses manage one or two of those attributes but not all four simultaneously.

For those who don't have a clue who I am talking about, Katy Manning was a star of 1970s Doctor Who. She played Jo Grant, the Doctor's feisty assistant in the days when Jon Pertwee's Time-Lord was a dashing, gadget-loving dandy who, together with The Brigadier, Cpt Mike Yates and Sgt Benton, saved the Earth from alien invasion every Saturday night.

Later she went on to present the BBC crafts programme Serendipity and to star in the film Don't Just Lie There, Say Something and West End theatre productions of Why Not Stay for Breakfast, There's A Girl In My Soup and Odd Man.

She even posed naked once with a Dalek.

Now, they say you should never meet your heroes, or indeed heroines, for fear of being disappointed - as I know only too well, having interviewed many famous faces who have failed to live up to expectations.

So it was with not a little trepidation that I headed to London earlier this week to interview Katy.

You see, over the years I have met most of the Pertwee era stars of Doctor Who. Richard Franklin, aka Captain Yates, cast and directed me in my first professional acting job. John Levene, who played Sgt Benton, co-starred in that production.

I've interviewed Nicholas Courtney who still plays The Brigadier (youngsters will know him from The Sarah Jane Adventures) many times and I even directed Jon Pertwee in a documentary about a day in his life.

Katy Manning, however, had remained elusive, mainly because she emigrated to Australia shortly after sending me that aforementioned autograph.

Ironically, she is back in the UK to star in a one-woman, Me & Jezebel, which is based on the true story of what happened when the legendary Bette Davis invited herself to stay with the American writer Elizabeth Fuller, a self-confessed admirer of the Hollywood legend.

Davis arrived to stay for a night in the summer of 1985 and didn't leave for a month.

Chaos ensued as Davis turned the Fuller household upside down.

Thankfully Katy Manning is no Bette Davis. At just five foot tall she remains a petite little thing.

A bundle of energy that defies her 59 years, she still looks stunning, although she insists that she has a" stupid" face. Chatting, she comes across as a warm, friendly, genuine and open person - it's nice when someone turns out to be all you expected, if not more.

Katy is planning to tour Me& Jezebel later this year and there's even been talk about it coming to The Fringe. However, if you want to be sure of catching it you'll need to take a trip to the New End Theatre in Hampstead, London, before May 2.

As we parted Katy laughed," But be warned, if we do get up to Edinburgh I'll probably turn up at your door asking to stay for the night." Ah! Now doesn't the Fringe run for a month? Could life be about to imitate art imitating life. Bring it on!

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  • APA 6th ed.: Rudden, Liam (2009-04-24). What Katy did next. Edinburgh Evening News p. 5.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Rudden, Liam. "What Katy did next." Edinburgh Evening News [add city] 2009-04-24, 5. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Rudden, Liam. "What Katy did next." Edinburgh Evening News, edition, sec., 2009-04-24
  • Turabian: Rudden, Liam. "What Katy did next." Edinburgh Evening News, 2009-04-24, section, 5 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=What Katy did next | url= | work=Edinburgh Evening News | pages=5 | date=2009-04-24 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=13 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=What Katy did next | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=13 April 2024}}</ref>