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Five of the best classic Bond Girls

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Just as vital to the success of the Bond movies as James himself is the Bond girl and in the sixties and seventies we were given some truly iconic performances by a succession of gorgeous movie stars. Here we pay tribute to five of the best of them.

Classic Bond Girls Ursula Andress

URSULA ANDRESS
(“Honey Ryder”, 1962’s Dr. No)
The quintessential Bond Girl, Ursula Andress cemented her place in movie history with her Venus-like emergence from the sea in the very first Bond film, Dr. No (1962). Her Swiss accent was too strong for the part, so her voice was dubbed over by English actress Monica Van der Syl. In the film, Bond discovers that Honey’s education has come from an encyclopedia she’s had since childhood: “I started at A when I was eight and now I’ve reached T. I’ll bet I know a lot more things than you do,” she tells Bond!

Classic Bond Girls Honor Blackman

HONOR BLACKMAN
(“Pussy Galore”, 1964’s Goldfinger)
In the film, Pussy tells Bond: “You can turn off the charm. I’m immune,” a line which indirectly alludes to the fact that in the 1959 Fleming novel, Pussy’s character is a lesbian. But after having her sexual orientation changed and her role slightly beefed up, Pussy was ready for the screen, where she gave Bond almost more than he could handle. A memorable “romp in the hay” with him (literally!) is one of the film’s highlights. Honor Blackman had previously played Cathy Gale in the popular TV series “The Avengers.”

Classic Bond Girls Jill St John

JILL ST. JOHN
(“Tiffany Case”, 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever)
Tiffany Case (St. John) was the first American Bond Girl, whose name was the result of her character being born on the first floor of Tiffany’s jewelry store while her mother was looking for a wedding ring! “I’m glad for your sake it wasn’t Van Cleef and Arpels,” Bond quips. St. John’s post-Bond resume included half-a-dozen TV films, while her screen work gradually subsided.

Classic Bond Girls Jane Seymour

JANE SEYMOUR
(“Solitaire”, 1973’s Live and Let Die)
Best known for her prolific television work, Jane Seymour barely had a couple of film credits under her belt when she was cast as the enigmatic sorceress Solitaire opposite Roger Moore in his James Bond debut. A firm believer in magic, Solitaire fell victim to one of Bond’s cruelest pranks: he stacked one of her Tarot decks so the cards would say they would become lovers. At the film’s conclusion, Solitaire is seen dabbling in a different kind of card-play: she is beating Bond in a game of Gin Rummy!

Bond Girls The Spy Who Loved Me

BARBARA BACH
(“Anya Amasova”, 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me)
Barbara Bach’s Major Anya Amasova (a Russian agent with the suggestive code-name “XXX”) was one of the few women who could truly meet Bond on his own terms. Often beating him to the punch, she proved a valuable partner once the two agents joined forces — and almost as deadly an adversary once they became enemies! Of course, no real Bond Girl can stay mad at 007 for too long, and their “reconciliation” in front of their superiors provided an amusing end to the film. Bach is married to Beatle Ringo Starr.

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Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess

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Xena Warrior Princess

What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.

Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.

Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.

Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.

Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?

Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.

Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Character: Xena

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Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife

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McMillan And Wife

Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.

Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.

And wifey?
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.

Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.

Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.

Tragedy?
Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.

What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.

Other characters
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.

Famous guest stars?
Kim Basinger

The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.

Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.

Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.

Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.

The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.

A winner?
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.

Distinguishing features?
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.

Do say
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.

Don’t say
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.

Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.

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Classic TV Revisited: The Royal

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The Royal

The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.

The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.

Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.

Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.

Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”

A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.

First broadcast: 2003

Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden

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