14 November 2009

Nanette Newman

Nanette Newman is an English actress and author. She was born on the 29th of May, 1934, which means that she's getting on a bit. She is remembered fondly for her appearances in the Fairy Liquid advertisements, and she has also produced a small amount of film and television work.

A small amount, yes: Nanette Newman isn't what you'd call prolific. Her first film appearance was in Personal Affairs in 1953, and was followed by twelve other films before the Stepford Wives movie in 1975. International Velvet followed three years later, after which there was a pause of seven years before Restless Natives and The Mystery Of Edwin Drood failed to make much of an impact on anyone. That last one was in 1993, following which Nanette seems to have taken time out from television or film. Her last television appearances were on a children's cookery programme called Fun Food Factory, and she also appeared as a panellist on the 70s game show 'What's My Line?'.

Nanette is also an author. Six cookery books and thirty children's books. One of them, The Summer Cookbook, netted her cookbook of the year award. In 1955 she married Bryan Forbes, and together they produced a couple of kids, now known, in adulthood, as Emma Forbes and Sarah Standing. Nanette appears in Burke's Peerage, and has her own page on the IMDb.

But let's think back to those Fairy Liquid adverts. Every now and then there's an advert, or in this case a series of adverts, that kind of grabs the public attention. We all have a soft spot for the PG Tips Chimps, the irritatingly lovely OXO Family and Maureen Lipman's Beattie (replete with quote 'You got an ology!' and so on. I say a 'soft spot' - in many cases we'd secretly love to kill them. Bob Hoskins' series of BT ads fall easily into this category. Anyway, Nanette had this wonderful habit of getting thirty thousandgirl guides or cub scouts into a marquee of some sort, all armed with greasy plates. They'd line up, and Nanette would add one small squeeze to a tiny tub of water. While espousing the grease-cutting nature of the magical liquid, these poor kids would wash their plates, one after the other. The whole point seemed to be that one tiny squeeze of Fairy could clean up after the whole of the United Kingdom's scouting fraternity. I always felt vaguely sorry for the last ten thousand little kids, dipping their plates into a slurry of left-over gravy and insipid slivers of onion. Classic stuff...

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