This blog is for English actress, cakemaker and writer Jane Asher, with many pictures and accurate information of one of the most beautiful rock muses from the 20th century.

Friday, 18 August 2017

'Dream of the Summer Night', 1965

Jane Asher as Lynda Lampart and Ewan Hooper as Will Lampard in ‘Knock on any Door’ TV series 1st episode 'Dream of the Summer Night’, originally aired October 2nd 1965.

Photo 1) Lady Jane yahoo group.
Photos 2 & 3) ITV/REX/Shutterstock.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Modelling Garrard jewellery, 1977

May 11th, 1977 - Actress Jane Asher and Lady Mary Anstruthers-Gough-Calthorpe (now Lady Mary Bonas, also known as Mary-Gaye Cooper-Key) modelling jewellery by Garrard. Jane is wearing 4 million French Francs worth of rubies and diamonds.

Phillip Jackson / Associated Newspapers/REX/Shutterstock 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Dany Elwes portrait, 1992

October 26th, 1992 - Jane Asher portrayed by Dany Elwes.

Photo 1) Danny Elwes / Evening Standard /REX/Shutterstock.
Photo 2) Daily Mail.

Monday, 7 August 2017

'House' and 'Garden' stage plays, 2000

Jane Asher as Trish Platt in Alan Ayckburn's House and Garden stage plays. House takes place in the drawing room, and Garden in the grounds, of a large country house. Each play is self-contained (although each of course refers more or less obliquely to events in the other), and they may be attended in either order. 
After performances in 1999 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, the plays were staged in 2000 at the Royal National Theatre in London with a cast including Jane Asher, David Haig and Sian Thomas.  
They runned from 29th July 2000 until September 23rd 2000.

House and Garden are a diptych (or linked pair) of plays written by the English playwright Alan Ayckbourn, first performed on June 19 1999. They are designed to be staged simultaneously, with the same cast in adjacent auditoria. 
Audiences will be encouraged to see both plays, which concern a would-be Tory MP's confused private life (House) set against the backdrop of preparations for a village fête (Garden).

The same cast of actors are required to run between the National Theatre's Lyttleton and Olivier stages, performing the interwoven plays simultaneously. When a character exits through the French windows on the set of House, they appear a couple of minutes later on the fake-grass scenery of Garden next door.
The two stage managers use a communication system to co-ordinate exits and entries, avoid near-misses, and ensure that the two productions run perfectly in synch. Demonstrating an impressive athleticism, actors take about two minutes - or 90 seconds at a dash - to move between the two stages.
The stages, both in the same building, are separated by three flights of stairs and several corridors. Characters must maintain the impression they have strolled through a door rather than having run through a maze of corridors.
In Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre, where the plays premièred, the two stages were much nearer to each other - a mere 35 seconds apart. Allowances for the time actors need to get between stages are written into the play.
Extra speeches and a device called the "emergency dog" allow whoever is on stage to play for time. Actress Alexandra Mathie explains: "The dog will bark and one has to respond in character to the dog in some way. So we're discovering our attitudes to dogs as well."

This nightmare of synchronisation - the plays must begin and end simultaneously - extends Ayckbourn's experiments with time and space.

As is typical of his work, Ayckbourn portrays the mostly bittersweet relationships between more or less unhappy, upper-middle-class people. The title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the magazine House & Garden, in which country houses and gardens are often portrayed as idyllic, peaceful places.

Photos 1 & 2) 1999 - Jane Asher in rehearshals for “House” and “Garden” plays, with the director Alan Ayckbourn. http://www.lebrecht.co.uk
Photo 3) Jane Asher, a major character in House, has a three-minute role in Garden. BBC.
Photo 4) From the net. Coment below if it's yours and I'll give you full credit.
Photos 5 to 13) Jane with Malcolm Sinclair (as Gavin Ryng-Mayne), Charlie Hayes (as Sally Platt), Zabou Brightman (as Lucille Cadeau) and David Haig (as Teddy Platt). photostage.co.uk

Friday, 4 August 2017

Jane Asher opens £1.7m school building in Stockton, 2010

Evening Gazette
June 11th, 2010

Jane Asher opens £1.7m school building in Stockton

POPULAR actress and well-known cake maker Jane Asher was on Teesside yesterday to officially open a new £1.7m special school facility.

POPULAR actress and well-known cake maker Jane Asher was on Teesside yesterday to officially open a new £1.7m special school facility.

The Walker Building, a new purpose-built building at Stockton’s Abbey Hill School and Technology College campus, was opened by Jane in her role as president of the National Autistic Society.

Abbey Hill is part of Stockton Borough First Federation which also includes Westlands School in Thornaby.

The building is a welcome addition to the school’s provision for young people on the autistic spectrum.

Work finished last summer and since then students have been making the most of the school’s latest addition which boasts five spacious classrooms a multi-use hall, a kitchen and social areas.

The work was funded through capital funding from Stockton Council, central government and the school’s own funds.

The building is on the former site of the Hardwick Youth Club and is used by youth groups and the community on a night.

Stockton mayor Councillor Colin Leckonby was also present for the opening.

Elizabeth Horne, executive headteacher of the federation, said: “Since 2005 this school has been annually recognised by the National Autistic Society as a centre of excellence in the education of young people with autism so it is fitting that Jane Asher, will officially open the Walker Building.

“Not only is it a fantastic addition to the federation’s educational provision, it also benefits the wider community.”

Jane said: “One of the most satisfying aspects of my work as president of the NAS is seeing children with autism given the education and support they need, and Abbey Hill School has always been a prime example of getting it right.

“I’m very honoured to have been asked to open the new Walker Building – I know the pupils there will have the best possible start in achieving their full potential and going on to live fulfilled and happy lives.”

Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people, said: “ The purpose-built building will offer pupils the perfect environment to learn and enjoy their time at school.”

Monday, 31 July 2017

Drawing Blood -Forty-Five Years of Scarfe Uncensored, 2005

Gerald Scarfe, his wife Jane Asher with two of their children Alex and Katie Scarfe at a party to celebrate the publication of Drawing Blood. Forty-Five Years of Scarfe Uncensored, a book of Gerald Scarfe's work held at The Fine Arts Society, New Bond Street, London on 3rd November 2005.

© Desmond O'Neill Features:-www.donfeatures.com 

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Saint stills and behind the scenes, 1964

Jane Asher as she appeared in an episode of the popular TV series “The Saint” titled “The Noble Sportman”. Jane portrayed Rose Yearley the college student daughter of Lord Thornton Yearley (Anthony Quayle), a sports loving wealthy businessman who suspects his much younger second wife (Sylvia Sims) of adultery. 
“The Noble Sportman” first aired on January 9, 1964. 

Photo 1) From the deleted and misses bethefant tumblr blog.
Photo 2) From the net. Drop me a line if it's yours and I'll give you full credit.
Photos 3 & 4) ITV/REX/Shutterstock.
Photo 5) Unknown, Jane, Anthony Quayle, unknown, Roger Moore and Sylvia Syms. ITV/REX/Shutterstock.
Photo 6) Roger Moore and Jane. ITV/REX/Shutterstock.
Photo 7) 1963 - Sylvia Sims, Roger Moore and Jane behind the scenes. ITV/REX/Shutterstock.
Photos 8 to 10) 1963 - Roger Moore and Jane behind the scenes. ITV/REX/Shutterstock.
Photo11) 1963 - Roger Moore and Jane behind the scenes. Ebay auction listing.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Jane modelling shorts, 2013

Jane Asher modeling shorts for the Daily Mail. Published on July 11th, 2013. Photographer unknown.

Shorts, £21, asos.com; silk top, £189, Ellie Tahari at Fenwick, 020 7629 9161; jacket, £360, Theory at Fenwick, as before; shoes, £97, hobbs.co.uk

Boucle shorts, £79, and silk top, £74, jigsaw-online.com; sandals, £59.99, zara.com

Polka dot shorts, £15, asos.com; top, £49, John Smedley at Fenwick, 020 7629 9161; cream jacket, £175, jaeger.co.uk; tights, £6, and heels, £19.50, marksandspencer.com

Pale blue shorts, £49, jaeger. co.uk; top, £29.99, and jacket, £79.99, zara.com; shoes, £19.50, marksandspencer.com

Shorts, £162, DKNY at my-wardrobe.com; peplum top, £99, Max & Co at Fenwick, 020 7629 9161; belt, £39, Twiggy at Fenwick, as before; shoes, £139, johnlewis.com

Friday, 21 July 2017

No Plain Jane, 2002

The Scotman, Saturday 07 September 2002 

No plain Jane 

Jane Asher kicks off her scarlet patent stilettos, stretches her black-stockinged legs across the hotel sofa and lights a cheroot. 

It wasn’t like this, of course. Not the stilettos, not the cheroot and not a chance of the true confessions. But it was Jane Asher whom I had arranged to meet. She of the Titian hair, milky skin and Bambi slenderness. She of the impeccable manners  for while I waited for her in the Scotsman Hotel (where she and her husband, the cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, were staying), Ms. Asher had set off for Scotsman Publications  a reversal of celebrity priorities that verged on the astonishing. Persons of importance  and, more specifically, persons of self-importance  do not come to journalists. Journalists go to them. Cap in hand. 

But it only takes a few minutes in Asher’s company to realise that self-importance is not a vice she entertains. Nor volubility. She is calm, composed and smiling, with the sort of charm which would suit a vicar’s wife on garden fte duty. 

She is also acutely, shrewdly media-savvy. "There are only two kinds of articles written about me," she sighs. "They’re either: ‘Isn’t she wonderful? How does she do it?’ Or, if I have, as I tend to do, pointed out that I am not superwoman, or a domestic goddess, that I’m a mixture of pluses and minuses, like everyone else, then it’s: ‘Jane comes clean: it’s all a front’." She laughs. 

Two years ago, when a Scotsman writer asked her if she got annoyed at being constantly asked about Paul McCartney, she said: "I think it only annoys me that people ask me if it annoys me when I’m asked about him. In fact, it doesn’t annoy me any more. I’m in Zen now, I think. I’m beyond that. There’s nothing you could ask me that I haven’t already been asked, even if it is asking me about asking me about asking me about him to the nth degree. I’ve been there." 

So, today, we don’t go there. Instead, she says she can’t quite understand why anyone would expect her to answer really personal questions. "I remember one journalist in particular being baffled as to why I wouldn’t talk about certain things. ‘But you’re not my friend!’ I said. This is a game and they don’t seem to realise that you’re letting out a very little bit of yourself, just enough to get the publicity." 

The publicity she is seeking in this particular trade-off is for her new novel, her third, entitled Losing It  an ambitious structure involving five different voices speaking in the first person. The subject matter is equally challenging. Charlie, a fastidious middle-aged barrister, wearily serving out the term of his marriage, falls obsessively in love with Stacey, a brutally inarticulate, hugely fat supermarket check-out girl. Where other novels probing late-onset lust for youthful flesh lavish captivating metaphors on the careless beauty of the young, Charlie’s first encounter with Stacey provokes rather different vocabulary: "I dropped my gaze quickly from the face but was even more unnerved at the sight of the shiny pink folds of flesh continuing downwards in vast Michelin-like coils towards the open neck of a green-checked overall. And that was just the beginning. I went on working my way down the overall in disbelieving fascination. From where the material began at the collar, everything was tension: trussed, straining dollops of flesh, battling to burst free of the huge swathes of green-checked cotton encasing them, pulling at the poppers and oozing from the spaces in between in pale pink polyester-covered bubbles." 

Following this scarcely erotic introduction, Charlie slowly abandons every aspect of his life: work, wife and children, financial security and social standing. It requires a big leap of faith on behalf of the reader to find such behaviour plausible. 

Asher nods. "You may well be right. I take that as fair comment. But love is an extraordinary thing. I do know one film director, who shall be nameless, who only goes out with very, very big girls. But perhaps I hadn’t shown the reader enough to understand why it happens." 

Besides, she says she was more interested in the size-ist aspect of the book than in the mid-life lust crisis. "It was the idea of how somebody’s physical appearance affects not only how they see themselves but the way they are treated, and how that changes when they change. That’s where I started." 

She acknowledges that some may find a perennially slim woman writing about morbid obesity either irritating or condescending, but she insists she does so from absolute sympathy. "The way doctors treat the overweight is so dreadful. I wanted to write about that." She also allows Stacey to offer an attempted explanation for why most diets fail. 

"Shall I tell you what it’s like being me? You know about your dad being an alcoholic, right? You know how he is with booze. One drink, just one drink, and he’s off. He can’t never have just the one, cos it’s like an illness... And drug addicts, them’s the same. They have to stop right out. And they don’t usually manage that, neither. 

"I’m like that with eating. I’m a food junkie. I can’t eat normal just like an alcoholic can’t drink normal but there’s a big fucking difference and I’ll tell you what it is. The difference is what you do about it… The doctor says, ‘Right, just eat a little bit. Not the food you really want, neither  just a little bit of all the food that don’t fill you up and don’t satisfy you and don’t give you the feeling that you need. But just enough to keep your fucking addiction bubbling along nicely.’ See." 

In the novel, Stacey has a stomach-stapling operation and loses large amounts of weight, another area which Asher says she finds intriguing. "I can imagine the fascination with changing your body so radically. I’ve never been anorexic or close to it, but I do understand when they say it’s all about a girl trying to take control, because there have been times when I have been very thin, and I kind of know the pleasure of being almost too thin. Into the bone. What is that? It’s bizarre." 

It might be fair to say that much of the human behaviour which Asher chooses to depict in her novels is indeed bizarre. Her first novel, The Longing, begins in a cosy upper-middle-class urbane world where a rather smug couple are troubled by their inability to conceive. It then plunges into a Gothic psychodrama of passionate discontent; a snatched infant who is starved to death, a hysterical mother and a memorably mad wife. Rage and unrestrained emotion sweep through the pages, reducing cosy certainties to rubble. Could this possibly indicate a dark and tangled alter-ego for its writer? 

Asher smiles. "People are always describing my books as dark, and it does surprise me. I’m never sure how much of that is an objective darkness and how much is a contrast to the public image thing." 

She understands exactly how that public image thing works. "I always say, you have to have an image whether you like it or not. When you’re in the public eye, you’ll be given an image. You’ll be narrowed down. And, really, I could do a lot worse than this nonsense of domestic superwoman, which of course is not true. I don’t scrub my own floors. Someone else does. I’m a privileged lady." 

Indeed, she always was. Her father was a consultant endocrinologist and her mother a professor of music. She and her brother and sister grew up in prosperous Wimpole Street where her father had his practice, and Jane had her first film role at the age of five, playing a deaf child. "It’s a dream for a child, isn’t it? Getting lots of attention, time off school, fun with grown-ups." 

She read out the letters on BBC’s Children’s Hour and played Wendy in Peter Pan when she was 14. She left school after O-levels, and at 17 was the quintessential Swinging Sixties chick. She met Paul McCartney at a Beatles concert in the Albert Hall where she was sent by the Radio Times. He said later: "We spent the evening talking about gravy. I told her she seemed like a nice girl." Jane said: "They couldn’t believe I was a virgin." 

A four-year relationship began, spanning 1963 to 1967, the most prolific years for The Beatles. Many of those songs were written in the Ashers’ Wimpole Street home, where McCartney lived for three years, having missed a train to Liverpool one night. Jane’s mother taught him to play the flute. 

She talks amiably and very generally about her "very happy" childhood, but will not discuss the early death of her father, who committed suicide when gravely ill. That sort of darkness she leaves to her novel-writing. But it may also explain her impatience with religion. "Ha! God!" she snorts derisively. "He’s making a really good job of things at the moment, isn’t he?" 

Curiously, the sunny, Julie Andrews well-pressed persona bestowed upon her by the media has not followed her across the proscenium arch. In the theatre she has not been typecast at all. "Yes, I often play rather unpleasant women," she nods. "It certainly helps with my writing. But devious, nasty characters are more fun. Villains are much more interesting than heroes. It’s sad to admit it, but good people can be the least interesting of all." 

Which reminds me, right on cue, about the cakes. Those fabulous fondant fancies in as many strange shapes as her own imagination. How on earth did it all start? Asher shrugs. "It was just a hobby in my teens. The first serious one, I made for my sister’s 18th birthday. But I’m a great starter of things. Not a great finisher. I’ve done evening classes in everything from Russian to dress-making. In fact, it could just as easily have been Jane Asher’s fancy-dress shops." 

So Asher the brand is not making a bid for world domination? "Hardly." But there are the cake mixes, the cake tins, the tablecloths… What about bedlinen? She laughs. "With the tablecloths in Debenhams, I suppose you might say I’m creeping towards the bedroom… There! You’ve got your headline. ‘Jane Asher is creeping towards the bedroom.’ Perfect!" 

And she smiles that charming, likeable but utterly inscrutable smile. And like every other writer before me, I will have to be content. 

Losing It is out now (HarperCollins, 15.99)

Monday, 17 July 2017

Evening Standard Film Awards, 1995

January 30th, 1995 - Gerald Scarfe and Jane Asher attend the Evening Standard Film Awards at the Savoy Hotel.

Alan Davidson / Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock