Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper Mersey Beat
and glamour model Margaret Nolan was born in Hampstead, London on 29th October,
1943 only ten minutes after her twin sister Geraldine. Since their father
was in the army, their mother took the sisters and their brother to Waterford
in Ireland until the war was over and they eventually returned to Hampstead
in 1966. Margaret began her film career as a model appearing in 8mm glamour
shorts for George Harrison Marks between 1962 and 1964.
These films included ‘One Track Mind’, ‘Nude in the Sun’ and ‘The Four Poster'. For photographer Russell Gay, during the same period, she appeared in ‘Vertigo’, ‘Sexational’ and ‘Tensions'. Under the pseudonym of Victoria Kennedy she appeared in ‘Fantastique’ and ‘Presenting the Fabulous Vicky Kennedy’ and, in 1963, she appeared in the film ‘It’s A Bare, Bare World.’
The producer of ‘The Saint’ television series, starring Roger Moore, was shown a photograph of her and he gave her the minor role of Daisy in the first series. She subsequently began appearing in numerous BBC TV soaps, plays and comedy shows. Her television appearances in the Sixties included ‘The Saint’ (1963); ‘Crossroads’, ‘Deep and Crisp and Stolen’ (1964); ‘199 Park Lane’, ‘After Many a Summer’, ‘Danger Man’ (1965); ‘Bedsit Girl’, ‘The Enchanted Night’, ‘The World of Wooster’, ‘Adam Adamant Lives’, ‘Buddenbrooks’ (1966); ‘Hugh and I’; ‘A Man Like That’; ‘The Newcomers’, ‘Take a Pair of Eyes’ in 1966; ‘Compensation Alice’, ‘The Des O'Connor Show’, ‘Death of a Private’, ‘The Morecambe and Wise Show’ in 1967; ‘Nearest and Dearest’ in 1968 and ‘The World of Beachcomber’ in 1969.
In 1964 she appeared in ‘Saturday Night Out’. It’s interesting to note that The Searchers appeared in ‘Saturday Night Out’ performing a few numbers in a pub scene. It was said that The Beatles were considered for the appearance but the producers decided they didn’t want to pay the fares for them coming down from Liverpool and The Searchers happened to be in London at the time.
Also in 1964 ‘A Hard Day’s Night', ‘The Beauty Jungle’, ‘Goldfinger’; in 1965 in ‘Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey’, ‘Three Rooms in Manhatten’, ‘Promise Her Anything’, ‘Carry on Cowboy’; in 1965 ‘The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery’; in 1968 in ‘Witchfinder General’, ‘Don’t Raise the Bridge, Lower the River’; in 1969 in ‘Can Heironymous Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?’, ‘Crooks and Coronets’ and in 1969 in ‘The Best House in London'.
also appeared in ‘Toomorrow’, ‘Carry on Henry’,
‘Carry On at Your Convenience’, ‘Carry On Matron’, ‘No Sex Please, We’re
British’, 'Carry On Girls’ and ‘Carry On Dick'. It’s interesting that she
appeared in films that featured The Beatles, Gerry
& The Pacemakers and The Searchers. In ‘A Hard
Day’s Night’ she is the hostess sitting with Paul’s gambling uncle when
they arrive in the casino. Margaret got the lads to autograph her script
following the scene. John Lennon phoned her agent about her the next day.
In addition to film and television appearances, Margaret also took to the
stage and, following an appearance at the Ambience Theatre in Queensway,
was cast in her first West End play, ‘The Giveaway’, in 1969.
Several Brian Rix farces at The Garrick Theatre followed, including ‘She’s Done It Again’ in which she played the juvenile lead for nine months. Shirley Eaton may be remembered as the girl in ‘Goldfinger’ who was painted gold from head to foot and murdered in James Bond’s bed, but there were actually two golden girls – and Margaret was the other one! She is the golden girl appearing in the opening credits in which her body was painted completely gold and images from the film were projected onto her. She only agreed to be the golden girl in the title sequence if she were actually given a role in the film and she was cast as Twink.
The producers offered her a two-year contract to portray 'The Golden Girl' in publicity promotions, but she declined. Margaret also appeared in five series of a Spike Milligan show. Following appearances in the ‘Carry On’ films Margaret retired from acting, having appeared in no less than 21 feature films and 380 television productions, and went to live in Spain. Together with her husband and two sons, she renovated an old farmhouse in Alpujarras, Andalucia, and settled there for almost thirty years, during which time she began to develop photomontages, returning to London in 2007.
she appeared in five ‘Carry On' movies,
she was furious at how badly the actors were exploited financially by the
producer and director, commenting, “They were such bastards…they became
multi-millionaires". She explained that no actor ever received any
royalties from the ‘Carry On’ films and illustrates this by saying
“The most anyone ever earned from a ‘Carry On’ film was Sid James. He got five grand".
The cast worked very hard on the films which were produced on extremely low budgets and it was the cast who did most of the improvisation, yet they never earned anything from the sale of the videos or the fact that the films appeared on virtually every television channel on earth. Margaret also recalls the story of actor Charles Hawtrey:
“He was dying of poverty and a representative of Equity went, on his behalf, to ask for some money in lieu of royalties so that they could pay for nursing and he was told to f*** off out of the studios".
|Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.|
Article Bill Harry 2017 Original Graphics SixtiesCity 2017