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Julie Stevens
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I think the Venus Smith character was a huge misfire for the show, being totally against the grain of interesting and dynamic (nay, groundbreaking) female regular characters - even the surgery receptionists of Drs Keel and King were more enterprising - I do in fact love Julie Stevens and her enthusiasm for the show and her part in it.

I'm tempted to watch her episodes (and hers alone) in sequence and in production order to see how they progressed, or regressed. IIRC, she started as a mature woman and ended as a Beatles groupie. Though I will be putting ear plugs in for the songs.
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dissolute
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd recommend that Franky but I like Venus. You will too by the time you reach "Man in the Mirror". Smile
To my mind, she progressed from being a dull Fifties cabaret performer to a groovy beat chick. Why they ever put her in that terrible wig for the early episodes is beyond me.
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mousemeat
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dissolute wrote:
I'd recommend that Franky but I like Venus. You will too by the time you reach "Man in the Mirror". Smile
To my mind, she progressed from being a dull Fifties cabaret performer to a groovy beat chick. Why they ever put her in that terrible wig for the early episodes is beyond me.



amen...always felt that Venus, wasn't the mishap, that many felt she was...and the hair?

chalk it up to budget concerns
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Rhonda
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Happy Birthday (20th Dec) to Julie Stevens. Venus Smith is very entertaining!
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MRotten
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always fast forward past the musical numbers. They just seem like padding. But I love all of her episodes, especially A Chorus of Frogs and School for traitors.
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MikeR
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhonda wrote:
A Happy Birthday (20th Dec) to Julie Stevens. Venus Smith is very entertaining!


Having spoken to her on the 'phone and exchanged various emails with her, Julie Stevens is very entertaining!
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh she was fantastic on Play School, and all her interviews. Great charisma. The writers just didn't seem to be excited by her character. They really cottoned on to Cathy Gale, which is probably why Venus suffered.
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mrspeel01
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually can't blame the writers to be honest. Cathy Gale was something completely new, which eveyone could see. Venus, however was not. A nightclub singer was more the '50s than the new exciting '60s era. Perhaps this is why new producer John Bryce decided to change her into a younger character with the short Vidal Sisoon haircut. Not that this was any better, in my opinion.

The fact the plot always had to stop for one of her "musical" numbers did not help at all. Nor the fact that she wasn't a good singer. If she had been a real jazz singer a la Cleo Laine, for example, it might have worked. No disrespect to Julie Stevens, who was warm and likeable and deserved her later success. But Cathy, was, of course, the future and we will/should always be grateful for her.
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Allard
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget that a charterer like Cathy Gale played by a somewhat older actress was a big gamble for the makers of the show.

Venus Smith was the safe normal route. I can imagine it was comforting to have something to fall back on if the Cathy Gale thing didn't work out.
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mrspeel01
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think Honor Blackman was seen in TV land as an "older actress" at that time,in her 30s, as leading actors/actresses in TV were generally around that age or older upto this point -1962. The "youth audience" of TV was not yet as strongly considered as it would soon become in the '60s. Then the age of leading characters became younger.

However, Cathy Gale, as a character, was new and exciting and was certainly a gamble. But that was the rationale behind the series from the start-to create something new and fresh from a somewhat tried and tested formula. But yes, i can understand that Venus may have initailly been seen as a "safety net", and when Cathy was so quickly accepted by audiences, she was no longer deemed necessary.
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MasterMind
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like the Venus eps as a kind of counterpoint to the Cathy ones.

Also I think the Venus ones are important because they show the lead male character having a healthy, warm relationship with a woman that's not based on romance or sex, or on the quest for either of those things. I really like that Steed relates to Venus more as a big brother or older cousin, and she is like the little sister or younger cousin.

That kind of representation matters.
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mrspeel01
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only assume that the importance of having such a pro-active, ground breaking female Character as Cathy, especially at that time, precluded an analysis about the considered importance of the relationship between Steed and Venus. I can't imagine the then production team took the time to analyse it in the way it can be analysed today.
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MasterMind
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrspeel01 wrote:
I can only assume that the importance of having such a pro-active, ground breaking female Character as Cathy, especially at that time, precluded an analysis about the considered importance of the relationship between Steed and Venus. I can't imagine the then production team took the time to analyse it in the way it can be analysed today.


No, they probably didn't even consider it. But that doesn't mean that it's not there.

There are a lot of things that can be analyzed in Avengers that very likely were completely unintended by the creators, but are there nevertheless. That's kinda the way most human art works. And yay for that, because it gives me oodles of stuff to blog about.
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MasterMind
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allard wrote:
Don't forget that a charterer like Cathy Gale played by a somewhat older actress was a big gamble for the makers of the show.


I think it was a really good idea to hire an actress who was close in age to Macnee. It makes the whole setup of the lead characters being equals more believable to an audience that's used to the female lead being subordinate.

I think the risks they took with Cathy have more to do with the fact that she's a judoka, a crack shot, and a PhD than with her age, and having Blackman actually learn judo and do all her own stunts. Those are all things that would have been rare activities for a woman back then. That and the fact that she stands up to Steed when she feels it's warranted, and her staunch independence.

The other really radical thing was making Steed a feminist who completely embraced Cathy's independence and celebrated her talents and skills, but I suspect that was more down to Macnee's own choices about how to play the character than anything else. I will be eternally grateful for his rejection of the suggestion that he play Steed along the lines of Bond.
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Allard
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When Honor Blackman was considered for the role her age was a concern, preference was for someone younger. And I agree, Blackman was not old at the time, but this is what happened.
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MasterMind
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allard wrote:
When Honor Blackman was considered for the role her age was a concern, preference was for someone younger.


**headdesk**

I'm glad they went with Honor Blackman. I don't think that character would have worked with a younger actress. Cathy needs a bit of gravitas, and a Bright Young Thing just wouldn't have been able to carry that.

Also it's sad that our culture thinks that women somehow cease to be attractive or useful after 30. It's kinda ridiculous. And also kinda ... creepy? Like, why wouldn't you want a human being to continue to mature and grow? Actually I know the answer to that, but I think I'm gonna refrain for the moment....
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mrspeel01
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the books I have read, and have just checked, the outline/profile of the character Cathy Gale states she is approx 35 (mid 30s) The outline for Venus was as a younger character.

It is stated that Sydney Newman (often credited as "creator" of the series) who was head of drama at ABC at the time, told the then producer Leonard White when Honor's name was mentioned that he didn't want her. He said he hated those that had come through the "Rank Studios charm school". Newman felt thay were groomed to constantly smile and be amiable and he saw Cathy as a tougher character, which he didn't feel Honor could portray. But of course she did so billiantly. I haven't read/heard that her age was a concern, particularly as she fit the character outline in terms of age.

It is also stated that Moira Redmond was on the shortlist for Emma Peel (after the departure of Elizabeth Shepherd) and she is just 3 years younger than Honor! Brian Clemens often stated that it was between Moira and Diana Rigg but that it was felt a (TV) unknown was preferable, plus Diana had really impressed in her screen test and with her chemistry with Macnee.
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denis rigg
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On 27th May 2019, the team of website The Showreel Team posted the material with some interesting details about Julie Stevens: Smile

https://showreel.thetvroom.com/talent-profiles/7708/stevens-julie/#more-7708


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denis rigg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curious, I am now studying TV Times for 7-13 October 1962, and there is a little note about Julie Stevens, where she says the following about her role in The Avengers:

It is my debut as TV actress.
I did once have a part in a TV play but I was never seen. it was in a naval story. I stood behind a screen and said "Lieutenant Madison wanted in the anteroom, please!".


It is obvious that Julie talks about her work in the TV series "All Aboard". So, we now know that Julie provided only her voice in two episodes of mentioned series and her first real appearance as TV actress was in The Avengers.
Great information.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0828519

I went to study TV Times magazines further - maybe I will find something else interesting. Wink Wink Wink
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Rhonda
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting to find that out; her debut is very good!
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