PRESS UPDATE : THE WESTMORLAND GAZETTE .. APRIL 16TH 2016 ..
LETTER: The day I interviewed Dynasty star Joan Collins!
This occurred when she visited the area to help promote a planned film called The Pike, which was intended to be the freshwater answer to 'Jaws'. It was based on a book by that name by Chris Twemlow, of Manchester, who was producing the film and had asked me, as a freelance journalist living in Windermere, if I could help with publicity.
The news of the auctioning of actress Joan Collins' dresses in December brought back to mind the wonderful red suit she wore when I interviewed her on the shores of Windermere on a very sunny day in May 1982.
He said that Joan Collins would be coming up to Windermere to help promote it, and an Ulverston firm (Ulvertech Ltd.) had been commissioned to build a mechanical pike to perform alongside her on the 'launch' day (May 13). I agreed to help, and was promised a personal interview with her for doing so.
On the day the mechanical pike did not perform according to plan, but Joan did, playing her starring role role to perfection.
With great humour, she smiled and shone her way through the whole event, including putting her head in the jaws of the pike, which had been manually forced open for the purpose. The large crowd of onlookers who had gathered were delighted, with many taking some great pictures of her they would treasure forever.
I then got my interview with Joan, who looked radiant in the bright sunshine. I found her a warm and lovely person, and not at all the insensitive character she had portrayed in 'Dynasty'.
She told me she had been let off Dynasty temporarily to shoot 'Nutcracker' in London, which is why she was able to be in the Lakes. She was enchanted by the Lakes, explaining: "I have never been to the Lake District before. But I always wanted to come, as my father used to fish here."
I have always been an admirer of hers since, and followed her career with interest as it has gone from glory to glory - and is still ongoing.
But the career of the mechanical pike was not so enduring. It's teething problems were sorted out but it did not perform again in the lake. However, a full-size glass fibre model was loaned to the Low Wood Water Sports Centre, where it was hung up as a tourist attraction.
I wonder whether that red dress I saw her in was one of those auctioned.