Bond Girls Extra – Should Have Beens

Greetings, Glancers! If you thought I was finished with Bond Girls after my other three posts (here, here, and there) you are double oh wroong. Today we allow our imaginations to fly by asking a question – this question – which actresses (or former Miss Worlds as the case may be) would have made a great Bond Girl? A Bond Girl has to be any number of things – beautiful, alluring, possibly dangerous, possibly exotic, and it helps if they are a decent performer (matron).

I’m going to pick ten women from each decade who I feel would have been interesting choices – actresses who it would have been cool to have seen capering around with Connery, Moore, Brosnan and co, either as a traditional Bond Girl or femme fatale. Have a gander at these actresses and let us know in the comments which choices you agree with.

1960s:

  1. Claudia Cardinale

Arguably the finest European actress on my list, she had the dark, sultry look, big eyes, and the acting chops to stand alongside anyone. Would probably have been a brothel owner working for the movie’s villain but would switch sides to Bond.

2. Audrey Hepburn

A pipe dream choice to be sure as the Bond films have never been draws for already superstar actresses but still, Hepburn’s beauty and class mean she would have fit in wonderfully to any imagine Bond movie – most likely as the high class wife of a movie villain who spends her days wandering lonely through casinos and yachts.

3. Catherine Deneuve

Another international star, Deneuve could just as likely play a villain as goodie and could have played the role of a woman who was out only to achieve her own goals, becoming embroiled in or even aiding some international nefarious plot, playing Bond and the villain off each other so that she could further her own interests.

4. Natalie Wood

Although it would happen much later, has a tragic status which is something sort of common to Bond Actresses, Wood having the sympathetic looks which would have allowed her to shine in the role of a woman out for revenge after the villain killed her parents.

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5. Jean Marsh

Clearly a femme fatale, Jean Marsh strikes me as someone who would have been a terrific villain, arguably pulling the strings for the main bad guy or even being the central antagonist herself. I can just imagine that malevolent smirk as she coldbloodedly watches someone Bond cares for die.

6. Ruby Dee

Quite possibly the best African-American actress who ever lived, Ruby Dee would have been a great catch for the Bond series in the 60s and she could have played a progressive role as a Civil Rights campaigner caught up in an assassination plot.

7. Brigitte Bardot

One of the biggest sex symbols of all time, and therefore a prime candidate for Bond. Unlike may of her peers, particularly on my list, Bardot’s films have always taken a back seat to her own notoriety – appearing in something as big as a Bond film would have been just the ticket to snatch back some of that balance.

8. Sharon Tate

Again we have the tragedy factor, Tate being cut down before she had the chance to turn into a full blown star, and I get the sense that she could have played the role of a mistress/slave or flighty fun lover who Bond runs into very well.

9. Cher

A choice many will balk at I’m sure, but Cher was hot in her younger days. She tested the movie waters in the late sixties and while she was still inexperienced could have had a duel role in a Bond movie by providing the song and having a minor role, possibly as a club singer. With secrets. Sexy secrets.

10. Raquel Welch

A choice others have probably mentioned before, and another sex symbol whose movies never quote lived up to her name. Welch could have been a strong Caroline Munro type villainess, entrapping Bond and trying to slice him up before accidentally catching a bullet.

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1970s:

  1. Nora Miao

Bruce Lee’s main go to for beauty and dignity, Miao picked up some athletic skills in her time with Golden Harvest, skills which could have been put to good use in another 70s Roger Moore romp with ninjas, deadly kung fu warriors, and even deadlier boobs.

2. Barbara Hershey

While we’re on the subject of deadly boobs, Barbara Hershey was popular in the 70s though it wasn’t until the next decade that her acting talents were accepted. A younger Hershey could have been great as a hippie under the influence of some cult leader/drug criminal baron who needed a good stabbing.

3. Julie Christie

Too high profile and too much of a critical darling to ever appear in something so lewd as a Bond movie, Christie nevertheless could have slotted in as a Stateswoman type, one of those characters Bond meets along the way but isn’t overly important to the plot. Christie likely would have wanted a bigger part though (and Bond would have obliged).

4. Adrienne Barbeau

While we’re on the subject of bigger parts, Adrienne Barbeau was, and still is a cult figure due to her 70s and 80s work and her performances in action and horror TV and cinema mean she would have been slotted in nicely to Bond’s world. I see her as a feisty type, possibly a CIA operative or a good old horse rustler in some Southern State – Bond horse chase scenes, we don’t have enough of those.

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5. Isabelle Hupert

Frequently mentioned as the finest actress working today, Hupert has been at it for years, stunning audiences in the 70s with her ability and charm. Bond usually ends up in France and other southern European regions and Hupert could have made for solid company cruising around the narrow streets in a convertible.

6. Debbie Harry

The pop punk icon was more known for her acting jobs in the following decade, but Bond could have got his hands on her first – lets stick her in the baddie camp as some sort of sexy bodyguard or administrative executive.

7. Carrie Fisher

Moonraker capitalized on Star Wars – why not go one further and have Bond seduce the finest Princess in the Galaxy? Fisher was always versatile, but I think her natural snarky way would have made her an entertaining comic and dramatic foil for Moore, trading barbs, fists, and eventually bodily fluids.

8. Isabelle Adjani

Everyone’s go to gal for a bit of foreign fluff in the 1970s, Adjani would become a two time Oscar nominated actress so her acting chops are up to scratch – most of you reading this are likely more interested in scratching her ass chops but since I have no idea what you’re talking about lets call her out as another baddie.

9. Barbara Magnolfi

While we’re on the subject of baddies, Magnolfi had that wicked vixen look in the 70s where you weren’t sure if she was a woman or a witch. Moore was all about the wacky times, so lets have Magnolfi as some dark arts purveyor, casting hexes and causing prominent politicians and businessmen to lose their minds, lives, and underwear.

10. Edwige Fenech

While we’re on the subject of witches, Fenech was popular in many Italian giallo movies of the time as well as many sex comedies. Appearing in a Bond film then probably wouldn’t have been much of a stretch for her and she could have had a minor role as someone who invites Bond into a dodgy situation only to turn the tables on him and see him captured, by the good guys or the baddies.

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1980s:

  1. Linda Hamilton

The original badass, Linda Hamilton never got the credit she deserved. Sure she was in the massive Terminator movies but appearing the Bond franchise could have given her an added boost. I’ll always see her as a motherly type, so why not have Bond assigned to help her protect her child, not necessarily from a robot from the future, but from a globe-trotting terrorist ex husband or some such nonsense.

2. Susanna Hoffs

Was there anyone hotter than The Hoffs in the 80s? Is there anyone hotter now? The answer to both questions is ‘No’, and Bond most certainly would not have said ‘No’ to her had she said ‘My my, double oh seven, would you mind helping me to unclasp my bra, my bosoms need fresh air’. It’s how people spoke in the 80s. It was the breast of times.

3. Nancy Loomis

Ah Nancy, with your smokey looks, sarcastic ways, and failure to star in enough good movies. She mostly retired from acting in the 80s, but one final hurrah in a Bond movie would have brought her to an even bigger audience – I see her as a wise-ass military type, chewing gum and showing Bond her guns. Guns to buy, borrow, use to kill baddies of course, not her other guns you dirty minded dirtbag. Oh yeah, she’s show her tits too.

4. Sharon Stone

While we’re on the subject of showing tits, Sharon Stone was just making a name for herself in this decade in various action movies and sequels. A Bond movie would have propelled her quicker, and even in this period she had the look of a femme fatale and leading lady, able to hold her own with Moore or Dalton. I see her as a gangster’s mol, someone with a shady present and shadier past, but those secrets might just be the key to Bond completing his mission.

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5. Melinda Culea

I watched a lot of TV in the 80s, so that explains my next couple of picks. I have a soft (hard) spot for actresses who appear in shows I love but who rarely go beyond. Melinda was Amy in The A-Team so would have been used to a bunch of guys, guns, and exploding things. Bond would have exploded all over her face had she appeared in a movie with him.

6. Patricia McPherson

This time it’s Bonnie from Knight Rider – both franchises could have capitalized by having her appear in a Bond movie so why not have a silly almost crossover role where she helps Q in designing some new supercar for Bond to tear about in.

7. Heather Langenkamp

I’ve always felt that Langenkamp should have been an A-lister, an unconventional beauty with a wide acting talent but for whatever reason it never happened. Appearing while she was still relatively young in the 80s meant she could have appeared in a Bond movie as a trainee agent, possibly in the cold open, suffering a mishap at the hands of a bad guy or aiding Bond in his quest for daily orgasms.

8. Jenny Agutter

We’ve had a lot of American performers on the list, but not too many Brits. I can’t honestly think of too many British stars in the 80s who were both beautiful and talented – Jenny Agutter fits the bill and had already appeared in numerous notable worldwide hits. As I type I think she would actually have made a good fit as a wife of one of Bond’s co-workers – we know Felix already got/gets married so why not have her married to another agent, perhaps one who gets killed or goes rogue – Bond doesn’t always have to do a sex on all of the women.

9. Sandahl Bergman

Continuing the loose theme of 80s badasses rather than obvious looks, Bergman is a beast, as shown in her various sword ‘n’ sorcery outings, and a damn good actress too – but again never made enough high profile films to get recognition. An accomplished dancer and stuntwoman, she could have played a good guy or a bad guy, and dancers usually appear in every Bond movies. How about a dancer who is also an assassin?

10. Beatrice Dalle

While we’re on the subject of beasts, Beatrice Dalle in Betty Blue and Inside fits the bill. We’ve got to have her as a vamp, an early prototype for Xenia Onotopp, and would have done well in the darker Dalton movies – I see some energetic sex and fight scenes between them.

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1990s:

  1. Neve Campbell

My wife in another life, I would cast Neve in anything if I was a filmmaker. Her name was hot in the 90s, so a starring role in a Bond movie wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary. Those eyes, full of sympathy and tragedy, would have been perfect for the central love interest of the film but her strength and willingness to push herself means she would have been a more action oriented 90s Bond girl.

2. Kari Wuhrer

Some may say we’re descending now to Denise Richards levels of acting and, you know, I’ve never had a problem with her as an actress. Sure she wasn’t great in The World Is Not Enough but that was more down to the part being given to her (matron). Kari Wuhrer plied her trade mostly in soft core porn thrillers, but more significantly in the action and sci-fi oriented Sliders. She could play the buxom mistress or the riot grrrl soldier, and her looks will entice many a viewer.

3. Nicole Eggert

I had to get someone from Baywatch, with Pammy being the obvious choice. I go for Nicole though, I preferred Summer to CJ and Pamela’s assets would have become too much of a hammy focus. Nicole was gorgeous in the nineties and I have no doubt could have made for a watchable lead Bond girl.

4. Sarah Michelle Gellar

It’s Buffy herself (is there a Buffy/James Bond crossover fan fiction? Get on that, weirdos). Gellar rarely gets the credit for her acting chops but in BVTS and Cruel Intentions in particular she shows a high caliber. It’s difficult for me to envision where she would actually fit in a Bond movie, pretty much because I always see her as Buffy, but at her commercial peak it would been interesting to see her as a strong women in a world of cold-hearted killers.

5. Winona Ryder

Maybe my most consistent favourite actress ever – she’s always been there in some shape or form through my life and pops up in many of my favourite films. Why not have her in one of my favourite franchises too? I see her as a more flirtatious Moneypenny type figure, and would like to have seen her in multiple films – something I’ve always said the series sorely lacks. She could work with Bond or M or Q or somebody and return in a handful of movies in a short series of scenes and I’d be happy.

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6. Sandra Bullock

The go to girl next door actress for action movies before she became the deserving Oscar bait she is now, it seems odd that Bullock never made it into a Bond movie. Sure she basically had action covered in Speed and Demolition Man, but lets not ruin a good thing – Bond hasn’t had a bumbling, innocent, all action, all American girl for a while.

7. Fairuza Balk

Where did Fairuza go? Always on the verge of greatness, or at least cult stardom, Fairuza appears to be the antithesis of the Bond girl. Balk has never been less than awesome in anything I’ve seen her in but in recent years has appeared mainly in Indie movies or has focused on artwork instead of acting. Her apparent attraction to darker roles means she could have crafted a villain of true depth and danger, a character who would stand out among femme fatales and henchmen.

8. Claire Forlani

The British born Forlani has played a wide range of characters from different cultural backgrounds, with experience in drama, action, comedy, romance and more. Although she has appeared in some high profile films and shows, she isn’t a household name, but as she was on the rise in the 90s her eye-catching beauty and acting experience mean she could have fit any mould of Bond girl.

9. Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash…. yeah, I think she could have made an entertaining bimbo character – one of those single scene Bond girls. I’m sure she could have been much more of course, but that’s the role that leaps out at me when I think of her.

10. Salma Hayek

She knows her way around a gun, a fight scene, a reel of difficult dialogue, and your eye is naturally drawn to her when she makes an appearance. I don’t think the whole Latino or South American thing has been explored too much and Hayek have made for a captivating local with ties to the bad guys or some sort of underground resistance which Bond gets involved in.

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2000s:

  1. Jennifer Love Hewitt

Another Party Of Five alumni, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s fame continued into the 2000s with a string of successful comedies, but outside of a Jackie Chan escapade and some minor efforts she never gut her teeth on big budget action or drama. Out of all the teen dramas which were born out of the late 90s, Hewitt is surely the hottest actress among them, and if there’s one thing Bond is attracted to like Blofeld is attracted to pussy, it’s hotness. Brosnan or Craig could have had some smouldering chemistry with her.

2. Kou Shibasaki

One of the many shining lights of Battle Royale, Shibasaki was all set for Western stardom after being hand-picked by Tarantino for Kill Bill. As fate would have it, she had to pull out and another BR co-star took her place. Since then she has made a tonne of movies and shows all over the world, but a Bond movie would have catapulted her into stardom. It would be easy to see her have a similar role in a Bond movie as she had in BR, but I’m sure she could have just as easily played the main love interest.

3. Emily Procter

Procter came to attention in 2000 for her superb fast-talking turn in The West Wing before moving on to one of those CSI shows I’ve never watched – presumably there is more talking in those, as well as action. Owner of arguably the best accent/voice combo you’ll ever hear, Procter would have done well as either some stereotypical Southern gal bimbo or more appropriately a smooth talkin’, gun totin’ small town cop.

4. Gigi Edgley

With so many movies being filmed in Australia to save money, why not use some Australian actresses? Edgley is best known for her energetic, unique performance as Chiana in Farscape but has shown plenty of dramatic chops over the years. I think she could channel her inner demon and make for an interesting villain or good guy and with her dance background could get herself into some contorted shapes. Plus she would be the second Farscape actress to ‘Bond it up’.

5. Brooke Satchwell

Staying in Oz, I had to get a Neighbours actress in somewhere so why not our Brooke. She’s had plenty of TV appearances since leaving Ramsey Street, but no major movies. Why not have her starring alongside Gigi, possibly as yet another daughter figure who Bond has to save from her clothes?

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6. Thandie Newton

Classy, beautiful, smoking hot, and no stranger to spy escapades, Thandie has all the obvious qualities of a Bond girl and would be a formidable lead alongside Craig. I’m running out of things to say about each actress now without repeating myself, but out of all of the picks Newton seems one of the most obvious.

7. Clemence Poesy

Foreign, exotic, gorgeous, great actor. Apparently she’s in the Harry Potter movies but I haven’t seen those. I first saw her in Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot and she has since had quite a few hits in quite a few genres. One thing she should have on her bucket list though is flying around in a parachute with a secret agent while bad guys try to shoot them out of the sky.

8. Asia Argento

Dario’s hot daughter is a goddess among horror actresses and has a highly varied screen experience. Pop her in a Bond movie and she is sure to make an immediate impact, going toe to toe with any villain or spy.

9. Megan Fox

Poor Megan Fox gets a bad rap. Sure, I haven’t seen her in too many movies but she was excellent in Jennifer’s Body and she ticks all the boxes for nudey times. This seems like an obvious fit for me as any number of US archetypes for Bond to tangle with. In the nudey.

10. Rachel Miner

Poor Rachel Miner was set for stardom after a string of impressive performances in good movies. Since those early days she hasn’t had the major success she seemed destined for – an appearance in a Bond movie would surely have helped. No stranger to harrowing or difficult subject matter she has the range to tackle anything and the looks to keep jaws open.

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Future: Just a brief look at some people I think would be a good fit in future Bond outings.

  1. Juno Temple

Another Harry Potter person, is she? Temple is easily one of the best actresses of her generation with a series of stunning performances. Get her in there.

2. Scarlet Vas

Neighbours again, because why the hell not. I’ve only known she existed for a few weeks now, but look at her. Get her in.

3. Alexandra Daddario

Making waves with her assets, she has appeared in some high profile shows and films recently. Bond would raise her game.

4. Emilia Clarke

Dragons, cyborgs, weird guys in wheelchairs. All she needs now is Bond.

5. Kate Mara

Hot. Sultry. Great actor. No excuse.

6. Caitlin Stasey

Look, it’s Neighbours again. I know you’re all going to pick Eliza Taylor as your Oz person, but I go for Stasey. If you know anything about her then you’ll agree it would be super interesting to actually see her in something so male-oriented as a Bond film.

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7. Jennifer Lawrence

Hollywood’s favourite A-lister, they don’t usually show up in Bond films. Get her in, she’d be awesome.

8. Emma Roberts

Ticks all the boxes once more and could be a perfect new femme fatale for a new generation.

9. Lucy Fry

I didn’t intend to pick so many Australians, but there you go. Gorgeous, good actor, in.

10. Peyton List

Plenty of TV shows, no big movie yet. Sort that out – get her in.

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There are many many others I could have picked from each decade, particularly the 90s onwards – I wanted Milla Jovovich and Sherilyn Fenn and Freida Pinto and others on the list but either remembered them after I’d made my choices and couldn’t be arsed changing them, or felt they were too similar to others. Additionally, I’ve sickened myself with such a bloke’s post so anymore would be too much. If you’re pick isn’t here, chances are I’d already thought of them, but stick them in the comments anyway. Let me know you think would have made a great Bond girl, or still could in the future. Don’t just throw names out there, give us a reason beyond ‘they’re hot’ or what sort of character they should be.

Don’t forget to check out all of the other great James Bond Blogathon posts courtesy of Maddylovesherclassicfilms – they will be running all weekend so should be plenty of things to read for Bond fans, and probably much better than my muck!

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Nightman Listens To Bryan Adams – Room Service

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Greetings, Glancers! Well here we are at album number 10 for Mr Adams. Quite a feat sir, quite a feat. We’ve had highs, we’ve had lows, but I’m still listening baby. If an artist or band hasn’t gone sour by album 10, they are a rare breed, but time catches up on us all. Has time caught up with Adams here? I’ve no idea as I’m not confident that I have heard a single song from this album. The song ‘This Side Of Paradise’ sounds familiar, but I won’t know till I actually listen. According to online sources the album still sold fairly well worldwide, but didn’t make an impact in the US due to Adams not having a record company or something. It seems like most critics had abandoned him by now too, not that they were ever really on his side, to be fair. But I will be fair, for I am The Nightman, and wherever there are experiences to experience, The Nightman will give his four cents (the other two are a tip). What was I doing again? Ah yes.

‘East Side Story’ starts with Guitar and swirly noises. Familiar scratchy vocals. Basic verse. Sudden chorus. Fine. Plain. Doesn’t really rock, doesn’t really sway. Just nice, music for happy, well adjusted types.

‘This Side Of Paradise’ sounds like another light one. Spoken vocals. Oldsmobile. Sweet again. Nice again. Plain again. No edge, nothing infectious. I have no memory of this. I assume in a month’s time I will have no memory of this. Come on Bryan, ain’t you got another good’un in ya?

‘Not Romeo, Not Juliet’ opens with a jaunty piano and guitar duet. A little bit blues, a little bit country, a little bit rock. Now a little chorus with a little organ. He really loves his not-quite-ballads. This is basically the same song three times in a row. You can’t help but yawn. Still, I can’t really criticize it, it’s the sort of thing plenty people will enjoy – for me, it’s boring and inoffensive.

‘Flying’ is, cripes, it’s another ballad. This one feels better. Do people actually have sex (sorry, ‘make love’) all day? Wouldn’t you chafe? This is one for the candles and lighters and swaying arms. It’s better but still a little dull when compared with his bigger ballads.

‘She’s A Little Too Good For Me’ is faster, seems more upbeat. Still in lovey dovey ballad territory though. Woo, there we go. Drums. Decent lyrics. Reminds me of ‘Never Be Another Tonight’. This is good then – not quite good enough to make me sing its praises, but fun enough to make me want to listen again. Short too.

‘Open Road’ sounds like something from the last album. Up-tempo again. Driving song. Should have repeated that ‘on and on’ piece to enhance the bridge. Okay chorus. Two better songs then, three if we include ‘Flying’. Which we probably should. Lower grade hits are these  – songs to hide in your shuffle that will only pop out every few hundred songs to remind you that they exist. Still waiting for another song you want to have on your shuffle every ten songs.

I Was Only Dreaming‘ gets off into ballad territory, but immediately this one is much stronger. I actually like the brass just after the chorus. The verses are plain but they feel as if they are leading to something stronger, which they do – a good bridge, and a good chorus. Naturally, I like the strings and the whole arrangement is sound – this is more of an honest love song without being bogged down in sentiment or effort and as such is the best song on the album so far.

Right Back Where I Started From‘ opens with decent guitar, sounding more like the successful mid-nineties Adams stuff. It’s mid-tempo, gently rocks, but crucially it has clear melodies in the big chorus and fluttering through the verses. It feels like a happy, fun song and continues the increase in quality in the album’s second half.

Nowhere Fast‘ feels like another decent song. It’s another love song, because of course it is. But the melodies are there – verse, bridge, chorus – all good. Again it feels honest, and nothing is strained or forced. Nice little middle break for a few moments too.

Why Do You Have To Be So Hard To Love‘ starts off like a slow country ballad, little flutterings of piano and subtle guitar licks. A little bit of string in there too. It’s sweet enough, a nice one for a swaying dance though I’m not sure if the lyrics really qualify for such close quarters. This is a song about frustration so it would be better suited to some romantic drama where the woman throws a mug at the guy and the guy sits alone at a bar while some temptation slides up beside him. And then it’s over fairly quickly, a good choice rather than dragging the song out, so quite good overall.

Blessing In Disguise‘ is.. ugh… he’s just gone full country. I just don’t like this whole sound, never have. Uppy downy guitar, honky tonk piano and the same melodies you’ve heard since Billy The Kid was cruising the bars in the Old West. Okay, it does end up more like a blues country song by the end, but it’s just the opposite of everything I like.

Well, that final song sure dampened things after they were picking up. The album got off to a poor, slow start abut things improved around halfway. There is a terrible reliance on ballads and too many of the tracks lack ambition or stand out enough from their brethren present or past. There’s a few songs here that I’d gladly listen to again that I wasn’t previously aware of, but it isn’t an album I’d recommend from Adams and until I’m more familiar with the few good songs I couldn’t recommend those over other more obvious picks from his back catalogue. Still, it’s interesting to see the direction he went in for this album and I’m interested to see if his follow-up 11 follows in this vein. I don’t have high hopes for that one, but maybe we’ll get a few surprises.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Room Service!

Neighbours – Bonus Post 4

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Well. That’s all over with. The ‘Dee’ storyline has come and gone, wrecking numerous relationships and apparently pissing off a lot of viewers. I found it all desperately sad and was holding out for some miracle that fake Dee was real Dee in the end. Alas. Presumably Dee/Andrea or the kid will come back in the future, but for now they are gone and Toadie is a hundred grand poorer and has been thrown out for slipping one in.

Elsewhere, we’ve had the revelation of who Leo and David’s father is and the associated fallout, Brad and Lauren left, and Toadie’s brother Shane and his family have moved in to the street. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here so I can drone on for a while about some of my favourite residents, past and/or present, and today we’ve reached the letter KAY. And that can only mean one thing – MISTER….. KENNEDYYYYYY!……………. KENNEDYYY (Anderson). Wha?

Billy Kennedy – Jesse Spencer (1994 – 2000, 2005)

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Significant Others: The Kennedy Family. Anne Wilkinson. Melissa Drenth. Caitlin Atkins. Toadie. Lance. Amy.

Billy was arguably the central figure of The Kennedy family when he first arrived, his friendships and romances a focal point for many years. He was good looking, a little naive, was always getting into trouble even though his heart was in the right place, and his friendship with Toadie and Lance became a major draw, along with the other core members. It was however his on again off again romance with Anne Wilkinson that kept viewers intrigued – the closest thing to a Scott and Charlene that the show had in the 90s.

Special Power: Grows cabbages under his fingernails.

Where Are They Now:

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Billy left with Anne in 2000 and subsequently got married and had three kids – a new generation of Kennedys to appear in the future no doubt, hopefully not after Anne and Billy divorce. Billy appeared in the 2005 20th Anniversary show, strolling along a beach in LA. That’s because Jessie Spencer landed a hot job in the US – main role in House, followed up by a starring role in Chicago Fire, which sounds like an American London’s Burning. 

Libby Kennedy – Kym Valentine (1994 – 2014)

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Significant Others: The Kennedys, Drew Kirk, Ben Kirk, The Kinskis, Darren Stark, Daniel Fitzgerald. Steph Scully. Taj Coppin.

It’s fair to say that Libby is one of, if not my favourite Neighbours character. Bad ass all around. Her introduction greatly pleased my adolescent self, thanks to her assets. She was smart, feisty, yet always got involved with the wrong man. All until Drew came along and she finally felt settled. Till he was killed by a horse. Of course. Libby became a teacher, following her mum’s footsteps, and drama continued to follow her until she began a series of departures from the show – first in 2005, returning in 2007, and popping back and forth until 2014 where it appears she has left for good. I missed many of those last years after I stopped watching around 2007 or 2008.

Special Power: Breasts

Where Are They Now:

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Kym Valentine has sadly had several health issues in the last few years which contributed to her leaving the show. Of all the characters I’d want to see ending up happy, whether that means in a stable relationship or whatever, I’d love to see her coming back to reach that dream as Kym does such a great job in the role. There’s always a chance she’ll be back of course, given that Libby’s teenage son Ben is in the show now while she is teaching in China. Fingers crossed!

Mal Kennedy – Benjamin McNair (1994 – 2014)

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Significant Others: The Kennedys, Danni Stark, Stonefish, Catherine O’Brien.

There are many rumours and suggestions for the origins of my nickname – Mal – it’s part of my name, it’s Latin (etc) for evil, and because people knew I was a Neighbours fan back in the day and thought it was funny to call me this after one of its characters. Anyway, Mal was never a major figure, at least to me, in the show – he was the one Kennedy with the less interesting plots and the least screen time, so it seemed. Still, he’s a familiar face and has popped back every so often, typically with some new personality traits, and he’s alive and well so can return again at any point.

Special Power: Can swivel his pelvis 360 degrees.

Where Are They Now:

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He left after three years and it looked like he wouldn’t be back. Then he came back in 2002, his mischievous ways replaced by a ruthless, money-driven ego. Since then he was been away and been back several times, never staying longer than a few months. He and Catherine are still together in London now, both successful business types or something.

Karl Kennedy – Alan (1994 – Present)

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Significant Others: The Kennedys, The Kinskis, Sarah Beaumont, Darcy, Izzy, Ben Kirk, Holly Hoyland, pretty much everyone on the show for the last 20 odd years.

The legend. The daddy of the show’s longest running stable (sort of) family, Dr Kennedy, a some time singer, womanizer, and tight-wad, Karl has had several spicy affairs, fights with his kids and their partners, brushes with death, law suits, and everything else. But he’s still standing, and now acts, along with Susan, as the show’s emotional, nostalgic, and humourous core, like Harold and Lou before. That’s not to say he doesn’t still get his fair share of interesting stories, but more often now Karl is there to put a smile on your face or a laugh on your… feet? We’ve known him for so long now, he is Neighbours. 

Special Power: Obscene limericks.

Where Are They Now:

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Still on the show! 23 years now, and still going strong.

Susan Kennedy – Jackie Woodburn (1994 – Present)

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Significant Others: See Karl’s entry (matron)

The other legend. I’ll be honest, I had a crush on Susan too. Maybe it was some adolescent fantasy that, while I was more interested in Libby I didn’t think she would ever like me so I’d have a crack at her ma instead (never mind the fact that we were thousands of miles apart and they were fictional characters). Fun fact – I did eventually have a Maths teacher who looked an awful lot like her, though I did not have a crack at her. Fun fact 2 – I did have a crack at her daughter though – more than a crack in fact. MUCH MORE. Susan has seen and done it all in her years on the show – she has been teacher and Headmistress at Erinsborough High for decades now and has had her fair share of sexual escapades. She did a Twin Peaks, losing her memory and thinking she was 16, she has had to put up with Karl’s cheating and singing since the 70s, and has been through surrogacy and health scare storylines often being the character who most honestly depicts difficult real life plots.

Special Power: Her long black hair isn’t gone – it’s hiding in her tear ducts and it can be spooled out at a moment’s notice and used to garrote unsuspecting visitors.

Where Are They Now:

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Also still on the show, and still with Karl, and still in the School, and still taking on strays and family members such as Ben, Elly, and Angus. This pair and Toadie and Steph are my main ties to my peak viewing period so long may they continue!

How many more of these things will I write? To find out, keep coming back for more – it’s torture! Feel free to add your thoughts about The Kennedy family or any of the other Neighbours characters in the comments below.

1971 Academy Awards – An Introduction

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The 44th Academy Awards had three films with runaway success – pity for everyone else. Fiddler On The Roof, The Last Picture Show, and The French Connection each received eight nominations with the latter taking the most wins with five. It was another sign of the film landscape leaning towards more gritty output – realism rather than fantasy, and real people struggling with genuine problems which viewers could relate to.

As usual the standard list of performers were called upon to present awards and sing – Frank Capra, Betty Grable, Tennesse Williams, Gene Hackman, and Liza Minelli all presented, while The Carpenters, Issac Hayes, and Henry Mancini were among those performing. Another notable moment was when Charlie Chaplin arrived to receive an Honourary Award, also picking up the longest standing ovation in Oscar’s history.

As for my thoughts on the films of 1971 – some of the major official players will feature heavily while a few under-represented, cult, and personal favourites will get some stealth nominations. Join me over the next few weeks and share your thoughts and picks in each category!

Best Cast – 1970

First, apologies for my absence last week – I was gallivanting around the countryside and couldn’t be arsed doing any internet things. Now, this:

My Nominations: Airport. Catch-22. Cromwell. Five Easy Pieces. Kelly’s Heroes. The Kremlin Letter. MASH. Ryan’s Daughter.

Another of my favourite categories, in that it has been unsullied by Academy rules and politics, this one you are free to choose between ensemble performance, a smaller group of strong performances within a larger cast, or simply having a stellar cast performing together. Pick what you like, basically. With the 70s, many of my most favourite performers, and some of the most respected of all time, began coming to the fore meaning we have films with these up and comers reaching their peak in films alongside past masters and veterans. The historical epic was given way to smaller director led films, though there was still plenty of room for films with ensembles thanks to the disaster movie.

Airport surely kicks things off having both a large cast of stars and a couple of acting awards and nominations. The cast includes Burt Lancaster, Helen Hayes, Dean Martin, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton, George Kennedy, and Jacqueline Bisset, and doesn’t only feature them in minor roles. Likewise, Catch-22 goes for big names with Alan Arkin, Orson Welles, Anthony Perkins, Martin Sheen, Bob Newhart, Jon Voight, Art Garfunkel, Martin Balsam, Bob Balaban, and others as military misfits. MASH gives its key players bigger roles – from Donald Sutherland to Elliot Gould, Tom Skerritt to Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall to Carl Gottlieb. On the smaller side of things, Five Easy Pieces features strong outings from Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Susan Anspatch and The Kremlin Letter has Bibi Andersson, Orson Welles, Max Von Sydow, Richard Boone, Nigel Green and more.

My final three choices are more of the same – Kelly’s Heroes brings together old pals Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Telly Savalas once again, Cromwell sees Timothy Dalton joining Richard Harris, Alec Guiness, Patrick Wymark, Charles Gray and others while Ryan’s Daughter has Sarah Miles, Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, and John Mills hamming things up.

My Winner: MASH

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It’s a toss-up between the ensembles, so in the end it may come down to who you prefer or which film you like more. Let us know in the comments which film of 1970 you would give the Best Cast Award to!