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Ian, Jo, Janet, Britt And A Neurotic Peter Sellers!

Note: A larger format/ text version of the TV Times article is also available here

 

Very little is know about Ian and his first wife Joanna, a make-up artist who he met on set during an early television production. Here is a rare glimpse into that time, when both lived in a converted naval craft called ‘Two Seas‘ in Cubitts Yacht Basin, Chiswick, London W4.


Their home on the water shows the quirkiness of his character and what seemed like domestic bliss. Ian is pictured heading off to work in what looks like a Morris Minor 1000, further illustrating the relative modest nature of his lifestyle at that time.


Cubitts Yacht Basin was located near to Chiswick Bridge on the River Thames, a fashionable location and several writers, artists and other actors made their homes there. The off-river dock was sold by its owner, the Duke of Devonshire, in the mid-1970s and was subsequently redeveloped, with much of the basin being filled in and housing and a new marina constructed on the site, renamed Chiswick Quay. (Source: Avengers Declassified)


Cubitts Yacht Basin Chiswick Ian Hendry

Cubitts Yacht Basin, Chiswick Before Redevelopment (date unknown)



yacht

Aerial View Of Chiswick Quay Marina, Chiswick ( former site of Cubitts Yacht Basin )


Chiswick Quay Marina

Chiswick Quay Marina, Chiswick ( former site of Cubitts Yacht Basin )



A marvellous Pathe Newsreel clip of Cubbits Yacht Basin featuring a London showgirl who lived there (filmed in 1958, the year before Ian and Jo moved there…) can be found here. and another clip from 1951 can be found here.


It was in many ways the ‘calm before the storm’, so perhaps the nautical setting is apt. Ian was starring in Police Surgeon and his ‘star was definitely rising’. The series, although not a hit, was enough to convince those at ABC Television that Ian had the ‘star quality’ that deserved a lead role in another series. The series created for him was of course The Avengers, which would co-star Patrick Macnee. The earliest known publicity shot of Ian, taken later in 1960 by ABC Television for use in announcing this forthcoming new series can be seen here.


An interesting condition of the original contract that Ian and his agent, Fraser and Dunlop Ltd, negotiated for The Avengers, was that it would also include two future plays in the Armchair Theatre series, the precise titles and dates to be determined ‘as soon as suitable material and scripts……become available‘.


One was to be Afternoon of a Nymph (1962) and the second was A Cold Peace (1965) which starred Britt Ekland in her first appearance on British television, carefully watched by her neurotic husband, Peter Sellers. (The full story is captured beautifully by Gabriel Hershman in the biography Send In The Clowns).

 

An interesting anecdote is that my sister, Susan Hendry worked in theatre costume design for many years, latterly at the BBC. During her time there, she met a lady who had worked on the making of A Cold Peace and had some rare studio stills of Ian on stage with Britt. When she knew that Sue was Ian’s niece, she kindly said, ‘perhaps you should have have these now.’ When you see them, it is quite easy to imagine a nervous Peter Sellers lurking nearby!



It was whilst filming ‘Afternoon of a Nymph‘ that Ian met his future wife-to-be Janet Munro, which in turn led to the breakdown of his first marriage to Jo. It seems that the increasing fame and opportunities also presented increasing temptations.

Stills from ‘Afternoon of a Nymph‘ can be found here and the full Armchair Theatre production can be watched here.

 

A copy of the original contract and form of engagement that Ian signed for The Avengers is included below.


Ian Hendry Police Surgeon TV Times October 9th - 15th 1960 copy Ian Hendry TV Times October 9th - 15th 1960-5 copy Ian Hendry TV Times October 9th - 15th 1960-7 copy


Note: A larger format/ text version of the TV Times article is also available here  


TV Times Listing for Police Surgeon – 7pm Saturday evening, just prior to the Vera Lynn Show – Saturday Spectacular!


Ian Hendry Police Surgeon TV Times October 9th - 15th 1961 copy    


Extract of part of The Avengers Contact List produced for the episode ‘The Springers’ (1961) The Avengers Contact List Extract 'The Springers' 1961


The original contract and form of engagement for The Avengers, prepared for Ian Hendry to sign. The Avengers Contract 1961 Ian Hendry


The Avengers Contract 1961 Ian Hendry 2 The Avengers Contract 1961 Ian Hendry 3


Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Website of Ian Hendry


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Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography: Read:  ‘Send in the Clowns – The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry’ by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry


Comment and Share Please! We love to read all your comments and appreciate it when you take time to share the articles. It really helps a site like ours in the search engines too! Please share and comment on this article using the form below: Official Website of Ian Hendry – Homepage

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