Thursday, 22 December 2016
567 The Rank Charm School
First viewed : 21 September 1982
This was a one-off documentary narrated by Barry Norman about the so-called "Charm School " ( actually the "Company of Youth" ) set up by the Rank Organisation in the 1940s to nurture young talent. Much of the programme was taken up by the story of Diana Dors and her ultimately failed attempt to conquer Hollywood in the fifties. I hadn't previously known that the overweight panel show regular was once considered a serious rival to Marilyn Monroe. The programme gave comparatively little attention to the one undisputed star among the alumni , Christopher Lee.
The third most famous product was former disc jockey Pete Murray who chose a different career to acting. The other graduates interviewed were actresses who are now almost completely forgotten , Barbara Murray ( no relation ) , Peggy Evans, Susan Beaumont and Beverly Brooks. Only Beaumont and Murray (P) survive today.