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Lorna McDonald was a blonde fashion model from the Lucy Clayton agency who, in the 1960s, became famous, though anonymously, as the young woman who jumped into Simon Dee’s white open-top E-type Jaguar car at the end of each edition of BBC television's chat show, Dee Time (1967-9).[1]

Dee Time closing credits[]

Dressed in a mini-skirt and “kinky”-style boots, McDonald’s image was seen every Saturday evening [2] by as many as 14 million people [3] as she was driven away by Dee Time's host, the sports jacketed Simon Dee:

Dee was introduced by the announcer Len Martin ... There would follow interviews with actors, comedians and pop stars ... and the show would end with footage of Dee driving off in an E-type Jaguar with a leggy blonde.[4]

Filming[]

The sequence, which was overseen by the show's producer, Terry Henebery, was filmed at the entrance to the Piccadilly Plaza hotel in Manchester, the location of Dee Time before it moved to London in September 1967. It was McDonald's own idea to jump over the door after being asked by Henebery if she could get into the car more quickly. The cameraman was in the boot, from where he continued to film as Dee drove McDonald around the city. At one point, McDonald appeared to be emitting a "cry of ecstasy", but, as Henebery recalled many years later, she was actually in pain because she had caught her leg under the dashboard.[5]

Impact and context of the Dee/McDonald sequence[]

McDonald's Dee Time sequence has been described as both “iconic” of the times [6] and a "visual cliché" that lent itself to parody (for example, by comedian Benny Hill).[7] Indeed, Dee's biographer Richard Wiseman, who was associate producer of a "one-off" revival of Dee Time for Channel 4 in 2003, considered that the scene was what "most people who lived in Britain during the Sixties will remember him for".[8] Fellow DJ Tony Blackburn illustrated this when he recalled that, having been being advised by the head of BBC's Radio 1 (which opened a week after Dee Time moved to London) to drive a car more in keeping with his status as a "star", he chose an E-type "partly inspired by the famous Dee Time titles".[9]

Wider context[]

The sequence was illustrative of the wider use of stylish cars, especially sports cars, in the British mass media of the 1960s. Other examples included films, such as those of James Bond and, in 1969, The Italian Job, with its famous "getaway" scene; television series, including The Avengers and The Saint; and advertisements for petrol (gasoline), notably those for National [10] and Regent (featuring, in 1966-7, the Regent "cowgirl", Caroline Saunders [11]). The 1965 film Catch Us If You Can, an outlet for the rock group the Dave Clark Five, featured a scene similar to that of Dee and McDonald in which Dave Clark drove Barbara Ferris around London in an E-type.

External links[]

Notes[]

  1. Richard Wiseman (2006) Whatever Happened to Simon Dee?
  2. Dee Time was initially broadcast twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, but moved to Saturday evening on 23 September 1967.
  3. Wiseman, op. cit.
  4. Times obituary of Simon Dee, 31 August 2009
  5. See Wiseman, op.cit.
  6. Wiseman, Introduction, op.cit.
  7. screenonline: Dee, Simon (1935-) Biography
  8. Wiseman, op.cit.
  9. Quoted in Wiseman, op.cit.
  10. "Getaway People Get Super National" (1965)
  11. "Regent says that sex is the best policy": Jackpot, May 1967
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