Judy Rodger

Judy Rodger

Judy was a vivacious, sparkling blonde from Surrey – to be more accurate, according to a reader’s letter in Span 56, not far from a station on the “Morden Line” of the London Underground – actually what he meant was “at Morden station on the Northern Line”. But if he was getting an eyeful of Judy’s stocking tops and girdle – as one often did on Tube trains in those days − his confusion is more than understandable.

She came to fame in a rather special way.

A few years after World War II, the UK held the Festival of Britain to help pull themselves up by the boots straps and get on with normal life. The Festival Hall was built in London and numerous Festival Gardens around the country. Judy was chosen, along with four other girls out of a thousand applicants, to portray Nell Gywnn, beautiful mistress of  Charles II by whom she had two sons, at a do at the Battersea Festival Gardens. With the gaiety that returned to England after the equally dour years of Cromwell and the Republic, Nell became the epitome of the Restoration of the monarchy – and something of a folk heroine. She was one of the first women allowed to act on the stage but she also sold oranges on the streets of London – at the age of 14. And she shagged the king, of course.

Judy Rodger - Nell Gwynne

Forgive the small meander into history but a brief explanation was called for as to why a folk festival with Judy dressed up as Nell Gywnn (see single photo in BB 7) and carrying a basket of oranges launched a highly successful career in fashion and photographic modelling and TV commercials. At some point, it would seem she took a gap year or two to concentrate more on this side of her career than the modelling, which is probably when she appeared in the long-running hospital drama series Emergency Ward 10 in the early years of ITV, the first British commercial competitor to the BBC.

Judy was one of the all-time best, one of the quintessential ToCo models, albeit more one of the alluring mature girls than the nubile next-door cutie. She came on the scene in the early, rather strange and indeterminate ToCo years, when photographers were given credits (Judy’s was usually Peter Ross) and was yet another victim of the company’s incomprehensible policy of retouching of stocking tops. The upside of that is that she was also frequently seen in seamed stockings and girdles – and, on one occasion, in a gymslip. So the retouching is forgiven.

Personal Details  -  36-24-36         5ft 6in (168cm)

Appearances  -  21, debut Spick 16 (March 1955)

Spick  -  16, 23, 58, 61, 64, X4 

Span  -  9, 17, 24, X10

Beautiful Britons  -  7, 12, 20, 37, 61, 70, 78, X5

Spick & Span Extra  -  3, 55 Winter

Spick & Span Annual  -  1

Spick & Span Holiday  -  3