It is not only because she has a slender, swan-like neck that one dreams of nuzzling; it is not only because she has a perfectly kissable mouth that I fantasise of brushing my own lips against; it is not because of that cutest of noses or those large, liquid, chocolate brown eyes that seem so alluring nor is it those ears, those wonderfully, delectable ears that like so many black peoples are so tiny, so in need of nibbling; no, it is none of the above even if I do find Josette Simon simply adorable. Her talent, apart from being gorgeous, is to be found in her chosen art - Josette is an actress.
I have never seen her performance in ‘Cry Freedom’ even though it was that film with her apparently flawless performance that gave her the springboard to launch her career.
For me, it was Blake’s 7 that caught my attention and with it the talented Ms Simon. (I hate the Ms tag altogether but it seems the correct thing to do nowadays). When I watch the old videos I have of the show I fail to see why I liked it so much but in the late 70’s and 80’s, it was compulsive viewing in my house with both my wife and I hooked to the show. Dayna Mellanby entered the world of Blake and company during season three. Like so many characters in the series, her personality was powerful but flawed. Dayna’s apparent death at the conclusion to the series left a sense of mystery. No one was really sure if she had in fact died or managed to escape.
Josette Patricia Simon, OBE, was born in 1960 in the UK of Antiguan descent. She learnt her craft at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and is a well-regarded stage actress who performs frequently with the Royal National Theatre and also the Royal Shakespeare Company. Of her major achievements being cast as one of the three 'weird sisters' in Macbeth is at the forefront. But it is her defiance of accepting what some see as traditional white roles that have given her a degree of notoriety. It could be argued that casting a black person in a white role is pointless, illogical but isn’t that precisely what Laurence Oliver did in reverse?
Since then Josette has performed on stage and TV. Her appearance in ‘Lewis’ was both moving and memorable as she provided the love interest to the Geordie Detective who, when pursuing the truth involves Stephanie Fielding’s (Josette’s character) son thereby spoiling any chance the pair had of sharing a romantic liaison.
Like any good actor, it is Josette’s economy of style that impresses, that and her ability to infuse her own individuality into the persona of the character she is playing. Had I been Avon, that acid-tongued individual from Blake’s 7, I would have kissed the girl when the opportunity arose but then again what sane man wouldn’t have?
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.