A place in cinema history

Pat Astley Model and actress from Blackpool

Pat Astley Model and actress from Blackpool

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WHEN Pat Astley was a Collegiate schoolgirl in her native Blackpool she emerged from GCE examinations with eight O levels.

So started a Gazette article in April 1977, as Pat, also known as Patricia Maynard, was being tipped for silver screen stardom in the sex comedy, Come Play With Me, a movie romp whose cast included big names such as Alfie Bass, Irene Handl, Norman Vaughan, Ronald Fraser and Cardew Robinson.

Observed the film’s advance publicity: “Quite obviously, the top comedy names do not appear in the sex scenes – that is left to the 20 or so sexy nurses”.

And Pat was one of them. She was also a “nurse” when she bounced into a mainstream role on TV alongside another Blackpool thespian, John Inman, who played Mr Humphries in sitcom Are You Being Served? Pat’s character’s interest was in Young Mr Grace – played by Harold Bennett – the very old, rich but stingy store owner, who was always surrounded by attractive young women. She was seen as his nurse in the 1976 Christmas special and 1977 season.

Now a London-based film production company is attempting to track down the former actress and model – believed to be back in Blackpool – for a documentary called Respectable, being produced for the cinema by Simon Sheridan.

Simon says: “Pat moved to London with her daughter in the early 1970s, and became a popular glamour model in various magazines and newspapers.

She also had starring roles in a series of saucy British comedies, including Come Play with Me in 1977 – which incredibly, holds the Guinness World Record for the longest running British movie of all time. It played in London’s West End for four years solidly.

“She also appeared alongside Joan Collins in the 1978 film, The Stud. In 1977, she got her big break in as Young Mr Grace’s leggy nurse in cult sitcom Are You Being Served? After a leading role in the 1984 horror film Don’t Open Till Christmas, Pat retired from acting and returned to Blackpool, where she currently resides.

Simon asks: “Can your readers help us find her? We are featuring Pat in a new documentary film and would love to speak to her about her showbiz career.

“With her beautiful blonde hair, she was one of the top glamour actresses of the 1970s and was quite famous. She has a place in cinema’s history and we feel it is an important thing to recognise.”

The film’s head researcher Ben Jones can be contacted by email at benjones707@yahoo.co.uk, or on 07772 644092, or get in touch with Memory Lane. Contact details at bottom of page.