I was 12 when I watched Katy on TV. We had only just acquired television and Katy was one of the series run during the children's hour between 4 and 5 p.m. I had loved the Katy books at the age of 8-10 and the series was no disappointment. Susan Hampshire was a delight and I have followed her star ever since, sympathising with her as Fleur - never seeing her as nasty and venomous, only desperately disappointed in the one thing she wanted (Jon Forsyte) - relishing her portrayal of Becky Sharpe in Vanity Fair, impressed by her performances as Sarah Churchill (The First Churchills) and Lady Glencora (The Pallisers). She was always a TV actress first and foremost and her brief forays into film, such as Cliff Richard's leading lady in 'Wonderful Life', were not entirely successful. In the overblown TV soap opera 'The Grand' she leaves the rest of the cast way behind. Her latest star role as Molly in Monarch of the Glen shows her just as playful, as attractive, as appealing in her sixties, as she was as Katy or Fleur, and with Richard Briers, she raised the rather bland, soaked in Scottish whimsy, soap story to an acceptable level of acting standards.
I consider Susan the leading British TV actress of the second half of the 20th century. Though few people remember Katy now, it was a good start for an actress full of personality and skill, but unassuming and whose natural qualities bring a refreshing breeze of talent every time she appears.
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