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Bra, Bra, Blacksheep?


TOP TO BOTTOM: Lady Isobelle Barnett, Ms Katie Boyle, Professor Mortimer Wheeler

Reader Iris Thornthwaite has written in to suggest that, whilst she is looking forward greatly to the reassuringly wholesome fayre offered by tonight's Dorset Radio 6 special programming schedule [" Evensong live from Piddlehinton Cathedral was always a favourite especially when the celebrant is the marvellously gifted and well-endowed CanonBalls"], she wishes to express some astonishment at the idea that Lady Isobelle Barnett, Katie Boyle and Mortimer Wheeler could ever have been in the same room together at the same time, let alone readjusting their foundation garments together.


She asks: "Are you perhaps confusing the serial Eurovision Song Contest hostess [1960, 1963, 1968 and 1974] Ms Boyle [Caterina Irene Elena Maria Boyle, Lady Saunders (née Imperiali dei Principi di Francavilla; 29 May 1926 – 20 March 2018)] with that other Brains Trust stalwart Marghanita Laski?"

Ms Thornthwaite further justifies her scepticism by adding: "I had a brief passing acquaintance with the late archaeologist Dame Agatha Christie whilst convalescing near Branscombe. Dame Agatha who was, of course, married to crime-thriller writer and playwright Sir Mortimer Wheeler and never once did she mention a penchant for bra pinging on his part. Indeed she insisted that throughout their long marriage he had hardly interfered with her at all - a matter of profound relief to both parties."


Whilst we do, of course, take this opportunity to thank Ms Thornthwaite for her insights, we have also taken the view that the seriousness of the allegations involved [even taking into account the social mores of 1962] merit further investigation and have, for this reason, passed on all the information we have received to the RDC's Serious Historic Crimes Department.

 

In the meantime, Our Media and Foundation Garment Expert writes:


There is surely a great deal of confusion here which I will do my best to sort out: Katie Boyle was indeed a serial Eurovision Song Contest hostess [1960, 1963, 1968 and 1974] but, to the best of my knowledge, she never appeared on The Brains Trust [an informational BBC radio and later television programme popular in the United Kingdom during the 1940s and 1950s, on which a panel of experts tried to answer questions sent in by the audience]. There again, neither did Sir Mortimer Wheeler who appeared instead on Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? [a popular television game show which ran from 1952 to 1959 in which a panel of experts were asked to identify interesting objects or artefacts from museums from Britain and abroad]. Marghanita Laski was the only one of those named who did appear on The Brains Trust [an informational BBC radio and later television programme popular in the United Kingdom during the 1940s and 1950s, on which a panel of experts tried to answer questions sent in by the audience] wherein she made notably intellectual and indeed often perplexing contributions. But she was dark-haired and could hardly have been mistaken for Ms Boyle [even at a social-distance].


TOP TO BOTTOM: Ms Marganita Laski, Dame Anna Neagle, Dame Agatha Christie. The question arises: Whose bra strap would you prefer to ping? In a recent survey, only 1 out of 20 said Dame Agatha.

It is possible that Ms Thornthwaite is confusing Katie Boyle not with Marghanita Laski [the English journalist and novelist] but rather with Dame Anna Neagle [the English stage and film actress, singer and dancer]. Anna Neagle did indeed appear on The Brains Trust [an informational BBC radio and later television programme popular in the United Kingdom during the 1940s and 1950s, on which a panel of experts tried to answer questions sent in by the audience] but not on Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? [a popular television game show which ran from 1952 to 1959 in which a panel of experts were asked to identify interesting objects or artefacts from museums from Britain and abroad]. Photographic evidence would suggest that of the two [Ms Boyle and Dame Anna] it is Dame Anna who is more likely either to have been foundation-garment challenged and to have acquired intervention as a result or, simply, more likely to have drawn Sir Mortimer's attention her assets.


However, since Lady Isobelle Barnett appeared on neither The Brian's Trust or Animal, Vegetable or Mineral? but rather on What's My Line? [a popular television game show which ran from 1951-1963 in which celebrity panelists questioned contestants in order to determine their occupation, i.e. "line [of work]"] the chances of her meeting Sir Mortimer, Ms Boyle, Dame Anna, Ms Laski or indeed Dame Agatha either severally or in concert [let alone her having witnessed "an incident"] seem slim - unless of course they all, shared the same agent or possibly turf accountant.


So a level of uncertainty remains and we await the results of the RDC's Serious Historic Crimes Department's conclusions with more than a passing interest.


Falling in the era between the 1950s "bullet bra" and the 1970s "plunge push-up bra" Ms Boyle's and/or Dame Anna's garment is most likely to have been an early model of the Maidenform underwired medium-hold soft-cup pre-formed bra" - a garment notorious for its strap malfunctions. [Fashion Ed]

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