Thursday, June 5, 2014

18 Days of McCartney Day 5- Jane Asher

5 April, 1946 in Willesden, North West London, Richard and Margaret Asher (Eliot), gave birth to their second child, Jane Asher. Richard, who was also known as "one of the foremost medical thinkers of our times," was a doctor who specialized in blood and mental diseases at Central Middlesex Hospital while Margaret, an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music, was a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama teach the oboe (in fact she even taught EMI producer, George Martin). Just like her brother and her younger sister, Jane had taken on the trait of flaming red hair and bright eyes.

Her parents encourage their children to be active and musical which lead to Jane and her siblings to pick up acting and plays. By age five, Jane had become a child actress with her appearence in the film Mandy. From then on she continued to act in the 1955 film The Quartermass Xperiment, even taking the lead in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking- Glass in 1958. Jane's brother, Peter, had also become a child actor appearing in films at age eight like The Planter's Wife and the stage play Isn't Life Wonderful. The two siblings would appear in the ITV series The Adventures of Robin Hood later on in their teenage years. When she wasn't acting, Jane attended Queen's College school in Harley Street, London.

Young Jane Asher
Her acting didn't stop their though, she continued to act steadily throughout her early childhood, teenage years, and as an adult. When she was in her late teens she was given a part on BBC's Juke Box Jury while her brother had met Gordon Waller and the two formed Peter and Gordon. In 1963, Jane was seventeen years old and asked to interview a new band called The Beatles for Juke Box Jury after the band finished playing at the Royal Albert Hall on 18 April. The Beatles immediately fell for the red haired girl and on the spot asked to if she'd marry them, at the time it seemed that George and Paul had a stronger like for her than the other two and the same went for Jane. She was invited back to the Royal Court hotel in Sloane Square with them and then moved to journalist, Chris Hutchins apartment on Kings Road where it had become sure that Jane had taken more of a liking to Paul.
"The others left Paul alone in the bedroom with Jane, after a lot of winking."- (Beatles friend, journalist) Hunter Davies, The Beatles 
When the others returned a while after they were shocked to find  Paul and Jane in the bedroom talking about their favourite foods.
"'I realised this was the girl for me. I hadn't tried to grab her or make her. I told her, "it appears you're a nice girl.'
Paul and Jane enjoying food in India
'They couldn't believe I was a virgin,' says Jane."  - Hunter Davies reporting on Paul and Jane, The Beatles
"Paul escorted Jane home at 57 Wimpole Street where he asked for her number.
I met Jane asher when she was sent by the Radio Times to cover a concert we were in at the Royal Albert Hall – we had a photo taken with her for the magazine and we all fancied her. We’d thought she was blonde, because we had only ever seen her on black-and-white telly doing Juke Box Jury, but she turned out to be a redhead. So it was: ‘Wow, you’re a redhead!’ I tried pulling her, succeeded, and we were boyfriend and girlfriend for quite a long time."- Paul McCartney, Anthology
 Cynthia Lennon recalls in her book A Twist of Lennon "Paul fell like a ton of bricks for Jane" and "Paul was obviously as proud as a peacock with his new lady. For Paul, Jane was a great prize." It was after The Beatles had became a household name that it was public that Paul and Jane were a couple after they were spotted together outside of the Prince of Wales theatre. From then on they became one of the top couples to be featured in the press.

Paul moved into the attic of 57 Wimpole Street which wasn't only great for Jane and Paul but for The
Beatles as well, in fact many songs were written in the home like " I Want To Hold Your Hand";
"We wrote a lot of stuff together, one-on-one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in I Want To Hold Your Hand, I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher's house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had 'Oh you-u-u... got that something...' And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, 'That's it!' I said, 'Do that again!' In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that - both playing into each other's nose."- John Lennon
Arguably one of Paul's greatest pieces of music  "Yesterday" was written in that home; read about the story of "Yesterday" in Help! by clicking here). Jane even reflected in songs Paul had written, for example it's said that "Things We Said Today" was written about Jane among many others like, "And I Love Her", "You Won't See Me", "We Can Work It Out", "Here There and Everywhere" and "I'm Looking Through You".

The two were almost always on vacations together on their free time. From Greece to countryside weekends, even India for the Transcendental Meditation Camp (Read about here). They were becoming more serious and everyone began thinking that they would get married. In 1966, Jane helped Paul find a house in Cavendish Avenue, London where they would live together, during this time she helped Paul buy his High Farm in Machrihanish, Campbeltown, Scotland where they would slip away from the press for a while. Christmas day 1967 it was announced that Paul and Jane were getting married.

During the relationship Jane had still kept with her acting career, not wanting to be just a Beatles girlfriend but as an independent woman. In 1964 she appeared in The Masque of the Red Death with Vincent Price.  Two years later she worked with the great Michael Caine in her role in Alfie. In 1967 she was on a five-month tour of America while appearing in Romeo and Juliet in Boston, Washington, and Philadelphia with the Bristol Old Vic.
" My whole existence for so long centred round a bachelor life. I didn't treat women as most people do.  I've always had a lot around, even when I've had a steady girl. My life generally has always been very lax, and not normal.
I knew I was selfish. It caused a few rows. Jane left me once and went off to Bristol to act. I said OK then, leave, I'll find someone else. It was shattering to be without her."- Paul McCartney, The Beatles by Hunter Davies
Jane's 21st Birthday with Paul
During her stay in America Paul had flew over to celebrate her twenty-first birthday where he had the idea of Magical Mystery Tour. When her tour was over she had come home to a man she didn't recognize;
"When I came back after five months, Paul had changed so much. He was on LSD, which I hadn't shared. I was jealous of all the spiritual experiences he'd had with John. There were fifteen people dropping in all day long. The house had changed and was full of stuff I didn't know about."- Jane Asher, The Beatles

One day she returned from Bristol unannounced to her and Paul's St. John's Wood estate to find Paul in bed with scriptwriter and Apple Corps Public Relations manager, Franny Schwartz. Their relationship was over in 20 July when she announced their engagement was over on BBC program, Dee Time;
"I haven't broken it off, but it is broken off, finished. I know it sounds corny, but we still see each other and love each other, but it hasn't worked out. Perhaps we'll be childhood sweethearts and meet again and get married when we're about 70."- Jane Asher, Dee Time
" I don't remember the breakup as being traumatic, really. I remember more one time when she was working at the Bristol Old Vic and she'd got a boyfriend in Bristol and was going to leave me for him. that was wildly traumatic, that was 'Uhhhh!' Total rejection! we got back together again but I had already gone thorugh that when we eventually split up. It seemed it had to ahhpen. It felt right.

I liked her a lot and we got on very well. She was a very intelligent and very interesting person, but I just never clicked. One of those indefinable things about love is some people you click with and some people who you should maybe click with you don't. Whatever."- Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Since then Jane has guest-starred and appeared on The Goodies, The Stone Tape;, Rumpole of the Bailey, Brideshead Reviisted, A Voyage Round My Father, The Mistress(1985 through 1987), Wish Me Luck( 1987 through 1989), and on Crossroads (2003).

Radio appearances started in 1994 when she played Susan Foreman in Doctor Who in a comedy drama, Whatever Happened to Susan Foreman? From there, in 2002 she was in an episode of The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Death at a Funeral
As far as stage performances went she starred in Festen (2004), The World's Biggest Diamond (2005),  A For Andromeda (2006) which was aired on the BBC. She was then back on film with Death at a Funeral as Sandra (2007),  Holby City (2007) , The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007), and  The Palace (2008).  Another theatre performance was Bedroom Farce (2009) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (2009) where she received great reviews for both performances.  More notable performances (both film and theatre) would be The Importance of Being Earnest (2011), I Give it a Year, Charley's Aunt (2012),  and Pride and Prejudice (2013).

Not only is Jane Asher beautiful and a gifted actress but she has also written three best-selling novels; The Longing, The Question, and The Losing It. Does she stop there? No! Jane has also written two dozen non-fiction books including a Jane Asher Party Cakes,  Cakes for Fun and Beautiful Baking. Good Living, was Jane's own BBC program, that would also feature two books.
"Jane developed an interest in writing and business during the period that she kept close to home while bringing up her children. When she first began making novelty cakes, at first just for fun for her children’s birthdays and other special occasions, friends kept asking her where they could be bought or where they could learn how to make the cakes themselves. This eventually led to Jane writing her first cake decorating book and subsequently opening her Chelsea shop. She constantly strove to keep the business up to date as technology developed during the early 1990s – she had a web site during the very embryonic days of the internet – and has constantly refreshed and adapted both the shop and the web site to reflect the changing times. Her on-line sales started slowly, but have since grown to become a very important part of her business." - JaneAsher
 She not only owns her own bake shop in Chelsea but has also released her own products, The Jane Asher brand of goods.

Jane is also president of Arthritis Care  and president of the National Autistic Society, where she launched the National Autistic Society's "Make School Make Sense" campaign, also president of Parkinson's UK. She's Patron of Scoliosis Association,and a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. Jane also takes the role as Vice President to Autistica, raising awareness and funds for autism research. In 2001 she was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from Bristol University, being recognized for her autism progress. She is an active member and associate of of BAFTA, FORUM UK, RADA, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

She married the artist Gerald Scarfe (best known work on Pink Floyds album The Wall) in 1981 after meeting him ten years earlier. The two have had three children, Katie, Alexander, and Rory. Read more about Jane Asher and her baking business at

"I've never particularly liked the idea of looking back; I'd rather look forward" -Jane Asher
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