Dear James, how nice to receive your letter and to remind myself, I was a part of TV history!
I first went for an audition at BBC Shepherds Bush and met five crazy men. I think I hit it off at once with John Cleese, I’m a bit gobby and like a laugh. He asked me why I was known as just ‘Flanagan’ and I told him I’d married into a crazy Irish family in 1961 and their lives would have made some terrific sketches, not what they usually heard from a glamorous blonde model!
They took me to Southend to do the Hell’s Grannies sketch, people walking along thought they were ‘old thugs’ riding and roaring on bikes, the police were out and about and watching. I chewed gum in my leathers, great fun! The following month I was asked by my agent if I’d do a bed scene with Michael Palin, I said yes straight away. I knew all the boys and the crew and Palin was much more embarassed than me! I did have a sheet over my boobs as I hadn’t done Page 3 of The Sun till 1972! No topless girls had appeared on TV in 1969.
They booked me for a sexy nurse, which we did in front of a live audience at TV Centre, afterwards Cleese brought us all out and introduced us as three sexy models who made them look good.
I met Terry Gilliam and always thought he was the brains behind Monty Python. When they wanted six glam girls for a beauty paegant line-up, I was booked as one and knew then I was one of their favourites. Being upfront and a Cockney I asked Cleese if I could possibly say “and now for something completely different”. He spoke to the director and I got my wish, I have it on video and now DVD.
We drank in the BBC bar where they introduced me to Dave Allen. I think he liked my looks, but really liked my name, so three months later my agent said I’d been booked for a bed scene with Dave Allen for a sketch on his show. Remember, he was very handsome and full of blarney, I got on so well he booked me for six more shows! I went on to do six Benny Hill shows after Benny saw my Monty Pythons so really, the crazy lads started me on another career, on top of modelling!
Good luck with your book!
Love, Flanagan x