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  1. #1
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    Topsy Jane had a great start in film with her role in The Loneliness of the Long Distance and subsequent selection to play Liz in Billy Liar. Unfortunately Topsy became ill whilst filming Billy Liar and Julie Christie took over the role. Topsy went on to play in a twice weekly TV series - United. After this her career seems to fizzle out. Does anyone know whatever happened to Topsy Jane?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    From the Daily Mail Jun 14, 2002; p. 62



    "QUESTION Keith Waterhouse wrote recently that Julie Christie starred in Billy Liar after another actress dropped out through illness. Who was this actress, and what became of her?



    ABOUT five years ago I popped into a cafe in Liskeard, Cornwall, after busking with my guitar, and an older lady by the name of Topsy struck up a conversation with me about music.



    She went on to tell me that she was an actress who had appeared in The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, and that she was to have played Billy Liar's screen girlfriend Liz until she became ill.



    Sadly, people tended not to believe her, and were less than impressed - a typically English cynicism. However, I did some research and discovered that Topsy Jane was originally offered the role. I haven't seen her since, but she was known to frequent the taverns of St Cleer, Cornwall, still not in the best of health. The contrast between her destiny and Julie Christie's is poignant.



    Paul Program, Pensilva, Cornwall."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: UK kelp's Avatar
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    You know, thinking along those lines, eg Topsy Jane, what a good TV short this would make.

    I know we had "Where Are They Now" but I found that very slick, no depth to it. But to find her and let her have her say, would be really interesting......don't you agree?

  4. #4
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    I know an actor who worked with Topsy Jane. He thought she was marvelous.

  5. #5
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    Any photos of this lass?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Euryale's Avatar
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    This is her in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner:







    E.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    Nice photo.



    I've just read about Topsy Jane at IMDB. What a terrible tragedy, suffering a breakdown when pregnant.



    It doesn't get any better. All 147 episodes of the BBC soap United!, which she appeared in, were wiped. I take her credit 'Unknown episodes' to mean that she was a regular character.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Euryale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornershop15
    Nice photo.



    I've just read about Topsy Jane at IMDB. What a terrible tragedy, suffering a breakdown when pregnant.



    It doesn't get any better. All 147 episodes of the BBC soap United!, which she appeared in, were wiped. I take her credit 'Unknown episodes' to mean that she was a regular character.


    Yes, all episodes of United! are missing. I remember it being broadcast but not really anything about it. I think it was put on to replace the series Compact, which I do recall a little bit.



    Talking about shows from around 1966 - I'm hoping, Cornershop, that you have all the TV Times for that year as I'm looking for details of a programme shown then that is now lost and which it is quite hard to find anything about!



    E.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: UK wellendcanons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainWaggett View Post
    From the Daily Mail Jun 14, 2002; p. 62



    "QUESTION Keith Waterhouse wrote recently that Julie Christie starred in Billy Liar after another actress dropped out through illness. Who was this actress, and what became of her?



    ABOUT five years ago I popped into a cafe in Liskeard, Cornwall, after busking with my guitar, and an older lady by the name of Topsy struck up a conversation with me about music.



    She went on to tell me that she was an actress who had appeared in The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, and that she was to have played Billy Liar's screen girlfriend Liz until she became ill.



    Sadly, people tended not to believe her, and were less than impressed - a typically English cynicism. However, I did some research and discovered that Topsy Jane was originally offered the role. I haven't seen her since, but she was known to frequent the taverns of St Cleer, Cornwall, still not in the best of health. The contrast between her destiny and Julie Christie's is poignant.



    Paul Program, Pensilva, Cornwall."
    That's such a sad tale. I've just watched her in The Lonliness Of The Long Distance Runner and she was brilliant. If you should by the remoteist chance bump into her again Captain tell her she's got a fan club on here.

    wec

  10. #10
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    The wonderfully named Topsy Jane was wonderful in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Such a natural, convincing performance. She seemed to have a slight West Midlands accent so perhaps someone from those parts knows what became of her.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Euryale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartonkeyes View Post
    The wonderfully named Topsy Jane was wonderful in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Such a natural, convincing performance. She seemed to have a slight West Midlands accent so perhaps someone from those parts knows what became of her.
    Well, I am - sort of - and so is T.J. - if you count her birth-place as the the W. Midlands!

    She was born Topsy Jane Legge in Birmingham in the Autumn/Winter of 1938. In early 1963 she married Tony Garnett at Cirencester, Gloucestershire. That is this Tony Garnett - as confirmed by The Encyclopedia of British Film (pub. 2005):

    Tony Garnett - IMDb

    Their son William was born in 1964 in Meriden. I think the marriage didn't last.

    Topsy did spend some time living in Cornwall. She now lives in her native city.


    E.

  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wellendcanons View Post
    That's such a sad tale. I've just watched her in The Lonliness Of The Long Distance Runner and she was brilliant. If you should by the remoteist chance bump into her again Captain tell her she's got a fan club on here.

    wec
    Only just noticed this response and just feel the need to point out that should I ever bump into any thesps, my first point of call wouldn't be the Daily Mail I might, however, quote it if it were the only source

  14. #14
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    From the Sutton Coldfield Observer dated 24th January 2014. Topsy Jane Garnet, nee Legge, passed away on 4th January 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after a short illness. She was born in Erdington, Birmingham on 2nd December 1938. In addition to performing on television and in films Topsy acted with the Varley Players at Pype Hayes Church and the Highbury Little Theatre; both venues are in Birmingham. There will be a private family funeral in Sutton Coldfield. Topsy is survived by a son and a grandson

  15. #15
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    I forgot to add that the newspaper Obituary includes a photograph of Topsy, and it's web site can be found via "Google".

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