Sunday, 30 March 2014
They don't make them like this any more.
Kate O'Mara - who has died - was always something of an oddity. Her extraordinary feline features, expressive face and rather raw, naked, sexuality was perfect for a different age and a certain kind of role, but she was actually a much better actress than many of her roles demanded - and while many in her profession would have railed against the injustice of typecasting - she managed to draw a great deal more out of every part she was given than she needed to - embracing Gothic wenches, hard faced bitches and improbably camp coquettes with equal aplomb. She had the kind of looks that would have made her impossible to cast today - too bold, to earthy, too striking - they pigeonholed her into the exaggerated and cartoonish roles that she is best known for, it was as if someone had drawn her from a wish-list of token female parts, a frankenstein's monster of femininity and sexuality - but I never saw her give anything less than her full attention to anything she did - as equally at home in Dr Who as the ultimate bad girl, as she was in the absurdly ridiculous Triangle, sunbathing on the deck of a North Sea ferry in the depths of winter, whatever the role demanded. I can't think of any contemporary actress that in any way occupies the same place in popular culture - and to be sure, she was always a MUCH better actress than Joan Collins, always.
They will write more books about Hammer Horrors than they ever will about Downton, Call the Midwife or any of the other big hitters on TV today, and there are very few modern actresses that will be remembered with such affection, and some little lust.