Hamilton – the Nudical…

A real-life “Carry on Camping

Regular and long-term readers of this blog might remember a post I did a few years ago about my wife Dido’s part-time career as a model, and in particualr, her role as the National Savings girl. Her modeling work coincided with her then-main career as a classical ballerina – a subject I have also covered at some length on these pages.

However, there are a couple of interesting and amusing facts and anecdotes related to Dido’s modeling which I omitted to mention previously.

This shot was used for the National Savings calander

Firstly; the fact that she fell into modeling accidently, when spotted and then approached on a street in Barons Court (in west London – near the Royal ballet School) by an advertising agency scout. And secondly; the resulting story behind perhaps Dido’s most high-profile photographic shoots, also for National Savings, in the naturist colony of Cap D’Adge in the South of France.

In truth, the story of Dido’s time in the colony is as much farcical as amusing , stemming from the fact that her employers at Dorland (the agency then working for UK National Savings) were unaware of the fact that they had sent her to a nudist village for the shoot.

We believe this was the picture used for the “People Like Me” series of National Savings posters and ads…

Dido’s blissful ignorance of her impending sartorial dilemma was soon disabused when she entered the establishment by several welcoming scenes, none more surprising than being greeted by the photographer himself “déshabillé”.

One might have thought that the fact the photographer was none other than David Hamilton*, famous then for his soft-focus depictions of young, often naked girls, and for directing and photographing the hit film, Bilitis (erotic or softly-pornographic, depending upon one’s sensibilities) just a year or two earlier, might have raised some alarm bells, but apparently not.

As a confirmed non-naturist, Dido got around the compulsory nudity policy of the colony by convincing both Hamilton and the management that it was imperative for her to remain fully clothed at all times to avert the risk of tan lines on her skin.  

When the Dorland team turned up for the main shoot the next day, they were similarly discomforted as their model (an angry Dido having decided not to warn them), a circumstance that led to a whole load of hilarious situations during the course of their stay – tan lines not being an available excuse for the director and his crew!

This was not from the official shoot, and just a bit of fun, and interesting, among other things for it being a very rare – if not unique – example of Hamilton not using soft focus.

Sadly, I’m not at liberty to divulge more than these barest details (pun intended), but one can imagine the sort of crazy scenarios that arose. Fortunately, despite everything, the shoot was a sucess as the very pretty photos presented here confirm.

*Hamilton’s now infamous reputation was unknown to everyone at Dorland at the time of the shoot, and he behaved with total decorum and professionalism toward Dido, both when dressed and disrobed.

BEFORE WE MET…

These are a photos of my wife Dido from her previous life, before she met me and before she became a leading UK paediatric occupational therapist and internationally acclaimed researcher into the development of children’s brains. In her first professional career she was a ballerina and danced with some of the world’s greatest companies, as a student and then later as a professional dancer. She was best known for her time at Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet Company – the old touring company of the Royal Ballet and since morphed into the Birmingham Royal Ballet Company. During that time, normally when she was injured and could not dance, she got modelling jobs. Some of you might recognise Dido as the face of the British National Savings Bank from back in the mid-80’s. Dido was the “National Savings Girl” – so when we first met I knew I’d seen her somewhere before…

Literally, beauty and brains: (click on the photos to enlarge…)

For more information about this exceptional person and the early days of her second professional incarnation see this follow-up picture post: My Gal the Fellow…