|It was to raise money for Leukaemia research that a group of women, all getting on in years, decided to bare all for the nation. Several years on it was for that same good cause that groomed and perfumed guests as well as an array of British celebs turned up to the London charity premiere of Calendar Girls, based on those women’s story.|
The Rylstone Women’s Institute in North Yorkshire has produced calendars for years. Featuring scenic shots of the Yorkshire dales, they were always snapped up by a few people here and there, the proceeds going to worthy causes. However, when one of their number lost her husband to leukaemia the WI’s members decided to take radical action in a bid to raise money and fight the disease, producing a very special edition of the calendar featuring themselves au naturel.
Mel Smith, John Hurt, June Whitfield, John Hannah and the Prime Minister’s ex spin doctor, Alistair Campbell were present among many other famous British faces, all showing their support for this, what has been heralded as a new Full Monty. The real life calendar girls also made an appearance beside their on screen counterparts for the premiere, still awestruck at the global reception received first by their calendar and now by the film itself. “It’s like a dream,” said Angela Baker, upon whom Julie Walters’ character is based. “I knew the film would be good but it’s better than we ever imagined.”
Julie Walters herself was present along with fellow disrobers Dame Helen Mirren and Celia Imrie, all of whom stood proudly behind their portrayal of the touching story and the nude modelling it required. “It’s marvellous to be in something so uplifting because I’m a bit fed up with everyone being so miserable in life,” Imrie told Empire Online. “I think we’re all rather gorgeous actually, we might not be perfect like some of those American actresses but who cares.