Regular Cast Biography
Page 10 of 11


Julie Stevens

Venus Smith, 1962-63

by Alan Hayes, David K. Smith and Stephen La Riviere

Born 20 December 1936 in Prestwich, England, Julie Stevens is best known in Britain for her work as a presenter on children's television programs. During the late 50s and early 60s she presented ABC Weekend Television's The Sunday Break, a religious teen program. She also participated in a TV play about the Navy, her vocal talents being put to use over a public address system—a part which she recalls entailed her pinching her nose to create the right sound! From 1966-79 she co-presented BBC2's Play School for the under-five crowd. Other presenting credits include Play Away (a slightly less infantile off-shoot of Play School, for the under-tens) and a variety of "admag" programs, including one called What's in Store.

Another turn as presenter was for Family Hour, which featured Pathfinders to Mars, part of a series of children's shows conceived by Avengers creator Sydney Newman and co-scripted by Avengers scribe, Malcolm Hulke. Julie's Avengers appearances as a nightclub singer include "The Decapod," "The Removal Men," "Box of Tricks," "School for Traitors," "Man in the Mirror" and "A Chorus of Frogs." Uniquely in Avengers history, her episodes each contained a Venus Smith "number" as a musical interlude.

Although Julie's casting as Venus Smith is generally acknowledged as her  television acting debut, this isn't strictly true. Her television career began with ABC TV in 1957, where she trained as an announcer, compere, personality girl and comedienne. In preparation for her acting work on television, Julie did a season of repertory theatre at Ryde, Isle of Wight, UK, which lead to her work on The Avengers, For Love or Money, and a starring role in the ATV situation comedy Girls About Town (1970-71). This latter series was spawned from a 1969 one-off pilot program which featured Anna Quayle ("The Correct Way to Kill") as Rosemary Pilgrim. When the series commenced, Julie was cast in this role. Her single film credit on record is as Gloria in Carry On Cleo (1964).

Julie spent many years as personal manager of actor-presenter and ex-Goon, Sir Harry Secombe, and has recently returned to television with guest roles in Holby City and The Doctors. Julie's singing talents were once again employed in BBC Schools' Look and Read: Through the Dragon's Eye (1989), carrying on where she left off with Play School. Married to actor John White in 1961, Julie attended Stand Grammar School, Whitefield, Bury, Lancashire, and trained as a nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary prior to her television work. Should you have access to DWB Magazine #89, you can enjoy an interview with Julie Stevens.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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