This week on #askNat I am responding to a question from Greig Dymond in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who writes:
Last night on PBS I saw a fairly recent British sitcom called The Old Guys. Jane Asher had a supporting role. It seems to me that she would be the “holy grail” of Beatles-related interviews, given her relationship with Paul McCartney, the songs she inspired, the fact that Paul lived with her parents for a while, and the songs he gave to her brother, Peter Asher. Do you think she would ever give an interview about her time with Paul? Why has she remained silent all these years? Many thanks for your insights.
Greig Dymond, Toronto
Thanks for your question Greig and yes – that is Jane playing Sally in The Old Guys. A quick review of her filmography over on the IMDb website will show that she has appeared in countless television series, mini-series and movies going all the way back to her childhood. Jane’s earliest film appearance was in the 1952 film The Story of Mandy (the title in the U.K. was simply Mandy) when she was only six years old. Her most recent acting spot was for a couple of episodes in the 2012 comedy series Them From That Thing. Jane’s acting career was likely somewhat encouraged, as her mother was a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Jane’s younger sister Clare is a radio actress and her older brother Peter Asher is a record producer and one half of the sixties British pop duo Peter And Gordon. Peter and Gordon scored hit singles with a few compositions written by Paul McCartney in the sixties to include “A World Without Love” and “Nobody I Know.”
Acting isn’t the only thing that has kept Jane busy over the years. She has also authored three best selling novels: The Longing, The Question and Losing It. She has written many books concerning lifestyle, costumes and even cake decorating. In fact, she owns a company that makes party cakes and other pastries and sweets for special occasions. There’s more information on her cakes and sugar-crafts at her website, janeasher.com.
On April 18, 1963, The Beatles were performing live at the Royal Albert Hall and although the show was not recorded in it’s entirety, a performance of both “From Me To You” and “Twist And Shout” exist as these two were simulcasted for a live BBC radio broadcast. Jane was commissioned by the Radio Times to attend the show and interview The Beatles. It was there where she met Paul McCartney for the first time. When a photographer asked them to pose together for a picture they began to talk with each other and soon began a relationship that was to last 5 years. Jane was living in London with her parents at the time and by November of that year, Paul, invited by Jane’s mother, moved in with Jane. Several songs written by Paul were at least partly inspired by his relationship with her, including Yesterday,” “And I Love Her” and “You Won’t See Me.” Jane moved into Paul’s new home in St. John’s Wood in 1966 and by 1967 they became engaged. Jane accompanied Paul when The Beatles traveled to India in February 1968 to study transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. On July 20, 1968 the relationship ended suddenly when Jane allegedly caught Paul in bed with another woman, an American named Francie Schwartz (referred to by Paul as “Franny”). “Franny” denies that she was “caught in the act” with Paul, however a fan has attested to seeing Paul bring “an American girl” home and that later Jane arrived and then stormed out after a few minutes and drove off. Later Jane’s mother arrived to collect her things.
Over the years, Jane has naturally been asked to talk more about her relationship with Paul but she adamantly refuses. “I never talk about that,” Jane has said as recently as a 2007 interview. “Private life is private life.”
Extra info: In 1971, Jane met illustrator Gerald Scarfe, best known for his artwork on Pink Floyd’s The Wall album and film. They married in 1981 and have a daughter and two sons. Jane is currently the President of Arthritis Care (the U.K.’s largest charity for arthritis) and the National Autistic Society. She is also Vice President to Autistica, another U.K. charity for autism research.
Thanks for a good question, Greig! That’s about all I’ve got. If anyone has anything to add, I welcome your comments below.
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Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, films, literature or music related to this post:
1) Films on Amazon with Jane Asher – Jane Asher on video releases (Blu-Ray, DVD, etc.)
2) Losing It – bestselling novel by Jane Asher
3) The Question – bestselling novel by Jane Asher
4) The Longing – bestselling novel by Jane Asher
5) Jane Asher’s Costume Book – a book on creating over 100 costumes for children or adults by Jane Asher (you don’t need to know how to sew)
6) Jane Asher’s Calendar of Cakes – cakes made by Jane Asher for her celebrity friends