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1971: The Times Features Vivien Neves, The First Nude To Appear In A British Newspaper

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IN 1971, The Times featured the first nude to ever appear in a British newspaper. She was Vivien Neves.

 

vivien neves

 

Modern readers might suppose the honour of being first newspaper to host an image of a naked women to be the Daily Star’s or The Sun’s.

In 1971, the Daily Star was not yet in existence. The Sun had become a tabloid on 17 November 1969, with a front page headlined “HORSE DOPE SENSATION” – an ‘exclusive’ in which a racing trainer admitted he was doping his horses.

 

e picture, dated 17/11/1969, Rupert Murdoch looks at one of the first copies of The Sun newspaper, at the News of the World building , in London.

e picture, dated 17/11/1969, Rupert Murdoch looks at one of the first copies of The Sun newspaper, at the News of the World building , in London.

 

The Sun had featured the first topless Page 3 girl on 17 November 1970 – German-born Stephanie Rahn was the “Birthday Suit Girl”. She was there to mark the first anniversary of the relaunched Sun.

Rupert Murdoch owned The Sun, but he never gained control of The Times until 12 February 1981. In 1971, the venerable Thunderer was owned by Canadian publishing magnate Roy Thomson.

 

Diane Coulter, 18 year old Miss Canada, with newspaper proprietor Lord Thomson. Diane, and other competitors in the Miss World final were guests of honour at the lunch. Ref #: PA.10011230  Date: 14/11/1966

Diane Coulter, 18 year old Miss Canada, with newspaper proprietor Lord Thomson. Diane, and other competitors in the Miss World final were guests of honour at the lunch.
Ref #: PA.10011230 Date: 14/11/1966

 

The Sun was well impressed with the Times‘ foray into soft porn:

“There had never, they said, been a picture quite like it in the entire 186-year history of The Times. They finally came abreast of the times, so to speak, with a whacking great portrait of model Vivien Neves . . . starkers.”

As The Times notes:

Although its tone was undoubtedly mocking, The Sun’s interest in the story was legitimate. At that time, Neves was one of the red-top tabloid’s most popular Page 3 Girls; that one of its biggest assets was flaunting her wares in the paper of record must have been a shock.

At age 18, Neves had worked as a “bunny” at the Raymond Revue bar strip club in Soho.

 

Ginni, the 23 month old Cheetah who, in a new act at the West End's Raymond Revue Bar, gradually disrobes Australian dancer Rita Allen, a former beauty queen from Sydney. Ref #: PA.4342079  Date: 02/01/1966

Ginni, the 23 month old Cheetah who, in a new act at the West End’s Raymond Revue Bar, gradually disrobes Australian dancer Rita Allen, a former beauty queen from Sydney.
Ref #: PA.4342079
Date: 02/01/1966

 

The bar was owned by Paul Raymond.

 

Paul Raymond seen with Fiona Richmond in London after an edition of his 'Men Only' magazine was read by a High Court jury to decide whether or not it was indecent or obscene. Ref #: PA.1560861  Date: 05/02/1974

Paul Raymond seen with Fiona Richmond in London after an edition of his ‘Men Only’ magazine was read by a High Court jury to decide whether or not it was indecent or obscene.
Ref #: PA.1560861 . Date: 05/02/1974

 

 

The bar job set her up for a career in top-shelf magazines.

 

vivien neves 1

 

Here she is on the cover of Span, the magazine for central heating enthusiasts:

 

 

Span

 

She said:

“Working at the club had made me immune to nudity, and the thought of showing my nipples to magazine readers didn’t bother me a bit.”

 

 

Library filer dated 10/12/70 of model Vivien Neves, one of the first women to model nude in a British newspaper who died in hospital, Sunday December 29, 2002. * Vivien Neves became famous as the first woman to appear naked in a newspaper - in an advertisement in The Times in 1971 - and was also among the first Page Three girls. She died at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, yesterday after a 27-year battle with multiple sclerosis. She was 54. Miss Neves was nicknamed The Body, decades before the name was applied to supermodel Elle Macpherson, after she modelled naked in a full-page advertisement in The Times for Fisons chemicals when she was 23.

Library filer dated 10/12/70 of model Vivien Neves, one of the first women to model nude in a British newspaper who died in hospital, Sunday December 29, 2002. * Vivien Neves became famous as the first woman to appear naked in a newspaper – in an advertisement in The Times in 1971 – and was also among the first Page Three girls. She died at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, yesterday after a 27-year battle with multiple sclerosis. She was 54. Miss Neves was nicknamed The Body, decades before the name was applied to supermodel Elle Macpherson, after she modelled naked in a full-page advertisement in The Times for Fisons chemicals when she was 23.

 

In May 1970 Neves made her debut on The Sun’s newly launched topless Page 3 (36-23-36).

She also became a calendar model.

 

vivien neves 2

 

But it was the advert that made her name. Did the Times readers like the advert?

Readers responded:

 “The Times should not use such matter which degrades womanhood and uses the female body as an eye-catcher”

Are you trying to drive away your readers by subscribing to the present advertising belief that it is only sex and nakedness that sells?”

“I hope this delightful picture has the same effect on The Times’ circulation as it does on mine.”

“It’s disgusting! It isn’t even in colour. Tut tut.”

 

Why Fisons? The words beneath the picture explained the company’s thinking:

 

Screen shot 2014-11-10 at 17.03.16

 

Money lay at the heart of it:

On March 17 that year, the chemical company Fisons had bought out all the display advertising space in the newspaper to promote its various products, which included slimming biscuits and shampoo. Neves’s slender, curvaceous — and unclothed — figure appeared above the caption: “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a firm like this?” The full-page advertisement was in black-and-white because the Editor, William (now Lord) Rees-Mogg, feared that a full-page advert of a young, female nude in glorious colour might prove too much for some readers.

 

William Rees Mogg, who has been appointed the new editor of The Times, in his office at Printing House Square archive-F2568-30.jpg Ref #: PA.4557075  Date: 13/01/1967

William Rees Mogg, who has been appointed the new editor of The Times, in his office at Printing House Square
Ref #: PA.4557075. Date: 13/01/1967

 

Neves’ own mother, Iris, was sueprised to her daughter in the Times:

“We’ve got used to her modelling now, but it is still a bit of a shock, especially to see it in that paper.”

Vivien was delighted:

“A whole page? Wheeee! Imagine all those men in bowler hats grumbling ‘What’s this country coming to?’”

 

vivien neves nude

 

 

 

Neves was famous.

 

Vivien Neves Tony Curtis The Persuaders

 

In October 1971 she appeared briefly in small role in an episode of the Tony Curtis/Roger Moore series The Persuaders in an episode written by Daleks creator Terry Nation. Subsequently, she appeared with Curtis on the prestigious Parkinson chat show on 1st July 1972.

1973 Neves announced her retirement. Fans were bereft, one writing:

“Could you please inform the delectable Viv Neves that even if she walked down the middle of Oxford Street, wearing a pair of wellingtons, a boiler suit and a balaclava, every hot-blooded male in the vicinity would still think she is the sexiest bird in the business. Please don’t go, Viv.”

Vivien Neves, model: born Brighton, Sussex 20 November 1947;  died Guildford, Surrey 29 December 2002.

  • William Hedley

    Mr Sorene,

    As a fellow writer. it would have been courteous if you had contacted me in advance before lifting some of my text from my blog.for this piece.