From the early Seventies onwards, PETER was in huge demand to open new stores, promote business ventures and attend charity events throughout the UK and Europe.
This page is a rolling undertaking to present a concise and detailed account of those appearances, featuring regular updates over the next few weeks.
⇐ An original poster from one of PETER’s personal appearances in Norway
Promoter and marketing powerhouse, Carl Gresham, was responsible for many of the appearances listed here, and this is what he had to say about PETER in his book, ‘The Gresh – A Lifetime in Show-Biz’ (Bank House Books, 2009). www.bankhousebooks.com
‘Suave, sophisticated, French-born and winner with the ladies. PETER WYNGARDE made his name playing Jason king in ‘Department S’, later getting his own series. He played roles in many early 70’s TV dramas such as’ The Baron’, ‘The Prisoner’, ‘The Saint’ and ‘The Avengers’.
PETER drew some of the biggest crowds we ever had – mainly ladies who absolutely adored him, much to the disappointment and irritation of their menfolk, it must be said. His exotic looks and background were backed up by a voice that was once described as “Black Magic”.
PETER was a firm favourite with Woolworths for their store openings. They knew that the crowds and the publicity would be huge. On one occasion, PETER and I were stopped by police officers on the outskirts of Barnsley and asked not to proceed, as they were worried about being able to control the crowd outside the Woolworth store we were going to. This created a fantastic story for the national press, which featured one headline declaring ‘Jason King barred from town centre’.
Friday, 14th August, 1970: Best Dressed Male Personality Award ceremony. Carnaby Street, London.
⇐ PETER was presented with the trophy by the previous year’s winner. Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees
Crowds gather to see PETER receive his award for winning the title of Britain’s Best Dressed Male Personality.
The award was a solid silver statue of Beau Brummel worth £500, which was presented to him by 18-year-old Anne Challis, the then Miss Radio Luxembourg, and one-time Generation Game co-host and model, Anthea Redfurn.
Listeners to the station and readers of its magazine voted by post, with PETER emerging as the eventual winner.
1970: Promotional tour of Australia.
December 1970: Promotional tour of (West) Germany
April, 1971: Album signing at the HMV Shop, Oxford Street.
PETER won Best Dressed Male Personality Award a second time in August, 1971. On that occasion it was presented to him by Miss Radio Luxembourg, Ann Chalice ⇒
September 1971: Publicity visit to Sweden.
Friday, 22nd October, 1971: Ice King store, Long Eaton, Derbyshire.
The High Street in Long Eaton in Derbyshire was sealed off by police when PETER made a personal appearance at the Ice King store to sign autographs.
The police estimated that over 5,000 people had turned out to see PETER – far more than had been anticipated. Derbyshire Royal Infirmary and Nottingham General Hospital reported that more than 30 young women had been treated for the effects of hysteria.
Monday 8th November, 1971: Opening of new Woolworth store, The Arndale Centre, Luton.
Hundreds of female fans flocked to the shopping centre to catch a glimpse PETER and hunt for opening day bargains in the shop. At the time the Arndale, today called The Mall Luton, was Europe’s largest undercover shopping centre.
A baby was born in the Centre during his visit, and was named Jason Peter in his honour!
Monday, 29th November, 1971: Opening – Louis International Menswear:
There were over two thousand fans in Plymouth on Monday, 29th November, 1971. They were all there to see their hero open the Louis International menswear store on Cornwall Street.
The brand new two (due to be three) storey shop that aimed to stock men’s clothing, which had recently opened in Portsmouth, Exeter and Torbay.
Louise Collins, who’d been fortunate enough to get a job as a sales assistant at the outfitters, and she said she felt quite privileged as she peeked out through the window three hours before PETER was due to arrive, to see a huge crowd already beginning to gather.
“I was told by the manager that PETER had been staying at the Holiday Inn in Plymouth overnight,” Louise told me, “and all hell let loose when his car finally pulled up outside the store with a police escort”.
In fact, PETER had to be protected by a grand total of 50 uniformed officers, who battled to protect him from amorous fans.
⇐ PETER meeting fans in Plymouth
After introducing himself to all the staff PETER, who was wearing a grey speckled suit with a mauve shirt and matching tie, tried on several garments in the exclusive menswear department in the basement, before settling for a black leather jacket and an aubergine-coloured suit. After performing the opening ceremony, fans were let inside to meet PETER, to get autographs and hand over gifts and flowers to him.
“After he left,” Louise says, “a reporter from the Western Evening Herald spoke to me, and an article appeared in the paper the following the following day.”
Tuesday, 30th November, 1971
PETER opened the new Tesco supermarket in Killigrew Street, Falmouth
Thursday, 3rd February, 1972: Opening of Santa Fe boutique, Whitgift Shopping Centre, Croydon.
Whilst making this appearance in Chatsworth Road, Croydon, PETER was besieged by over 2,000 fans whose desperation to see their idol was so great, they succeeded in pushing through the shop’s plate glass window.
More than 30 police officers struggled to control the crowd, whilst signed photos were distributed to the fans.
Saturday, 6th March, 1972: Whichgift
An estimated 4,000 fans amassed in Chatsworth Road, Clapton, to see PETER open a new greetings card shop owned by brothers, Stanley and Leonard Linch.
It took 10 minutes for PETER to push his way through the crowd after leaving the limousine that’d been sent to meet him. A police escort eventually enabled him to get through the enthusiastic fans to the shop.
“We had informed the police that the opening would be performed by PETER,” Leonard Linch said. “It started with three officers on duty, but reinforcements were quickly called for as the crowd rapidly grew”. Around 30 policemen were eventually employed to hold back the horde. At one point the huge front window of the new shop was almost pushed in, forcing the owners and members of staff to hold it in place.
The idea was that PETER would cut a tape outside the shop as part of the opening ceremony. However, such was the excitement that he was forced to do the honours inside the premises. Small groups of people were allowed in for autographs, but this gad to be abandoned as fans jostled for the privilege. Finally, signed photos were passed over the heads of the police officers to the eager mass.
“This is a wonderful reception,” PETER said at the time. “I’ve never seen such a large crowd be so good-humoured”.
PETER remained at the shop for around an hour, before leaving in the safety of a police van.
Thursday, 23rd March, 1972: Opening of City Stylish men’s boutique, Newcastle.
Traffic in the centre of Newcastle came to a standstill, thanks to the number of fans who tried to catch a glimpse of PETER as he opened the new £25,000 City Stylish Shop in the town centre.
Dozens of extra police officers had to be drafted in to control the crowd and to get the traffic moving again.
BEWARE OF THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER
We were all there, of course, at the PETER WYNGARDE do. Like true, red-blooded, ever thirsty journalist… thirsty for news that is… we honed in on the free champagne and the big story like there was nothing else to write about in Newcastle on a Thursday lunchtime.
With our invitations clasped in our hot little hands, we strode smugly through the small, subdued band of women standing hopefully outside the New City Stylish boutique. We made short work of the smoked salmon sandwic hes and we made rude remarks about PETER WYNGARDE:
“That hair is definitely permed,” said one bloke, balding himself if I remember rightly after four glasses of champagne.
“What, no!” We all said.
“He wears false eyelashes,” continued another.
“Never!” We said.
“He told us the last time he appeared in public there were three thousand women mobbing him,” laughed a third, surveying the small huddle of females outside.
“Really?” We giggled.
The asparagus canapes were going down a treat when somebody told us that the police had sent for reinforcements. “Surely not,” we said. “What? Just to manage the dozen or so teenagers who had turned out to see him”
PETER with the owner and managers of the new store ⇒
It was only then that we began to perceive that there were more of them out there than had first been apparent. “Oh, they’re just part of the bus queue,” quipped someone hopefully. But they weren’t!
“Whatever he’d got, I wish I had it,” said one fellow, disconsolately. Funny, I’d just been thinking about these long, blonde models that were languishing about the place – Jason King style.
When The Champ finally emerged from the section marked ‘Jeans’ and went round to open the front door, some of us were, rather nervously, wondering what was going to happen. From being the privileged few on the inside, we suddenly realised the vulnerability of our situation. Not that we doubted, of course, that our dignity would survive all onslaughts. We were, after all, The Press. And we had been invited. It wasn’t, however, quite like that. In they streamed – thousands of them, clawing at his hair and his clothes; climbing on the glass counters and clambering over the racks of trousers. They sobbed and they screamed and very nearly trampled us under foot. And before we could say, “Excuse me, but do you wear false eyelashes?” we were booted, quite without ceremony, out of a nearby fire exit. Good Heavens!
Some of the policemen even thought we were fans! And later, back at the office, when they said, “What’s he like then?” We remarked casually that we didn’t really have the time to stay and chat with him. “Is it true that he wears false eyelashes?” someone asked. How the hell do I know?” I said, “he was wearing dark glasses!”
By Neil James – Journalist
Monday, 27th March, 1972: Opening of Harpers Music Store, Colchester.
It was in March 1972, when my daughter, Sharon, travelled all the way down from Edinburgh to Colchester to meet PETER for the very first time, while he was there to open the new Harpers music store.
When I’d read that PETER had been invited to open the shop in Head Street, I just knew I had to be there, and so Sharon and I took our places at the front of what turned out to be a very large queue, at 9am – that being a full three hours before PETER was due to arrive.
When his car finally pulled up outside the store, the thousands of fans who’d gathered in the street began screaming at the top height of their voices, and he was immediately surrounded by girls. He then began signing posters, photos and a every other bit of paper that was thrust in front of him.
In spite of all the shoving and pushing, PETER was really polite and took the time to speak with as many people as he possibly could. He told me that he’d actually began his acting career at the repertory theatre in Colchester, but hadn’t been allowed to stay long, because: “I was so bad, they threw me out!” He didn’t seem to hold a grudge, as he went on to say that he intended to visit the old theatre before he left the city.
As a memento of the day, I managed to get him to sign a piece of the ceremonial ribbon, which he signed for me. I thought he was lovely – so handsome”.
March 1972: PETER takes part in the Colchester Oyster Feast, Colchester.
PETER was one of 200 guests at the Oyster bash.
Fellow party-goers included comedian, Ronnie Corbett, ex-newsreader Robert Dougall, MP Anthony Buck, Lord Alport, Earl Jellicoe, The Bishop of Colchester and Lady Isobel Barnet.
Monday, 28th August 1972: The Hague, Holland.
PETER made a personal appearance at the fashion store, Gerzon, to promote the Jason King-line of men’s shirts.
Due to the number of hysterical fans that turned up to see him, the doors of the store had to remain closed, and PETER was forced to remain inside. He left the shop via the back door.
Sunday, 19th November, 1972.
PETER was asked to plant a tree for the Littlehampton branch of the World Wildlife Fund, for whom he’d been bestowed to honour of becoming Honourary President.
The occasion was sponsored by Prince Brenhard of the Netherlands, who’d sent the English Oak over from Holland.
Thursday, 14th December, 1972: PETER switched on the Christmas at the County Shopping Centre, Leeds.
PETER was invited by Leeds City Council to turn on the Christmas lights at the County Shopping Centre. He was met on his arrival at the Queen’s Hotel by a bevy of ‘Miss Christmases’, who accompanied him to the Centre.
The big switch-on was followed by a party for the shop staff, at which PETER was the guest of honour.
1973: Publicity Visit. Oslo, Norway.
⇐ PETER with two of his female bodyguards in Oslo
Thursday, 29th November 1973: PETER was host of the Y.M.C.A. Christmas Fair, Europa Hotel, London.
PETER was invited to open the annual Y.M.C.A. Christmas Fair at the Europa Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square. The event had been organised by the Young Women’s Christian Association of Great Britain, under the chairmanship of Lady Lew Grade.
After taking to the stage to officially open the fair, he perused the charity stalls, which included some selling bric-a-brac, homemade cakes and pastries and even a Palmist. Since he was appearing in ‘The King and I’ in the West End at the time, PETER took an extra special interest in a stall selling exotic gifts from Thailand.
As a result of his help, the event raised over £7,000 for the charity.
Wednesday, 27th February, 1974
PETER was invited to sit on a select panel to interview 16 check-out operators from Fine Fare supermarkets, who were competing for the title of ‘Miss Fine Fare’.
The interviews were held at Selfidges in Oxford Street, London. PETER attended a special lunch afterwards.
Thursday, 9th May, 1974:
Impresario, Larry Parnes, invited the stars from twenty West End shows to a special midnight showing of the show, ‘Flowers’, starring Lindsay Kemp. The performance, which was free, was held at the Regent Theatre. Mingling with personalities were four collectors from the Variety Artists Benevolent Fund.
⇐PETER making his donation
Thursday, 18th July, 1974: PETER makes an appearance at the Dragonara Hotel in Middleborough, along with the cast of ‘Present Laughter’ which, at the time, was being staged at the Forum in Billingham. The event has been organised by social workers based in Teesside to help raise funds for a scheme to provide holidays for underprivileged children in the Cleveland area. £350 was raised.
Monday, 9th September, 1974: The management of the Old Vic Theatre chose ‘Present Laughter’ to re-open their splendid Georgian theatre in September 1974, after its summer refurbishment. The Duke of Gloucester was the guest of honour at the black-tie occasion, joined guests of the management and company at a champagne party on stage after the show. There were many civic dignitaries from Bristol, Bath and elsewhere to lend importance to the occasion, which brought hopeful signals for a new and profitable lease of life to the grand old theatre.
Thursday, 12th September, 1974: PETER opens a new theatre ticket office at Mackross in Cardiff ⇒
Friday, 13th September, 1974: PETER opens the new Rymarket branch of Woolworths in Stourbridge, Worcestershire.
Tuesday, 15th October, 1974: PETER opens the Market Yard Fine Fare superstore at Towbridge, Wiltshire.
⇐ Front and back view of a souvenir card produced by Carl Gresham Promotions for his appearance at Fine Fare supermarket.
Thursday, 17th October, 1974: Peter opens a new Woolworths store in Leicester
PETER cutting the ribbon at the new Woolworths store ⇒
Sunday, 14th December, 1975: Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London
PETER attended the Variety Artistes Ladies and Children’s Guild annual dinner and ball, the funds from which aided the aforementioned charity.
The organisation raised funds for their work in caring for the children and elderly members of the Variety profession – especially those who were no longer able to work and needed regular assistance.
1977: PETER hosted the Silver Jubilee pensioner’s meal. Annabelle’s Cafe, Fulham Road, London.
PETER with actress Susan Hampshire at Annabelle’s Café ⇒
Thursday, 30th June, 1983: London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, London. Appearance to publicise the play ‘Underground’.
Sunday, 17th July, 1983: Brightwell Gardens, Farnham. Charity garden party.
Saturday, 15th July, 1989: PETER is invited to open a school fete in Crawley, Sussex, mingling with mothers and children alike for the entire day.
Tuesday, 23rd November, 1993: PETER is guest of honour at the National Film Theatre in London, for the first ever showing of Granada Television’s ‘The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes’ episode, ‘The Three Gables’.
March 1997: PETER was one of the special guests to witness the re-opening of the world-famous Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.
Once known as Britain’s movie capital, over eighty films were shot there, including ‘Ivanhoe’ (1952), ‘Ben Hur’ (1959), ‘Doctor Zhivago’ (1965), 2001: ‘A Space Odyssey’ (1968), ‘Star Wars’ (1977) and ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ (1991).
During the 1960’s and 70’s,the studio became better known for its connections with the television industry, with both ‘Department S’ and ‘Jason king’ being made there.
As part of the opening ceremony, PETER headed a guided tour of the studio and backlot, which was recorded and shown on local TV news. Other guests at the event included actress Liz Fraser and the late actor, Christopher Lee.
Monday 31st May, 1999: PETER was amongst marksmen at a charity clay-pigeon shoot at Dame Vera Lynn’s country estate, who helped raise £8,000 for the S.O.S. Appeal.
Sunday, 13th February, 2000: The first charity Pro/Celebrity Bridge Tournament was held at the White House Hotel, London, was a great success, with eight tables in play and a lot of enthusiasm and good will from all sides. The event in aid of the Millennium Charity Save the Children, was won by Su Burn and tenor, Ian Partridge.
Wednesday, 30th October, 2002: PETER was the special guest at the National Film Theatre’s Celebration of British Horror, during the course of which ‘Night of the Eagle’ was screened.
Wednesday, 10th November, 1971: Judge. Miss World Competition.
On November 10th, 1971, PETER was asked to act as Chairman of a panel of nine judges of the ‘Miss World’ contest, which was broadcast live on BBC1, and compared for the 10th and final time by TV personality, Michael Aspel.
PETER’s team of judges for the occasion included Peter Scott, Des O’Connor, Douglas Fairbanks, Julie Ege, Peter Dimmock, Sam Speigel, Jean Terrell and Lovelace Watkins. Each of the judges where asked to submit their first, second and third choices. PETER’s votes, in order of preference, were as follows: Miss Guyana, Miss Brazil and Miss Portugal.
So, how close were PETER’s choices to the final outcome? In third place was Miss Portugal; Second, was Miss United Kingdom; and the Miss World crown and £40,000 first prize went to Miss Brazil.
Oh, well – one out of three wasn’t bad!
Although PETER enjoyed the occasion, his comments concerning the event some time later weren’t quite so complimentary:
“I thought it would be marvellous, but I must say I was a little disappointed with the selection – and the winners. But I mean, how can you possibly judge?
“You’re awarding points on the basis of personality a well as looks, yet you saw next to nothing of their personalities. And they’d all been taught to look the same with those funny little walks. They looked as if they were about to fall over backwards!
“They’d walk up to the judges table like this, or this, and then they go off again, I’ve got nothing against the contest; I never sympathised with Women’s Lib. I think it’s a good thing to have so many countries brought together under any circumstances, and especially good for the country that wins in terms of public relations. But for a genuine contest to choose the world’s most beautiful woman! You’d be better taking them to bed, one by one, and judge them on sex appeal!”
Friday, 11th August, 1972. Judge. Beauty contest at the Goldmine nightclub, Canvey Island.
Friday, 10th November, 1972. Judge. Centre Girl of the Year.
Francois Bes was elected Centre Girl of the Year on November 10th, 1972, at a gala evening held at the new Regent Centre Hotel in London, in front of 600 Centre Hotel staff and guests, which was followed by a buffet dance.
PETER was asked to head a panel of four judges, who included ex-boxer, Henry Cooper, television presenter, Shaw Taylor, and fashion editor, Linda Foster.
During her 12 month reign, Bordeaux-born Francois – a secretary to the company’s Purchasing Manager, not only won the opportunity to represent Centre Parks at various events throughout to coming year, but was also given the chance to win the prestigious Catering Princess title.
PETER and his fellow judges were asked to select a winner from the twenty finalists on poise and personality.
Thursday, 4th January, 1973. Judge Miss TV Europe.
PETER was elected Chairman of a panel of judges who elected 24-year-old Sylvia Kristel from Utrech in the Netherlands, ‘Miss TV Europe’. The then model, beat Zoe Spink of the United Kingdom and Anne-Marie Godart from France into second and third places, respectively.
The event took place at ATV’s Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.
One of the more noteworthy moments of the evening was the image of PETER giving Ms Kristel her first ever ‘screen kiss’. She, of course, latterly became the star of the soft porn ‘Emmanuel’ films and their endless sequels, and of Stanley Hyers remake of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ in 1981.
Australian ‘entertainer. Rolf Harris, who was one of the judges and also appears in the photograph above, was jailed in 2014 on sexual assault charges.
Friday, 15th June, 1973: Judge. Miss Fine Fare.
Saturday, November 28th, 2015: Flash Gordon 35th Anniversary Celebration
The evening took place at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly. Guest for the black-tie event included PETER, Brian Blessed, Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson and director, Mike Hodges.
PETER with the original Klytus mask ⇒
To help celebrate this historic event, artist Alex Ross created a stunning and unique print inspired by the occasion that was available to all ticket holders, before being released as a print to the public this year.The evening also raised money for the charity “MediCinema”.
Saturday, 30th January, 2016: The John Steed Ball
⇐PETER with Fenella Fielding (centre)
The inaugural John Steed Ball was a celebration of the life of Patrick Macnee in his best known incarnation as John Steed in The Avengers at the exclusive penthouse private members club, Eight Club Moorgate, with heated terraces and stunning views of the City of London.
Included a Q&A with PETER Fenella Fielding.
The ball is conceived by Count Indigo, doyen of the European lounge music renaissance who has organised parties for Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett and many other luminaries. The event was supported by Studio Canal (who own the rights to The Avengers).
Guests were asked to dress in Avengers-appropriate evening wear but not necessarily in bowler hats! Profits from the evening were donated to two great charities of particular relevance to the memory of John Steed: Medicinema who organise film screenings in hospitals, and The Actor’s Fund who provide help and care for everyone working in television and film industries.
The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/