What the press said after ‘Swallows and Amazons’ was released in 1974

Kit Seymour, Lesley Bennett, Simon West, Sophie Neville, Stephen Grendon, Ronald Fraser and Virginia McKenna on the newspaper advertisement for ‘Swallows and Amazons’ released in April 1974

A school friend of mine sent me this advertisement. She had found it in a teenage magazine we all read at the time called Tammy and Sandy. There was a similar one in The Sunday Times newspaper – and no doubt many others. Film posters hung in the London Underground and at cinemas throughout the country. Swallows and Amazons was to come out, on general release for the Easter Holidays.

My mother subscribed to a press clippings agency called Durrant’s ~ Durrant’s of Herbal Hill London ECI ~ who, for a fee of £50, sent her all the articles written about the film.  The Prince of Wales told a friend of mine that he never reads the newspapers. I know why. Reading about yourself is upsetting – or can be, especially if the facts are incorrect.  My mother didn’t mind.  She highlighted the bits about me, filling four albums.

After entertaining the Daily Express so nicely in the Lake District this is what they printed about the film. I would  think this is written by Ian Christie (1927-2010) the jazz clarinetist, who had formed the Christie Brothers Stompers with his brother Keith, and became a member of Humphrey Lyttelton’s band. He worked as a theater and film critic for the Daily Express for twenty-six years. Born in Blackpool and a habitue of Fleet Street pubs he held fiercely Left-wing views.

The same black and white photograph of me appeared on the front cover of The Daily Telegraph with the title ‘One Swallow won’t make a Summer’. Were they right?  The Scotsman said:

The Scotsman ~ 1st July 1974

However, Russell Davies of The Observer, another jazz musician who now presents Brain of Britain on BBC Radio 4,  saw that the film of Swallows and Amazons  had niche. (If you click on the article it will enlarge).

Jack Woolgar, Simon West, Suzanna Hamilton, Sophie Neville and Stephen Grendon in a review by Russell Davies in The Observer 7th April 1974

Others recognised it as an innocent nostalgia trip ~

Others just loved it:

Stephen Grendon and Sophie Neville appearing in Chelsea Post 12th April 1974

Rosemary Caink said that her three children, ‘completely identified themselves with the children in the story.’

My favorite article wasn’t found by Durrant’s. It was written in The Brownie and must have been sent to me by a fan.

Suzanna Hamilton, Stephen Grendon, Sophie Neville and Simon West, appearing in an article published in ‘The Brownie’ ~ 27th March 1974
Please click on the article to find out more about the Brownies.

I have many more articles ~ please let me know in the Comment box if you would like to see more. Otherwise I will move on to write about how the public responded and what happened next.

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

15 thoughts on “What the press said after ‘Swallows and Amazons’ was released in 1974”

  1. Naturally, both please!
    It’s a little bit difficult to read some of them, e.g. the Russell Davies one – tried blowing the photo up but not enough pixels. Not sure how to solve this short of a transcript! Never mind. We love’em anyway.

    1. The small articles Blog better than the larger ones. I am so glad you are interested in reading them. I found it difficult to read them at the time and, in a way, still do. I am sure the others in the cast would agree with me.

  2. It’s really interesting to see how some of the press can get it so wrong, and others hit the nail right on the head! But hindsight is a big help!

    1. Hugh Brogan thought that some members of the press had a mis-guided axe to grind. He was infuriated by their comments, which undoubtedly harmed the film and had far-reaching reprecussions.

      1. They couldn’t finish it off though. As we know, it’s an all-time favourite and still gets repeated showings on TV.

        1. It was sad because if the cinema ratings had been higher, Richard Pilbrow might have been able to raise the funds to produce an adaptation of ‘Great Northern?’ on Lewis or ‘We Didn’t Mean To Go to Sea’.

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