Six 'Fabulous Fashionistas' with the average age of 80 brought a breath of fresh air to the night's viewing, and a stunning antidote to all those boring, cloned orange women we usually see.
All six had tasted much sweetness, but also sorrow along the way, but they were buggered if they were going to sit and ruminate about such things when there was life to be lived.
Gillian Lynne is still working as a choreographer at 87
Blessed with collective good health, style and lots and lots of attitude, all six had found different ways to arrive at their current joyful perches.
Jean had lost her husband after a blissful half-century, and found herself behind the counter in Gap, giving customers the benefit of her sartorial wisdom and giving Daphne, the country's oldest model at 85, a run for her money in the style stakes with her fringe.
Jean found herself behind the counter of Gap in her 70s
Equally colourful was Sue, whose mantra is "Don't wear beige, it might kill you." Staying alive instead involved living in a world colourful all the way down to her scarlet crocs. "I don't want to go over the top," she said, wandering around the shops looking like a cross between Dame Edna and Liberace.
Two of these ladies were familiar faces. Gillian Lynne, well-known forever as the legging-ed choreographer of 'Cats', is still in the same leotard at an UNBELIEVABLE 87. Her great reward? Marriage to a tomboy, at which many an observer frowned at the time. "Everyone who disapproved has either died, or looks silly," she said triumphantly. Of the ageing process, she had a simple instruction to impart… 'DONT' LET IT IN.'
All six had valuable lessons to impart, to women - and men - of all ages
And 91-year-old Baroness Trumpington is an internet sensation, after dropping a V-sign to another peer in the House of Lords. She personified 'indomitable', giving some of the slightly patronising questions the contempt they deserved, and stopping to peruse her beloved catalogues. I loved the way she relished a bargain, and the words "twenty five quid for a jacket's not bad".
But my favourite of all was Bridget, proving at 75 that style does not demand wealth, with the proudest of her charity shop purchases a pair of £4 Doc Martens, and her decision to be a model as well, "as a political statement, really".
Without a Botox injection or a fake tan in sight, each of these ladies were an inspiration in themselves. And, by concentrating on this usually ignored community, Channel 4 gave a whole handful of life lessons to its viewers, male and female. Of any age. Bravo!
Gillian is 87 has worked full time since the 1940s when she started as a ballet dancer. A former dancer, Gillian still puts herself through a rigorous daily exercise regime and moves like a woman half her age. "You just mustn’t allow the ageing process in", she says. She most famously choreographed Cats and Phantom of the Opera and due to her job, Gillian spends most of her life in leggings, but loves the opportunity to bring out her wardrobe – including mini-skirts.
The youngest of the bunch at 73, Sue is American but has lived in Britain for 30 years. Sue was the hugely successful ‘Queen of Low Fat Cooking’, with a career writing cookery books and appearing on TV. Fifteen years ago, she gave it all up to become an ‘outsider’ artist. Now, Sue makes art, curates shows and even wears her art on her back – ‘released from the tyranny of fashion’ by her very individual and colourful style.
Jean, 75, feels her style is more street than smart. Remarkably, after her husband passed away, she got a job at Gap and became their oldest employee at 70. Now, she works in a boutique in Bath and loves it. Despite having a new knee, Jean also runs three times a week and says: "I’m leading a different life – it’s more adventurous."
You may have seen Daphne in The Guardian's Saturday magazine - at 85 Daphne is Britain’s oldest model but was only re-discovered when she was 70 years old. Recently widowed, she was invited to do a fashion shoot was soon signed up by a leading model agency. Since, she has travelled the world and become the iconic face of older models. Daphne says: "I’m now 85 and I think [about] when I get old… but so far I haven’t got old".
At 75, Bridget is the ultimate pin-up for looking fabulous for not much money. Her clothes and accessories come from charity shops and she survives on just £100 a week. Her most expensive recent purchase was a pair of Doc Marten boots for £4. Bridget says: "Style, as one gets older, is more noticeable. How I look is to do with my identity and the fun of it. It’s nothing to do with looking younger."
Lady Trumpington, 91, is the oldest woman in the House of Lords and has a wicked sense of humour. She became an internet sensation when she was caught on camera giving another peer the V sign for saying she was getting on in years. "The moment you start letting yourself go is the moment when you are old", she says. Lady Trumpington’s guilty pleasure of browsing through clothing catalogues has almost turned into an addiction, with new clothes being delivered almost every other day. She has been going to the same hairdresser for thirty years and her worry is that he might retire before she does.
Meet The Ladies