Taking goddess concept too far

There have always been, throughout the history of television, quietly gorgeous women that take the hearts of quiet, suburban men, and set them a-flutter.

Not showy, overtly sexual women, like Marilyn Monroe, but women who, deep within the subconscious of modern menfolk, become a secret dream, a fantasy of womanly joy.

Back in the 1970s, that woman was Felicity Kendal, who played Barbara Good from The Good Life.

Kendal was particularly popular with male viewers, and little boys both 14 and 44 with shameful night-time hobbies know this: Felicity Kendal was a love Goddess.

She was voted "Rear of the Year" in 1981 for her appearances wearing wellington boots and tight jeans in The Good Life.

She got a shout-out in an episode of Red Dwarf from ship computer Holly, who noted ". . . last month, we came across a moon shaped like Felicity Kendal's bottom.

"We flew around that one a couple of times".

In an episode of The Young Ones, the only way that a laundrette washing machine could be induced to take the main characters' revolting washing was by being told that the load contained a pair of Felicity Kendal's knickers.

But it wasn't just Felicity Kendal's bottom that drew her into the fertile, wandering minds of middle-class men after midnight.

She was smart, she was perky, and through her normality, she was somehow . . . attainable.

It is a big call, but I say to you this: Billie Piper is the Felicity Kendal of the new millennium.

As Rose Tyler in Doctor Who, she had many of the qualities of Barbara Good.

Working class this time, but smart - yes, brave - yes, perky - yes, and cute: cute as a button.

Billie Piper is back, as high-flying call girl Belle de Jour in Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Wednesday, March 10, 9.30pm on Prime).

And, slightly shockingly, she is completely naked nude.

The show, in fact, starts with this imageSecret Diary of a Call Girl follows the exploits of de Jour as she struggles with her career as both a call girl and an author, the arrival of her sister, and affairs of the heart.

Despite all that, there was only one matter I was left contemplating.

As the hint of a woman's ankle was a hint of joy in the 1800s, Barbara Good was a goddess of love in jeans and gumboots.

Billie Piper was a goddess with her clothes on in Doctor Who.

But, even as a strong supporter of naked ladies, I'm unsure whether we needed to go all the way.

Little boys, both 14 and 44, with shameful night-time hobbies, will have to watch, and make up their own minds.


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