Family Histories: KKKK-Katy!

Some of you who’ve been watching progress of the exhibition via my Facebook page, may have noticed occasional messages there from my cousin Katy. We are great chums, and have been since I was taken in by Katy’s parents, my aunt Amy and her husband J.L. Manning, so that l could attend the Italia Conti Stage School in Clapham North. The school didn’t board pupils, and I was too young to be living on my own. By the time I came to live with the Manning family in the 1960s, my lovely cousin Jane was a fashion model living in the U.S., but Katy, embarking on a career in the theatre, was still at home. (I shall be writing about Jane and my American family in a future post.)

Amy had been the youngest of eight siblings until Trevor turned up unexpectedly to surprise and inconvenience everyone, not least his parents, who’d thought that their child-rearing was over! Amy often told me that she and Trevor became close because her parents put her in charge of the late arrival to the family. Trevor admitted that while his mother adored and spoiled him, it was Amy who shouldered the day to day responsibilities of looking after him

Trevor arrived when most of his siblings were already adults. Here he poses in a photographer’s studio set with his eldest brother Reg, just back from World War I

Trevor turned out to be a mischievous boy, always getting into scrapes for which his sister was invariably held accountable. The other siblings were all either adults or getting that way, and he explained to me that his relationship with most of them was more akin to their being his aunts and uncles. But Amy was definitely his big sister and protector, and that closeness lasted throughout their long lives.

Trevor and Amy in the garden of Oak House, Llanfrechfa

So it was to Amy that my dad turned when I needed a place to live in London, and as had always been the case in his life, his big sister came up with the solution. Off I went with a suitcase to live with the Mannings in Dulwich, and just as Amy and Trevor had been close as siblings, so Katy and I became close cousins. Since then, despite the fact that life has taken us down divergent pathways… mostly on different continents… Katy and I have remained very close.

And so we come to Jo Grant. Jo Grant was a significant role in an iconic TV series with an iconic leading man, and as his companion for three years, Jo/Katy will forever be the iconic Doctor’s ‘assistant’ of that time. Blonde and diminutive, with shaggy-cut hair, mini-skirts, thigh-boots, skinny bomber-jackets and trademark silver rings on every finger and thumb, Jo/Katy gamely chuckled and screamed her way through the Doctor Who universe!

Jon and Katy

These days I meet grown men that go misty-eyed and weak at the knees when they recall Jo Grant, and it tickles me that her creator is my cousin. It follows Katy everywhere, this adoration for a character that undoubtedly opened doors for her, but would become, as all such things must eventually become, something she had to distance herself from.


I think Katy has balanced her life very well. She enjoyed… and continues to enjoy… a great post-Who career, and she has two wonderful children, Georgie and JJ. She attends the occasional convention and puts on the ‘Jo Grant’ show for the fans, and I think she relishes the weirdness of finding her younger-self reinvented as an action figure, in her own words, “in wrist-restraints under plastic”! Because Katy knows I am a geek at heart… with a ‘Big Bang Theory’ love of science-fiction and an undiminished delight in toys… she sent me a gift that has blown my socks off with happiness. I present to you, “little” Jo!


Be still my beating heart.

Below: Me, my sister Jacqui and Katy. London in the mid-1950s

Below: some time later! Georgie, Katy, Jack and me.

22 thoughts on “Family Histories: KKKK-Katy!

  1. Pingback: my days away | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. From a very early age (thanks probably to Star Wars) i’ve thought that having an action figure made in your likeness is the very pinnacle of fame!

  3. Wow! Before this, I didn’t actually know anyone who’s had an action figure made after them! Terrific! The last photo reminds me of a sad, interesting, joyful and fun day spent in the loving fold of your family. Such a jumble of emotions observed there. A wonderful memory, though… xo AM

      • The internment of Amy’s ashes at Llanfrechfa in 2011 marked quite a gathering of our family. She had been the last of the nine siblings to die, and had presided over the trailing off of her once robust tribe of brothers and sisters with grace and wisdom. It can’t have been easy for her, being the one who survived all the others. And now, looking at the photographs, I realise how much I want to see my American family again, and that I shouldn’t put off for too much longer the trip to Virginia to be with them.

        Trevor and Amy made their last trip there when he was eighty-five and she was… oh my… it doesn’t bear thinking about. I can’t believe that we actually let them get on the plane! Ha ha! But they had a wonderful time. Wonderful. Looking back I think he must have known that he was dying, but he kept it to himself.

        They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  4. Hah, what fun! I remember my children were impressed that you were Whoian-related. I believe after a while they thought you were related to everything interesting.

    You know, my mother was born after her mother had borne 8 children (one died as a baby). She “turned up unexpectedly to surprise the family. (Not least [her] mother, who thought that her child-bearing days were over.” So she ended up being raised in great part by a big sister, with whom she remained close. XD

  5. OK, I’m coming out. I, er, ahem, go to sci-fi conventions from time to time – if I see Katy at the next one I’ll go and say hi 🙂
    What a lovely post, Katy is FAB and that action figure is so covetable

        • Hahha… that was brilliant! Well you made my Whovian 16 year old daughter Lucy’s day with this posting, Clive. I called her in and said ‘you know my friend Clive, this is his cousin’, to which she replied ‘no .. hang on I know that face…doctor who…oooh Jo Grant!’

          I can also come out Phil that we go to the London Comicon and enjoy it as much as the kids do – though I must admit I’ve yet to pluck up courage to arrive in costume! Lucy has several costumes… mostly doctor who assistants… but in her wardrobe she has cap and overalls plus moustache ready to go as one of the Mario bros! Joe prefers Frodo Baggins or Harry Potter – mad family – but fun. Thanks for the post Clive, and the lovely photos. Jac x

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