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Miss World 1970

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 05 September 2010

In 1970, the Miss World held at the Royal Albert Hall in London was disrupted by feminists protesting that the competition was a cattle market. Bob Hope, presenting the event, stood on a stage pelted with tomatoes and flour bombs. Bouncers were sprayed with blue ink. The women disrupting the competition shouted: 'we're not beautiful, we're not ugly, we're angry.'

Bob Hope's less than enlightened verdict on the events was that anyone who might disrupt Miss World 'must be on some kind of dope'. But the Women's Liberation Movement proved otherwise.

The Women's Liberation Movement's protests at the Miss World contest were not solely aimed at rejecting the event itself though, but more at the implications of the wider exploitation of women in society. Economically and socially, women were subject to continual discrimination and the epitome of such prejudice was highlighted by this public celebration of female beauty.

The programme looks at the event through the eyes of the participants who were involved both on and off stage. It examines their motives for participating in the protest and how those organising the event and taking part as contestants felt about the contest. Sue is joined by the former Miss World of 1970; Jennifer Hosten, one of the key organisers; Peter Jolley and protestors Sally Alexander and Jo Robinson.

Producer: Christina Captieux
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.


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