One of the great Maidens mysteries is finally solved! I am indebted to Jeff Simms for finally providing incontrovertible proof that there were indeed Star Maidens dolls
issued back in the 70s in the UK.
Yes, this is an amazing discovery indeed!
The final proof squared pretty well with the info provided earlier by emails from Lycia Collins and Mark Rogers. I myself had a sneaking suspicion there were dolls issued - I was sure I had seen some in Zodiac Toys, Blackburn in 1977 - and these vague memories played tantalisingly on the fringes of my deluded mind.
This example has sat unopened in Jeff's attic for nigh on 30 years. As he recalls "I remember I loved the show and my mum bought me the only thing she could find to keep me quiet but I don't remember being too impressed with a girls doll at the age of 10!" I remember this feeling well - I recall passing up two opportunuites to buy the Doctor Who Leela doll for a few quid back in 1979/80 because it was a silly girly dolly! And I would never have had a Purdey or Charlie's Angels dolly in the house either!
The doll really is a cheapo and shoddy piece of work, all told (even if it is a wonderful, nay stunning, souvenir of the 70s), made in Hong Kong and while no manufacturer is named on the packaging it is licensed as copyright Portman Productions Ltd 1976. It's obviously merely a repackaged standard production line doll dressed up in an ultra basic outfit and cheap blister packaging. The reverse of the board is plain and unprinted. Jeff's pictured doll is SUPREME COUNCILLOR FULVIA and as the art also depicts Octavia, Liz and a guard we can safely assume dolls of these charcaters were also issued.
Further details of the set were suggested by Lycia and Mark. Mark recalled they were "very cheap sub-Sindy figures with costumes like those worn by the
Medusans, not patterned after any of the actual characters in
the show but were licensed, with STAR MAIDENS on the packaging". The pictures bear this out - very clearly, none of the figures looked at all like the actors - they just had the same standard fashion dollyhead. Lycia once had a full set and she remembers "they varied from quite good outfits (Octavia) to nothing like it
at all (the President). The dolls were cheap and cheerful, the same
headsculpt and either brown or blonde straight hair.
They were cheap dolls in blister packs. The artwork was the same on all
the cards, a colour painting of a guard and maybe Octavia, perhaps with another
character. The dolls themselves had nicely
sculpted but identical faces with no attempt at depicting the actor. They had rooted eyelashes and an unsmiling face. The hair was long and straight and centre parted with no fringe/bangs. Skin
tone was tanned. The dolls were made of hollow plastic with articulation
at hips, knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders, wrists, waist and neck. The
plastic was thin and tore easily". Lycia recalls a set of five dolls:
Octavia: Blonde hair, green jumpsuit with blue cuffs, boots and a blue(?)
The President: Brown hair, long pink dress and multi coloured chiffon scarf.
Liz: Brown hair. Black jumpsuit with blue cuffs and I think a blue jacket
Guard: Blonde(?) with blue and green costume.
Fulvia: Blonde hair, I think she came in a short green dress.
This is interesting as it contradicts not only the photo here, with Fulvia in a drab green long dress, but also the backing artwork, which depicts Liz in her short green Medusan dress rather than uniform. The President certainly seems to be absent from the visible portion of the backing artwork also. It would not surprise me if Lycia was right however. Lycia believes that all the dolls were based on Linda Star, a brown haired 70s fashion doll who came in an Orange flared jumpsuit. All in, a truly amazing example of merchandise aimed squarely at the young (feminist) girl viewer. Thank you once again to Lycia, Mark and, most of all, Jeff for their contributions. Now, where can I get one???