It was while working with Dave Brindle at The Empire Leicester that we first encountered Downtown Julie Brown – World Disco Dancing Champion – plus the celebrity flashing diva and a huge cardboard box.
We first met her as a contestant in the UK heat of the EMI World Disco Dancing Championship 1979. A bubbly hopeful from Bridgend, with a huge smile, infectious laugh and a talent that powered her through to the world final. The media took to her instantly; the public became hooked, and the nationally transmitted final became “much watch” television. Peter Gordino presented the show, and a not to be named diva was booked to entertain during the show.
The truth is, we all gotten fed up with the not to be named diva long before the show began. Contractors had to be commissioned to create a seeming brand new antique dressing room for her, with some staff remarking that the fairly frequent visits to The Empire by royalty caused less fuss.
Each of us had our specific duties throughout the live broadcast, and Carol Overton, Tony White, Margaret Ealey, Bob Upsall, Steve Minchin, the staff and the whole of the television audience were united in their support for Julie.
Then it was her turn to dance “Julie Brown from Bridgend representing the United Kingdom”. I don`t think anyone took a breath from the moment she entered the dancefloor with her dazzling gold costume and multicolour beaded hair. Suddenly, as she shimmered and spun, the beads cascaded over the dance-floor and into the audience.
A disaster. Clearly it was all over!
When each of the contestants had danced it was time for the diva, who had proved throughout the day that she was far too important to speak to the likes of us. However she did her number, smiled for the cameras and ran back to her dressing room. Unfortunately she was not dressed for such momentum, which caused her bosoms to jump over the top of her dress as though in a bid for freedom, creating a spectacular flash to a large section of the invited audience. “Serves her right,” muttered a male onlooker. “Talk about believing your own press.”
The Empire went crazy when the judges announced that Julie Brown was the winner of the EMI World Disco Dancing Championship. Not only had the judges selected who they thought was the best dancer. They had also chosen one of the most humble and appreciative people you could wish to meet.
I don`t think anyone noticed our flashing diva leaving the building, but the cardboard boxes from some of her brand new antique furniture created havoc when left out for collection in Soho. Some were large enough for two people to sleep in!
Of course that was the beginning of the Downtown Julie Brown story. She went on to become a dancer on Top of the Pops in the troup “Zoo”, a presenter on Children`s television, including “Crackerjack”. Then one of the key presenters on MTV – hosting “Club MTV”. After she left MTV she went to ESPN, interviewing stars of football, then to LA to host the “E Entertainments” gossip show.
She has appeared nude in Playboy and appeared in numerous films and television productions.
Not bad for a humble and appreciative girl from Bridgend – who showered beads all over The Empire audience on national television!
Image from allmusic.com
Additional information from wikipedia