This page is the result of a recent experience in Il Bastardo Assoluto, an upmarket restaurant I occasionally favour with my presence. I'd been unwise enough to allow myself to be drawn into conversation with a tiresome and unfamiliar diner.

"I have known many beautiful women in my time", remarked this mysterious stranger, in a cultured but world-weary voice, an enigmatic and bitter-sweet smile touching his lean, aristocratic and curiously haggard face.

"So what?" I responded in a (it must be admitted) slightly bitter tone. "The only reason they even gave you the time of day was because you had looks, brains, charm and money. Okay, so maybe you do still have all of those - but now you are OLD; and you're probably IMPOTENT. Hah!"

Some time later, after being escorted courteously from my seat by a previously unnoticed and unusually muscular gentleman in an expensive suit, I had the opportunity to reflect upon the wisdom of my choice of words. In the somewhat cramped darkness of the reeking trash can, among the rotting vegetables, soiled nappies and discarded hypodermic syringes, I comforted myself with the thought that my words had surely caused the old fool more hurt than his pathetic excuse for a bodyguard had given me. Indeed, my nose no longer seemed to be bleeding quite so heavily, and I felt that I had, in a very real sense, won the exchange. However, I did not yet feel quite up to extricating myself from my predicament - though I felt certain that neither of my legs was actually broken. So I set to making a mental list of some of MY women. The following is the result.

Siân Phillips. Without any doubt, this is the most perfectly constructed human being. I say "human being", yet when contemplating her grace and elegance, and that achingly beautiful bone structure, I find it difficult to convince myself that she is not a supernatural entity whose sole purpose is to break hearts and render lesser mortals prostrate with awe.  If you like Siân as much as I do you might want to look at some more pictures of her here.

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Katherine Helmond.  Another mature woman: I fell in love with her when I first saw her as Jessica Tate in the US comedy series "Soap". She's gorgeous!

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Celia Imrie.  An actress who tends to play lots of 'snooty' roles. She has a decidedly lascivious smile.

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Kathleen Harrison. Since first noticing her in the series of "Huggett" films, when I was a boy, I always thought her wonderful. She epitomised the cheerful, loyal and pragmatic side of womanhood, and she was also beautiful, with an incredibly cute voice.

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Agnes Moorehead. Unlike most other male devotees of the series "Bewitched" I was never particularly enamoured of Elizabeth Montgomery, though she was a decent actress and pretty enough: it was Aggie who cast a spell on me (*groan*).

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Sissy Spacek. Strange-but-lovely Texan.

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Angie Dickinson.  While I must admit, "Police Woman" was neither the most exciting, nor the most cerebrally constructed of series, I did and do find Miss Dickinson a joy. Unlike Siân Phillips, she strikes me as a mere mortal - but that is not a serious criticism as she oozes sex appeal.

Lucille Ball.  I love Lucy! She was gorgeous and funny, as so few now seem able to be. Contemporary comediennes tend either to have a streak of maliciousness or are stupid rather than genuinely kooky.

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Thelma Ritter.  Often seen with Lucy, a diminutive, tough, witty woman who always looked very cuddly.

Joan Crawford.  An absolute gorgon of a woman, and always deeply erotic. She made Whatever Happened to Baby Jane into one of the most bizarrely sexy movies ever. Well, for me, anyway.

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Gloria Swanson.  The *star* of Sunset Boulevard.

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Maggie Smith. A great actress, and a great-looking woman, rather more refined than most of my other choices. I have a nice fantasy in which I play Mellors to her Lady C, and sometimes Parker to her Lady P!

Glenda Jackson. Another undeniably great actress - or she was before she became an indifferent MP. Deserves a special award for the number of times she stripped off in her films.

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Jean Marsh. She played the wicked Queen Bavmorda in Willow.

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P.S. As I suspected, neither leg was actually broken, and I expect to be out of hospital as soon as the doctors have finished reconstructing my face.

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