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The Extraordinary Life of April Ashley

  • Season 1

Summary

From wartime Liverpool slums to London's high society, the epic story of one of Britain's most prominent transgender women - model, dancer, and pioneer for transgender equality

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Episode 1: The Extraordinary Life of April Ashley

Summary

Documentary about the transgender model, dancer and restaurateur, whose life took her from the slums of wartime Liverpool to the height of Knightsbridge society. In the late 1950s, April became a dancer in an infamous Parisian nightclub, before travelling to Casablanca to undergo pioneering gender reassignment surgery. Returning to Britain, she became a model for Vogue before being outed by a tabloid newspaper. From then on, her life was a rollercoaster involving celebrity friendships, a landmark divorce trial and an MBE for services to transgender equality

Review

There can’t be many lives more extraordinary than that of April Ashley. A true pioneer and trailblazer, Ashley was born George Jamieson in 1935 in Liverpool, and became one of the first people in Britain known to have gender reassignment surgery; a procedure carried out in Casablanca at a great personal cost, both financially and physically. In transitioning, she found herself having to navigate a world that plainly wasn’t ready for her; facing ineffable prejudice, abuse and derision.

However, driven by her remarkable strength of character, she went on to work as a model, appearing in Vogue, and also opened a restaurant in Knightsbridge where she rubbed shoulders with celebrities and high society. More pointedly, Ashley – who died in December aged 86 – paved the way for those who were to follow her: she campaigned to be legally recognised as female, and in 2012 received an MBE for services to transgender equality.

Although a preview of this one-off documentary wasn’t available, we’re promised contributors aplenty and a biography of a woman whose incredible story deserves to be more widely known.

How to watch

Next showing

There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show. But it is available via the streaming provider below.

Streaming

Details

Released on
2022-07-04
Languages
English
Formats
Colour

Credits

Crew

rolename
DirectorJane Preston
ProducerJane Preston
ProducerJoe Fell
Executive producerNeil Crombie
Executive producerJoe Evans

All episodes

  • Summary

    Documentary about the transgender model, dancer and restaurateur, whose life took her from the slums of wartime Liverpool to the height of Knightsbridge society. In the late 1950s, April became a dancer in an infamous Parisian nightclub, before travelling to Casablanca to undergo pioneering gender reassignment surgery. Returning to Britain, she became a model for Vogue before being outed by a tabloid newspaper. From then on, her life was a rollercoaster involving celebrity friendships, a landmark divorce trial and an MBE for services to transgender equality

    Review

    There can’t be many lives more extraordinary than that of April Ashley. A true pioneer and trailblazer, Ashley was born George Jamieson in 1935 in Liverpool, and became one of the first people in Britain known to have gender reassignment surgery; a procedure carried out in Casablanca at a great personal cost, both financially and physically. In transitioning, she found herself having to navigate a world that plainly wasn’t ready for her; facing ineffable prejudice, abuse and derision.

    However, driven by her remarkable strength of character, she went on to work as a model, appearing in Vogue, and also opened a restaurant in Knightsbridge where she rubbed shoulders with celebrities and high society. More pointedly, Ashley – who died in December aged 86 – paved the way for those who were to follow her: she campaigned to be legally recognised as female, and in 2012 received an MBE for services to transgender equality.

    Although a preview of this one-off documentary wasn’t available, we’re promised contributors aplenty and a biography of a woman whose incredible story deserves to be more widely known.

    How to watch

    Next showing

    There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show. But it is available via the streaming provider below.

    Streaming

    Details

    Released on
    2022-07-04
    Languages
    English
    Formats
    Colour

    Credits

    Crew

    rolename
    DirectorJane Preston
    ProducerJane Preston
    ProducerJoe Fell
    Executive producerNeil Crombie
    Executive producerJoe Evans

How to watch

Next showing

There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show. But it is available via the streaming provider below.

Streaming

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