hailed as another Marilyn Munroe
a tiara and the lot. We were both starving so we pulled up, bought two huge helpings of ﬁsh and chips and ate them in the back of the Rolls.
“She hasn’t changed. Whenever I meet Nyree she’s always in a great hurry to get home to Bryon. He’s a great cook.”
Nyree also cooks, and is quietly boastful about her sponge cakes.
She married Bryon shortly before leaving New Zealand. He comes from Waipukurau, 50 miles south of Napier, and played opposite her in The Solid Gold Cadillac.
BRYON followed Nyree to London and they decided to stay in England. Nyree went into repertory at Leatherhead, Surrey. She reached the West End in 1960 in a revue called Look Who’s Here. Critics declared that Nyree was another Marilyn Monroe and sprinkled their copy with references to slipping shoulder straps, thin black dresses and sex appeal.
In almost every part that followed, Nyree’s looks dominated her notices. She became worried about the danger of type-casting, and would have preferred more attention to her acting.
Illnesses, ranging from jaundice to a slipped disc, and a recurrence of back trouble from an old dancing injury, interfered with her career. But by 1964, Nyree was averaging an appearance every month on television and she was strongly tipped for the role that Diana Rigg eventually won in The Avengers.
Nyree was certainly considered for the part, although memories of the discussions about it at the time have become blurred. One company executive said: “My recollection is that Nyree turned down the suggestion.” Another said: “Diana was the best girl for the part and I don’t think Nyree was really in the running.”
Nyree is also vague, but said: “I’m not sorry I didn’t have the part. I wouldn’t have been keen on a long run in a role which allowed so little scope to develop the character.” As things turned out, The Forsyte Saga was to give her greater opportunities.
Nyree and Bryon say that they aren’t worried that Nyree’s success has been greater than Bryon’s. He is at present a dancer in the stage musical, Man from La Mancha.
Wendy Craig said: “Nyree and Bryon have a very good relationship. He mothers her and she’s the sort who demands it. Nyree has a very happy marriage, a sort of oasis there in Kilburn. The couple seem complete within themselves.”
Nyree melts when Bryon is present. She will look to him to answer questions. She said: “I was terribly insecure before I met him. I feel more secure and happier than 10 years ago.”
The couple have no children yet. Nyree had a miscarriage when three months pregnant. That was while she was working at Leatherhead.
Now she says: “I want to have a baby.” She talks of “when” she has a child, rather than “if.” And, thinking possibly of her own child-hood, Nyree says she would tend to be over-indulgent as a parent. The O’Leary ﬂat is in a modest block in a pleasant tree-lined road near Maida Vale Underground station. It is furnished comfortably but with a lack of character which suggests they have not decided whether to stay.
Merle, Nyree’s sister, who is eight years younger, lives with them. Nyree has acted protectively towards Merle ever since their parents’ divorce.
Nyree says she has never thought of returning to New Zealand. She hasn’t been back, not even for a visit.
Although Nyree says she has been lucky in showbusiness, she also works hard for her success. As Irene in The Forsyte Saga she had to look as though she was playing the piano. Nyree learned to play by a short-cut system which Bryon devised.
She said: “I wasn’t going to have this terrible thing where you get a lovely shot over the top of the piano of a lovely smiling musical face while my hands, out of camera, are lying in the lap.”
Allen Smart, director of Never a Cross Word, said: “Nyree is terribly thorough and wants to go on rehearsing when there’s no need to. For one of our episodes, that had to be shot in torrential rain, she ran for over half a mile behind a caravan while wearing a nightdress.
“You wouldn’t have, put a dog out in such a deluge, but Nyree didn’t mind.”
SCRIPTWRITER Donald Churchill explains: “Girls don’t generally take acting as professionally as men. They’re always talking about babies, lovers or knitting. Nyree is different. She is totally immersed in acting.”
An actress said: “Nyree writes down everything about her role. And she seems to spend most of the time sitting in corners taking notes.”
Yet Nyree says that she is not ambitious. She explained: “I never have been. I was never one of those who plan their whole career as children. I work from day to day and take what comes.
“I like the acting, but I worry so much about my work that I’m not dedicated to it. I could give up any time.
“If I reach a stage where I ﬁnd that I’m not getting any more satisfaction from acting, I shall give up.” Did she think that time would come? Nyree laughed. “Ask me again in a few years’ time,” she said, “Maybe all my ideas will change when I have a baby.”
So far, Nyree’s career is still on the upswing.
Reviews of the ﬁrst episode of Never a Cross Word were not enthusiastic. “Highly unoriginal,” was one summing up. “Domestic cliches” was another. But the criticism was aimed at the author rather than Nyree. Her characterisation has yet to be weighed.
So who really is this “little white star-shaped ﬂower” from New Zealand?
She is neither the cool, aloof Irene of The Forsyte Saga, nor the twitter-brained Deirdre of Never a Cross Word.
She is Nyree Dawn Porter, beautiful, unsure, worried . . . yet somehow content.
A GLIMPSE INTO NYREE’S FUTURE
A look into the future for Nyree Dawn Porter is made here by TVTimes clairvoyant MAURICE WOODRUFF, who each week will give predictions for TVTimes readers and a television personality. Nyree’s birthday is January 22 and her birth sign is Aquarius. Woodruff predicts that she will do extremely well in two TV plays – one a comedy, the other drama. A child will also play an important part in her life.
CAPRICORN (December 21 to January 19)
At last, you should be able to form a happy tie-up with a member of the opposite sex. You should be extra busy at work because a colleague is away.
AQUARIUS (January 20 to February 18)
Your leisure hours will be busy, and a personal tie should be in the limelight. You should be able to make some new and lasting friends.
PISCES (February 19 to March 20)
There might be a slight disagreement with a member of the family. Try to remember that, although that person is rather dogmatic, he or she means well. Finances are favourable.
ARIES (March 21 to April 20)
There may be a business link-up which will turn out well in the near future. There could be a happy surprise outing for you at the end of this week.
TAURUS (April 21 to May 20)
A happy new friendship could be formed. It may be necessary to be firm with someone close to you.
GEMINI (May 21 to June 20)
Your popularity should be on the upswing, and this could help you to make headway with an ambition. You could meet an old friend.
CANCER (June 21 to July 21)
There may be news of a journey combining business with pleasure. The slight indisposition of a near one may make you cancel an outing.
LEO (July 22 to August 21)
The arrival of a visitor makes this a busy week, but things should be most enjoyable. A new person around could be helpful.
VIRGO (August 22 to September 21)
You should have no worries about work or money. You can now afford to show your feelings about romance.
LIBRA (September 22 to October 22)
Ask favours and make propositions. Follow advice given to you by a close friend – it should be worthwhile.
SCORPIO (October 23 to November 21)
Try to stay neutral when an argument occurs between two other people. An emotional association is promising.
SAGITTARIUS (November 22 to December 20)
A misunderstanding with a relative could be cleared up now. There will be changes at work. Excellent prospects for travel.