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Calendar Girls (2004)
Starring Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, John Alderton, Linda Bassett
based on the women of the Rylstone and District Women's Institute near Skipton, North Yorkshire
Reel Face: Real Face:
Helen Mirren
July 26,
England, UK
Tricia Stewart Tricia Stewart
Birthplace: ?
Julie Walters Julie Walters
22, 1950
England, UK
Angela Baker Angela Baker
Birthplace: ?

"We didn't expect this much fuss. While we were doing it, we were a bit nervous at first. But it ended up being good fun thanks to quite a lot of red wine."
- Rosalyn Fawcett ("Miss November 2000" - Age 49)

Questioning the Story:

Was each actress in the film based on one of the real life calendar girls?
No. Much of the film was fictionalized, including the majority of the characters and their names. Similar situations obviously arose, such as Julie Walters' character's husband being diagnosed with leukemia, but the conglomeration of women in the film was created for the movie's story. It was not intended to represent the actual group of women. Intentional similarities do exist when comparing the close friendship of Annie (Julie Walters) and Chris (Helen Mirren) to that of Angela Baker and Tricia Stewart in real life. -BBC

Why did the women decide to do the calendar?
John BakerThe women decided to do the calendar to raise money to help fight leukemia after Angela Baker's husband John died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in July 1998 at age 54. John Richard Baker (pictured right) was a loving husband and worked as an Assistant National Park Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. From the onset of his illness, John grew sunflowers and gave them to his friends and family, hoping that he would recover by the time that they bloomed. Unfortunately, this was not the case, yet the image of the sunflower remained as a reminder of John and a symbol of the group's fund raising for leukaemia and lymphomas. The image of the sunflower is present throughout the calendars. -BBC

As in the film, did the other women of the WI really at first frown at the idea of the calendar?
No. Unlike in the film, the other members of the Women's Institute showed nothing but support for the calendar. This included the local group and the national organization as well. -BBC

How old were the women when the photos were taken?
Beryl BanforthThe models ranged in age from 45 to 65 when the photos were taken. Miss January, Beryl Banforth, was the oldest at 65. She is a retired secretary and posed in a photo chairing a meeting of women wearing nothing but hats (right). -BBC

Who took the photos for the calendar in real life?
The photos were taken by Terry Logan, who was the husband of Lynda Logan, one of the models. Terry was a former professional photographer. Lynda and Terry also had a family connection as to why the calendar was made. Lynda and Terry's daughter Georgina is married to Matthew the son of John and Angela (Miss February). Angela, Lynda and Terry share in the delight of their granddaughters Helena and Kristina.

Did the husbands really see the photographs prior to the calendar's official release?
In the film, the husbands, including Jem and Gaz, see the photographs prior to the launch of the calendar. In real life the husbands did not see the photographs until the day the calendar was released. This is of course with the exception of the photographer Terry Logan, who was the husband of one of the women. -BBC

Calendar Girls 2013 Calendar Cancer Benefit
Buy the 2013 Calendar - It's the Final Year!

It's your final chance to get your hands on the women who inspired the movie. The 2013 calendar features the original images and the images from 2010's ten year anniversary calendar. Most importantly, every purchase helps fund research to fight blood based cancers.

When was the calendar officially released and how successful was it?
The self-published Alternate WI Calendar, as it had been named, was released officially on April 12, 1999
. It was an instant sensation with the first printing selling out in a week. 10,000 more copies were made during a massive second printing and that load was gone after just three more weeks. Word spread quickly about the calendar, and the international press soon jumped on the story. By December of 1999, just nine months after its launch, the calendar had sold 88,000 copies, and raised some $550,000 for leukemia research. That number has grown significantly since then, especially after Workman Publishing released an American version of the calendar.

Were there any other factors responsible for the calendar's early success?
Glenda JacksonActress Glenda Jackson (right) was one of the calendar's sponsors, which likely helped to ignite interest. Jackson is a member of the British Parliament where she serves as Labour MP for Hamstead and Highgate. She is the only British Parliament Member to have won an Oscar. Glenda Jackson won a Best Actress Oscar for her role in the D.H. Lawrence adaptation Women in Love (1969). She won a second Academy Award for her performance in 1973's A Touch of Class. Obviously in addition to Glenda Jackson's support, the whole nude aspect of the calendar likely garnered quite a bit of interest on its own.

How many of the women ended up selling their story to the filmmakers?
Six of the eleven women sold the rights to their stories, including Ms Stewart, Ms Baker, Ms Bamforth, Lynda Logan, Christine Clancy and Ros Fawcett. -BBC

Did the bitter argument between Annie (Julie Walters) and Chris (Helen Mirren) that occurred in the film also happen in real life?

In her BBC review of the film, real life calendar girl Tricia Stewart explained that the argument that arose between Annie and Chris in the film did not happen between any of the girls in real life. However, as she went on to say in her review, the calendar did expose certain jealousies and insecurities among the women. -BBC

What were the results of the fundraising?
Glenda JacksonIn 2000, the calendar had raised more than £450,000. The money was used to fund cutting edge research into lymphoma and leukaemia at the University of Leeds. A plaque dedicated to John Baker was placed in new laboratories at Leeds. The plaque reads, "The work in this laboratory is dedicated to the memory of John Baker in recognition of the exceptional fundraising achievements of ‘The Calendar Girls’ of the Rylstone & District Women’s Institute." Above right is a photo from the ceremony (pictured in the photo is Leukaemia Research Fund Chief Executive Douglas Osborne with Calendar Girls, left to right, Christine Clancy, Angela Baker, Lynda Logan, Tricia Stewart and Beryl Bamforth). -Leukaemia Research Fund

How did Angela Baker feel about the worldwide response to the calendar?
In an interview John Baker's wife, Calendar Girl Angela Baker, said the following, "We are constantly amazed at the response we had, and still get, to our Calendar. I cannot believe that we were able to raise so much money and I am delighted that it is being spent on such worthwhile research. I know that John would be tremendously honored to know that we have achieved so much in his name." -LRF

Have the women appeared in any other fundraising photos?
Baker's Half DozenIn addition to the calendars, six of the original WI Calendar women posed for a postcard titled "Baker's Half Dozen" (shown at left - click to enlarge). The women include Lynda Logan, Beryl Bamforth, Tricia Stewart, Christine Clancy, Angela Baker and Ros Fawcett.

The Calendars at a Glance:
Browse the two calendars, including the original WI Calendar and the new calendar featuring the women from the film with some of the original calendar girls.
Buy the 2004 Calendar
available from Amazon UK.

Link to Learn More:
Calendar Girls/ Roger Ebert's Review
Real Life Calendar Girl Tricia Stewart Reviews the Film
The Women's Institute
Yorkshire Tourist Board - Explore Yorkshire

Watch the Calendar Girls Movie Trailer:

Calendar Girls movie trailer - Quicktime (apple)

Message Board (Discuss the Film):