Samantha Juste: 'Disc maid' on 'Top of the Pops' who wrote for teenage girls and launched a range of fashion and jewellery

 

Tall, long-haired and beautiful, Samantha Juste was one of the faces of the swinging Sixties through her appearances on the television show Top of the Pops, a fleeting attempt at a singing career, and her subsequent marriage to Micky Dolenz of the Monkees in 1968.

"I was the TOTP disc maid. That was how my contract described me," Juste told Ian Gittins, the author of Top of the Pops: Mishaps, Miming and Music. For four years, Juste was employed to sit next to presenters Alan Freeman, David Jacobs and Pete Murray, put singles on a turntable and drop the needle on the record before acts such as the Hollies, the Searchers or the Swinging Blue Jeans mimed to their latest hit, but her poise and presence made her a favourite with viewers, co-hosts and performers, as she smiled, danced and flirted with the live audience.

Dolenz was certainly smitten with Juste when he and fellow Monkee Mike Nesmith appeared on the programme in February 1967 to accept a silver disc for the chart-topping "I'm a Believer". He enthused about "her unbelievably gorgeous legs" and "that haughty sophistication that only the British can do so well", and they soon began dating.

Their relationship attracted headlines such as "Samantha Traps Monkee" and "Pop's Girl Goes Ape" and partly inspired the Dolenz composition "Randy Scouse Git", which also made lateral references to the Beatles. The song title came from a recurrent phrase in the BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part but was considered too fruity for a group with a teenage following; renamed Alternate Title, it reached No 2 in the UK singles charts in the summer of 1967.

The Transatlantic storybook romance between the TOTP disc-spinner and the cheeky drummer and vocalist with the Monkees blossomed and they married in July 1968, after the manufactured group's television series was cancelled and the four completed Head, the ill-received, stream-of-consciousness movie that did for their career until the mid-80s.

The couple had a daughter, Ami, in 1969, but divorced in 1975. "I just didn't want to turn into someone who was bitter," Juste said of the lifestyle that took its toll on the relationship as Dolenz partied with John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson and Alice Cooper at their Hollywood home and recording studio.

Born Sandra Slater in Manchester in 1944, she studied textile and dress design at Rochdale college of art and became a teenage model under the name Samantha Juste. By 1964, she was working for Cecil Korer, the assistant producer to TOTP creator Johnnie Stewart.

First broadcast from a converted church in Rusholme, Manchester, in January 1964, TOTP was the BBC playing catch-up with ITV whose own London-based pop programme Ready Steady Go!, launched five months earlier, had made a star of its main presenter Cathy McGowan. Typically, the then less-enlightened BBC relied for TOTP on an all-male line-up with the easy-on-the-eye Juste taking over from the first "disc girl", Denise Sampey.

Throughout the Seventies, the female dance troupes Pan's People and Legs & Co featured heavily on TOTP , but the show didn't feature a female host until the end of 1982 when the disc jockey Janice Long was added to the presenting line-up.

Despite her peripheral and decorative role, Juste caught the imagination of television viewers and became a celebrity. She was photographed with Jenny and Pattie Boyd, Twiggy, and Chrissie Shrimpton, and in 1965 she appeared in Richard Lester's swinging London comedy The Knack ... and How to Get It.

TOTP 's move to London in 1966 enabled her to make the most of the opportunities that came her way, and she was able to develop her own range of ready-to-wear and ready-to-sew Samantha Fashions. At the end of 1966, she recorded the wistful ''No One Needs My Love Today'', and performed the single on TOTP , but despite heavy promotion on the pirate station Radio London, it failed to chart.

Juste wrote a beauty column in 16 magazine and was also a regular in another teen publication, Fabulous 208. Following her divorce from Dolenz, she started another fashion business in California and later taught design in Ireland.In recent years, she launched an online jewellery business in partnership with her daughter. She suffered a stroke and died in California.

PIERRE PERRONE

Sandra Slater (Samantha Juste), model and fashion designer: born Manchester 31 May 1944; married 1968 George Michael 'Micky' Dolenz (marriage dissolved 1975; one daughter); died Los Angeles 5 February 2014.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum