Grace Dent: Beautiful and captivating - they don’t make them like Kate O’Mara any more

She rattled with an innate elegance and a knowing sense of feminine empowerment

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It’s with a heavy heart that I note the passing of smokey-eyed screen goddess Kate O’Mara. A woman so glamorous that she single-handedly glammed up a duff BBC drama about a North Sea ferry between Felixstowe and Gothenburg via the humble use of Clairol Big Set rollers, costume diamonds and eye kohl.

Of course it is wrong to reduce Kate O’Mara to just her enormous beauty, because she was a fine, captivating and very funny actress – queen of the side-eye and the catty one-liner.

From Dynasty to Howards’ Way, and from Bad Girls to Absolutely Fabulous, O’Mara rattled with an innate elegance, a quiet dignity and a knowing sense of feminine empowerment with which she grabbed every scene.

British drama lacks these sorts of characters today. I can’t quite decide whether O’Mara – like her Dynasty screen “sisters” Joan Collins and Stephanie Beacham – were just products of an era we can never return to, or if it’s simply that among today’s thespian types the big glam, always-on look just isn’t serious enough to shout Bafta winner. Whatever, O’Mara represents an era of Britain that I’m sad to say goodbye to. Instead of raising a toast, I’ll blend a smokey-eye in deepest hues, just in her honour.

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