On this Day 1959: ATV’s Midland Montage falls for a ‘Women Only Pub’ hoax

On this Day: November 12th, 1959.

ATV’s Midland Montage reporter Jenny Martin visits a women-only bar in Birmingham and interviews the owner, bartender and a female hostess… but was it all as it seems?

The bar was named after Sadie Hawkins, a character in the 1930s American Li’l Abner comic strip. On Sadie Hawkins Day in the comic unmarried women pursue men for marriage. In the report Jenny Martin is seen arriving at the boozer and chats with the unnamed male owner who explains that he is already running bars aimed at men which have women working behind the counter.

The report then shows a quick shot of the interior of one of these premises. Next, Jenny interviews Brian the bartender about being a man in a women-only bar. Finally, Jenny talks to the Countess Maisky de Touze who is the female hostess at the Sadie Hawkins bar.

It turns out, however, someone had been winding up Midland Montage. The Birmingham Weekly Post later in the month reported that the ATV programme had been the subject of a hoax and that Countess Maisky de Touze was revealed to have been a ‘Birmingham housewife’.

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