Jasmine was born in London. She was the niece of Esme Ivo Bligh, the 9th Earl of Darnley and a descendant of Captain William Bligh, the commander famously usurped in the Mutiny on the Bounty. Having entered the world of acting at 17 – in spite of opposition from her mother – she struggled to make an impact in her chosen profession. Five years later, she answered a BBC advertisement for female television ‘hostess-announcers’ who were unmarried and without red hair. Both Bligh and Elizabeth Cowell were chosen for the jobs out of 1,122 applicants, along with Leslie Mitchell and they were seen during test transmissions from Alexandra Palace in 1936 (which continued to be broadcast until 1939).
In 1946, Jasmine famously reopened the television service after the end of the World War II, with the words: “Good afternoon everybody. How are you? Do you remember me, Jasmine Bligh?” She left after four months to marry a farmer in Ireland, returning once more during the summer of 1952.
Jasmine presented BBC TV’s For Deaf Children (1952 – December 1954 and June 1957); she also provided voices on ATV’s The Adventures of Noddy (1955 – 1957). She later appeared on Thames TV’s daytime magazine show Good Afternoon (1973 – 1974).
Jasmine married three times – first to Lt-Col Sir John Paley Johnson, in 1940. They had a daughter, Sarah. The couple divorced in 1947. Her second marriage was in 1948 to Frank Hugh Shirley Fox. They were divorced in 1953. Jasmine married a third time, to BBC radio broadcaster Howard Marshall. When he fell ill in 1967, she sought new ways of earning an income and set up a second-hand clothes shop called Bargain, selling off her wealthy friends’ clothes that they no longer required. Marshall died in 1973 and in 1980, a stroke left Bligh with speech difficulty. She died 10 years later aged 78.
When New Broadcasting House was opened in 2012, it had meeting rooms named after some of its famous broadcasting names and Jasmine Bligh had one named after her.
Video Clips on the Internet
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PICTURED: Jasmine Bligh. SUPPLIED BY: Paul R. Jackson. COPYRIGHT: Unknown.