Gayle and Gillian Blakeney
|Gayle and Gillian Blakeney|
9 July 1966 |
|Occupation||Television actor, singer|
Gayle and Gillian Blakeney are Australian identical twins who performed together as actresses and as a dance/pop duo in the 1990s. Born in Brisbane on 9 July 1966, Gayle is older by nine minutes. They are most widely known for their stint in the soap opera Neighbours.
The girls knew from a young age that they wanted to be on television. After begging their mother to take them to singing lessons, she finally agreed and this led them to various talent quests around South East Queensland. As first prize at one event on the Gold Coast the girls won entry into a televised talent show on the Nine Network.
Gayle and Gillian then starred in numerous television commercials around Australia – including a series of Kelloggs' Corn Flakes commercials. They then decided to take the next step and auditioned for a lead role in a children's telemovie pilot called "Earth Patrol" starring Spike Milligan. Gillian won the lead children's role of Cassie. However, the producers were delighted with both twins auditions and planned to write Gayle into the series as her twin sister if the pilot was successful. The pilot was not accepted.
The sisters continued their career in 1979 when they appeared in a video clip for the Australian group, The Monitors, "Singin' In The '80s", wearing make-up in the style of rock band Kiss. They also appeared in other music videos by The Monitors between 1980 and 1982, most notably "Nobody Told Me" (dressed as schoolgirls in a jail) and "Having You Around Me" (dressed as 'beach babes').
The sisters have contrasting personalities. When sharing a flat together, Gillian did the man-about-the-house DIY work, while Gayle did the cooking and housework.
In 1983 they joined the team on the successful national children's programme Wombat, along with the puppet Agro. They enjoyed their roles as reporters for the next seven years. The program also included an ongoing mock soap opera segment.
Following the success of former Neighbours actors Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan as recording artists, the Blakeneys went to England in 1991 to record with Stock Aitken Waterman, originally going by the name 'The Twins'. The resulting single, "All Mixed Up", became a modest club hit that year, and peaked at #74 in Australia.
After parting with Stock Aitken Waterman, the Blakeneys made a brief return to Neighbours, eventually leaving the show in 1992. In 1993/1994 they released two singles in the United Kingdom as 'Gayle & Gillian', "Mad If Ya Don't" (#75 in the UK Singles Chart in 1993) and a cover version of Prince's "I Wanna Be Your Lover" re-titled "Wanna Be Your Lover" (UK #62 in 1994 and #45 in the Scottish Chart).
In 1994 the sisters moved to the United States (where they still reside today) to pursue acting roles, landing guest spots on various film and TV projects, such as playing ballerinas in Silk Stalkings.
The sisters are married and have children (Gayle has three, while Gillian has one daughter). As of 2015, the Blakeneys have moved on to launching companies and building brands, with Gillian running a very successful scarf line that came out of a conversation with a woman she met on the subway in New York City.
- The Monitors RQ's RetroUniverse
- Extract from Oliver James book They F*** You Up – How to Survive Family Life Ch.1 ISBN 0747584788 Bloomsbury Publishing
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 223. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Cinderella Bibliography by Russell A. Peck
- Gay Harris Dancers
- Neighbours Then and Now http://tv.uk.msn.com (March 2010)
- Silk Stalkings episode guide
- "Gearóid Farrelly on the new series of Fascinated" from RTE TEN (April 23, 2015)