Mavis Nicholson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mavis Nicholson
Mavis Mainwaring

(1930-10-19) 19 October 1930 (age 91)
Briton Ferry, Neath, Glamorgan[1]
Alma materSwansea University
Occupationtelevision presenter, writer
TelevisionGood Afternoon
After Noon
After Noon Plus
Mavis on 4
A Plus 4
Spouse(s)Geoffrey Nicholson (1952–1999, his death)[2]

Mavis Nicholson (born 19 October 1930) is a Welsh writer and radio and television broadcaster, born in Wales, her career has worked throughout the United Kingdom.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

She was born Mavis Mainwaring in Briton Ferry, where she spent her childhood. She became a student at Swansea University. There in 1949 she met the writer and journalist Geoffrey Nicholson, whom she married in 1952, and with whom she had three sons.

In 1951, at the end of her undergraduate career at Swansea University, Nicholson won a scholarship to train as an advertising copywriter and with this moved to London.

There she and her husband were at the centre of a lively social circle, including the journalist and broadcaster John Morgan and the novelist Kingsley Amis. According to Peter Corrigan's obituary of her husband,[5] Mavis and Geoff Nicholson "became a much-loved double-act. Amis did not always approve of their views and claimed to have invented the word 'lefties' during one little set-to with them. While it was true that the Nicholsons didn't have dinner parties as such – they invited people for an argument and threw some food in – they were by no means belligerent but had in abundance the Welsh love of debate".

Early career[edit]

Nicholson stopped her work as an advertising copywriter when she had her children, but her second career as a broadcaster began when, because of her probing and engaging conversational style at the dinner table, she was asked by Thames Television to host a programme on newly launched daytime television (British television had previously only started to broadcast in the late afternoon).


Her first presenting job was on the 1971–72 show Tea Break.[6] By April 1972,[7] this had become Good Afternoon, after which her TV career spanned the next 25 years.[8]

She then presented British television programmes such as After Noon, After Noon Plus and Mavis on 4 from the 1970s to 1990s, on which she interviewed such people as Elizabeth Taylor, Kenneth Williams, David Bowie, James Baldwin, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.[9][10][11]

Nicholson presented the Channel 4 programme A Plus 4, which ran from 1984 to 1986. In 1983, she presented the discussion series Predicaments, also a Thames production for Channel 4; she dismissed the view that the programme was "voyeuristic" as "middle-class queasiness".[12] For the BBC, she appeared on Start the Week regularly in the 1970s, presented You and Yours in 1976 and hosted a number of interview and discussion series, including Open Air from 1988 to 1989 and Welsh editions of the Radio 2 Arts Programme in the 1990s.[13]

In the 1980s, she and her husband returned to Wales to live in a farmhouse in Powys.[14] In the early 1990s, she fronted a number of Channel 4 series produced by YoYo Films, such as Third Wave, In with Mavis, Moments of Crisis and Faces of the Family.[15] She also presented the discussion show Right or Wrong, made by Central Television and taken by some other regions including Meridian.[16] Her last work for television was Oldie TV in 1997, a television version of The Oldie magazine. However, in 2005, she returned to interview Elaine Morgan in an On Show programme for BBC One Wales, broadcast on 13 March that year.[17] On 25 August 2016, BBC One Wales broadcast a profile called Being Mavis Nicholson: the Greatest TV Interviewer of All Time? in a peak 9pm slot.[18]

Other activities[edit]

Nicholson writes for The Oldie, and is its resident agony aunt.[19][20] She is the author of the 1992 book Martha Jane & Me: A Girlhood In Wales.[21]

She has also presented radio shows, including a history of the department store and a look back at her childhood.[22]


  1. ^ "Index entry birth record". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Index entry marriage record". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Mavis Nicholson IMDB entry". IMDB. 2007.
  4. ^ Chilton, Martin (1 June 2011). "Hay Festival: day seven as it happened". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  5. ^ Peter Corrigan (4 August 1999). "Obituary: Geoffrey Nicholson – Arts & Entertainment". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  6. ^ Daily Express, page 10, 26 January 1972
  7. ^ Daily Mirror, page 18, 19 April 1972
  8. ^ "Film & TV Database – Nicholson, Mavis". British Film Institute. 31 October 2005. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009.
  9. ^ "North Powys Youth Music by Mavis Nicholson". North Powys Youth Music. 2006. Archived from the original on 8 August 2007.
  10. ^ "Bowie Golden Years: ITV February 1979". Bowie Golden Years. 2007.
  11. ^ "Good Afternoon!: Good Afternoon[RX 01/08/74]". BFI. 2007. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009.
  12. ^ "Peeping in on people's problems" by Clare Colvin, The Times page 13, 25 March 1983
  13. ^ BBC Genome Project – Radio Times listings
  14. ^ "A life on the open air" by Bill McCoid, The Stage and Television Today, 15 December 1988
  15. ^ YoYo Films YouTube channel
  16. ^ Daily Express, page 34, 1 September 1993
  17. ^ Wexford People, 9 March 2005, and several other Irish papers
  18. ^ Daily Mirror, page 42, 25 August 2016
  19. ^ "Magazines: The Oldie". The Independent. 31 October 2005. Archived from the original on 7 May 2007.
  20. ^ "Miles Kington: Trapped in the Med with the wise and witty Oldies". The Independent. 10 November 2006. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.
  21. ^ "WorldCat: Martha Jane & Me: A Girlhood In Wales". WorldCat. 2007.
  22. ^ "Radio Listings "Mavis Nicholson"". Radio Listings. 2007.

External links[edit]