Jeanette Raphael

Photo:Jeanette Raphael

Jeanette Raphael

Photo from the private collection of Trevor Chepstow

Celebrated local ice star

By Trevor Chepstow

Jeanette Raphael became one of the most celebrated local ice stars to appear at the Brighton Sports Stadium.

Born in Baker Street, Brighton
Born in Baker Street, Brighton, she first started skating at the Stadium in West Street when she was only nine. Her ambition was to join the famous Tom Arnold Productions who produced the ice shows at the SS Brighton and at most of the rinks in the UK.  On leaving school at sixteen she joined Tom Arnold Productions as a chorus girl, a move which led to her dreams coming true! Her first big break came in 1952, when she auditioned for the part of "Lady Jane" in "Rose Marie on Ice".

An all round entertainer
From a chorus girl, she quickly became a top skating star and appeared with many local ice skating celebrities including Valerie Moon, Sheila Hamilton and Ron Priestley. Each new show involved her playing a new part, allowing her to show her versatility and skill as a first class skater and all round entertainer. Jeanette appeared in many of the legendary shows produced by Tom Arnold including "Chu Chin Chow" in which she played the part of "Mahbubah". The original London show cost £130,000 to produce, a considerable amount of money in the Fifties, and it included over fifteen hundred costumes.

Dark good looks and warming smile
Always glamorous with her dark good looks and warming smile, Jeanette proved to be a great asset to Tom Arnold in the many shows she appeared in for him. Greatly admired by the locals she could always be relied on to pack the rink to capacity when appearing. Her final professional show at the Sports Stadium was the ever popular "Cinderella" and as usual Jeanette played the star part along with the well known American ice skater Gloria Nord.

Added to the site on 01-09-05 
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page

I remember seeing Jeanette Raphael in her skating days at the Sports Stadium, and as a ten year old lad had a big crush on her! The shows were so glamorous in those day and all the girls were fabulous. I still have some of the original programmes from the ice shows and they bring back great memories for me. It's a shame the city of Brighton and Hove no longer have the facilities to stage these wonderful events and to restore the city to it's rightful place as the centre of entertainment for southern England.

By William H. Smith (22/07/2007)

What a lovely photo of Jeanette. She was a childhood friend of my mum and her sister - Betty and Joan Hayes. They lived in Kingsbury Road, just around the corner from Jeanette. Mum always used to tell me what a good skater she was. In later years Mum and Auntie Joan used to go to Jeanette's slimming club in Baker Street.  I have just been to Robin Cousins' ice show at the Brighton Centre (Jan 22nd 2014) and who should be in the audience but Jeanette herself, still looking glamorous for her years.  Sadly both mum and her sister are no longer with us. I am glad I got to speak to Jeanette, a lovely lady.

By Irene Dobson (23/01/2014)

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