Titty lives again
For Sophie Neville, the world of Arthur Ransome really did come to life. In 1974, she appeared as Titty in the film of Swallows and Amazons (above right). ‘My father loved the books and passed them on to me,’ she says. ‘Like Ransome, he lost his father very young and his solace was a clinker-built dinghy.’
As part of the casting process, director Claude Whatham asked her what her favourite television show was. Her response, ‘Blue Peter, because they show you how to do things’, clinched the part. ‘The books do the same,’ she says, ‘and I think that’s one reason why children love them.’
The adventurous, log-keeping Titty seems to have rubbed off on her: Miss Neville leads mounted safaris in aid of the Waterberg Trust in South Africa and recorded the rain-delayed, ever-amusing filming in The Making of Swallows and Amazons (Lutterworth Press).
Now president of the Arthur Ransome Society (www.arthurransome.org.uk), which offers grants through the Ship’s Baby Fund for children to learn Ransome-esque activities, she’s also a champion archer—a skill she first learnt alongside the Amazon pirates.