Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Miss World 1970

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Date  20 November 1970
Entrants  58
Broadcaster  BBC
Miss World 1970
Presenters  Michael Aspel, Keith Fordyce, Bob Hope
Venue  Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
Debuts  Africa South, Grenada, Mauritius

Miss World 1970, the 20th edition of the Miss World pageant, was held on 20 November 1970 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK. 58 contestants competed for the Miss World title. Jennifer Hosten from Grenada won the crown of Miss World 1970. She was crowned by Miss World 1969, Eva Rueber-Staier of Austria. The event was marked by controversy in the days beforehand, during the contest itself and afterwards.



A panel of nine judges evaluated the performance of the contestants in Miss World 1970. Some of the judges included Joan Collins, Eric Gairy, the first Prime Minister of Grenada, Glen Campbell and Nina.

Protests and controversy

There was controversy before the contest began because the organisers had allowed two entries from South Africa, one black, one white. On the evening of the contest, a bomb exploded under a BBC outside broadcast van in an unsuccessful attempt by the Angry Brigade to prevent the contest being televised. There were no injuries. The audience then had to enter the hall past noisy demonstrators who were penned behind barricades.

During the evening there were protests by Women's Liberation activists. They held up placards, shouted, blew whistles, and threw smoke bombs, stink bombs, ink bombs and leaflets onto the stage. The comedian, Bob Hope, was also heckled during the proceedings.

Even greater controversy then followed after the result was announced. Jennifer Hosten won becoming the first Black woman to win Miss World and the black contestant from South Africa was placed second. The BBC and newspapers received numerous protests about the result and accusations of racism were made by all sides. Four of the nine judges had given first-place votes to Miss Sweden, while Miss Grenada received only two firsts, yet the Swedish entrant finished fourth. Furthermore, the Prime Minister of Grenada, Sir Eric Gairy, was on the judging panel. Inevitably there were many accusations that the contest had been rigged. Some of the audience gathered in the street outside Royal Albert Hall after the contest and chanted "Swe-den, Swe-den". Four days later the organising director, Julia Morley, resigned because of the intense pressure from the newspapers. Years later Miss Sweden, Maj Christel Johansson, was reported as saying that she had been cheated out of the title. (Eric Gairy was overthrown as Prime Minister of Grenada on 13 March 1979 while he was at the UN by the New Jewel Movement led by Maurice Bishop, whose father had been murdered by Gairy's men.

Julia Morley's husband, Eric Morley, was the chairman of the company (Mecca) that owned the Miss World franchise. To disprove the accusations, Eric Morley put the judging panel's ballot cards on view and described the complex "majority vote system". These cards showed that Jennifer Hosten had more place markings in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions over Miss Sweden and the other five finalists. Julia Morley then resumed her job. However many still felt Sir Eric Gairy on the judging panel had influenced the other judges to give Jennifer token placings.


Miss World 1970 Wikipedia

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