Jackeydawra Melford was really called Alice Bradshaw Jackeydora Melford. There are many ways to spell her name, but Melford herself wrote it as Jackeydawra. She was the daughter of theatre actor Mark Melford, who possibly named her after a popular comic opera that he wrote, and in an interview with Audrey Wadowska in 1963, Melford also claims that this opera was the basis of her father’s film The Herncrake Witch (1912). It is an extraordinary name for an extraordinary woman. An audiotape interview from 1975 focuses on her beginnings performing on stage in her father’s comedy sketches in music halls from the time she was very young. She may even have been born while his theatre company was on tour in Nottingham. Audrey Wadowska suggested to Tjitte de Vries that this videotaped interview was intended to be the start of a full autobiography, although there does not appear to be evidence of further work on such a project.
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