Published: 13:38, 09 March 2019
| Updated: 13:39, 09 March 2019
With Barbie, the ubiquitous children's doll, celebrating her 60th birthday today, the actress who first gave Barbie a voice in England has been recalling her part in Barbie's career.
Barbie first debuted at the New York Toy Fair on March 9, 1959, wearing a swimsuit and ponytail.
Actress Janie Wellborne said that as a child she loved the Barbie dolls.
"I played with dolls till I was about 11, but they were mostly dolls of babies, then along came this glamorous creature in a bathing costume."
But it was not until almost 10 years later than Mrs Wellborne, from Chiddingstone, near Sevenoaks, became directly involved with the doll.
By 1968, she was a 17-year-old actress, and her agent said that Mattell, the doll's makers, would like to her to record some tapes.
On March 28, 1968, she travelled to a recording studio in London and recorded a few sentences as asked on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. "Let's do the shopping!" Let's play some records!" and "How shall I wear my hair?" among them.
She thought not much more about it until she was shopping in London almost a year later and visited Harrods with her mother to see a huge display advertising a new talking Barbie doll, who was dressed all in pink with a voluptuous figure.
She asked the assistant to pull the chord to play the voice, and it was her own words that came out.
Mrs Wellborne said: "Barbie had already changed a great deal. When she first came out she was quite severe with pointed eyebrows and very black make-up.
"But by 1969 she had softened her appearance and now had an incredible 36/18/33 figure."
Later she was asked to go back into the studio to record words for Barbie's cousin Stacey
Barbie has continued to adapt throughout her long career. She has appeared as a pop-star, nurse and flight attendant, and more recently as a pilot and business woman.
She has also changed colour several times and appeared as a black Barbie, a Hispanic Barbie and a Hijabi Barbie.
To celebrate her birthday, Mattel has released six new versions of the doll, including an astronaut, a pilot, a politician and a firefighter.
Mrs Wellborne said: "Barbie is a phenomenon and I'm proud of my part in her career 50 years ago."
Around 58m Barbie dolls are sold across the world each year.