This satirical comic strip by New Zealand-born cartoonist John Kent (who emigrated to England in 1959) ran every Monday in The Guardian from 1969 to 1979.
The title character, a buxom and usually scantily-clad young blonde woman, was an everywoman used by Kent to poke fun at the prominent British politicians of the day, such as Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, and Education Secretary (and future “Iron Lady”) Margaret Thatcher.
The name “Varoomshka” was based on that of Verushka, a celebrity model of those years (best known now for her brief appearance in Antonioni’s Blow-Up ), and the look, Kent always said, was inspired by his wife Nina, a Mills & Boon executive – though Nina was dark and comely, and Varoomshka was a willowy blonde in hotpants, bib top and ankle-length boots, or flimsy negligee. Or sometimes nothing at all.
The strip was controversial by nature (one of the early strips portrayed the Pope as a member of the IRA!) and enraged the feminists of the day.
A number of Guardian staff delivered a petition to have the comic strip removed from the newspaper but were unsuccessful.
John Kent died on 14 April 2003.