It said a lot about a person whether they preferred to play with Barbie or Sindy. And it wasn't just about where you lived - Sindy was born and bred in Britain, whereas the more brash Barbie was a through and through American.
Sindy hit the toy stand five years after her biggest rival, in 1963, courtesy of Pedigree Dolls & Toys. And while Barbie had already won over most little girls, many a British girl was won over by this new, curvier, fuller-lipped role model. You might even taunt Ken's oh-so chiselled face by saying that Sindy was prettier than Barbie. Palitoy's Tressy and Pippa Dolls were certainly no match back then, and Sindy managed to scoop the top spot as the UK's biggest-selling toy in 1968 and 1970.
The original marketing campaign gave a clear idea about who Britain's best-loved toy was: 'Sindy is the free, swinging girl that every little girl longs to be. Sindy has sports clothes, glamour clothes, everyday clothes — a dog, skates, a gramophone — everything... Every genuine Sindy outfit is a child's dream come true. Each one is designed for today's fashionable young women by today's leading women designers. They are authentic miniature replicas of the latest adult clothes.'
It was all true, and at 11.5 inches tall, Sindy stood in her Oscar de la Renta replica ballgowns with typical British poise, and 40-odd years later, she's just as elegant. Let's just ignore those rumours of various face-lifts and illegitimate children... for now.
Like any doll to have EVER been created, Sindy came with a seemingly endless array of a accessories (which gave her the edge over Barbie until the 80s at least). From different outfits and shoes, to her own MGB sports car (though Action Man occasionally borrowed it) and her own pony, it was hardly a surprise when we found out in 1965 that she had a rather dashing boyfriend, too. Well, someone had to pay for al that! Paul was his name. What did he look like? A slightly younger, slightly better looking version of Ken is what. Sindy also had a younger sister, Patch, and two friends called Vicki and Mitzi.
For the more ambitious Sindy fan, there were some crazy playsets to collect too, including the Super Sindy Electronic Spaceship and the Wall Of Sound, which was basically a mini living room replica with objects in it that made lifelike sound effects. Another must-have! What wasn't quite so 'must-have' were the many attempt by your mum to fashion clothes for your doll out of patterns found in magazines. If Sindy were a real-life celebrity, she'd have swung between the best-dressed and worst-dressed lists haphazardly.
But back to those facelift rumours. In the early 70s, when Hasbro took over manufacturing Sindy, they decided to make her look more American - therefore changing the very thing that made her a success in the first place. It's no surprise that the sales began to plummet, then Mattel, makers of Barbie, sued Hasbro for breach of copyright. So it was back to the drawing board. The late-90s saw two relaunches and changing of manufacturers retarget Sindy to the pre-school market in a bid to claw back some sales. This may well be the reason her eyes become bigger and more almond-shaped. Maybe the maker of the latest-craze Bratz dolls was inspired by this, who knows? Still, our childhood playmate doesn't look a day over 15 to us, which isn't bad when you're pushing half a century!
There's just one thing that's always puzzled us: why call her Sindy? Not exactly British-sounding is it. Bizarrely, it was the peoples' choice - when little girls were polled on the streets of Blighty over which name they thought suited the doll, they decided Sindy was perfect.
Today, original Pedigree Sindy dolls are collectibles (the more Americanised Hasbro efforts aren't as much). In 2003, a first-edition Sindy, complete with original Foale and Tuffin Weekenders outfit (jeans and a striped sweatshirt), box and fashion booklet was worth approximately £160-200. Sindy's rarer friends Gayle (a doll made for the American market in 1975) was worth up to £400, and Mitzi (her French friend from 1968) up to £500. Plastic fantastic!