''IT'S all gynaecology. Then it was enough to be nude. You didn't have to turn yourself inside out.'' So said Fiona Richmond, Britain's sex star of the seventies, when asked about today's pornography. But in her own day Fiona herself sailed pretty close to the wind and scandalised the moral majority in Britain.

Her Lady Godiva through Picadilly Circus, to promote the reopening of the Windmill

Club, earned her a #20 fine, and the sort of advertising money can't buy.

She changed her car number plate to FU 2, and stepped out with Paul Raymond, the man behind a string of top-shelf mags for whom Richmond regularly posed. Later, she would write a sexploits column chronicling the supposed ups and downs of her sex life for Raymond magazine Men Only, work she once described as ''some of the most creative stuff I ever did''. Raymond also provided the early full-frontal stage revues for her to frolic to fame in.

Famously, she also took up Malcolm Allison's offer to join him and the team in the club's bath tub when he managed Crystal Palace. She returned the

compliment by having a part for ''Big Mal'' written into one of her revues.

But, through it all, the vicar's daughter from Hilborough, Norfolk, remained a very British character, well spoken, lucid, and, somehow, almost chaste. ''There was nothing tacky or nasty about anything that I ever did. One critic said 'if you could buy ladies at Sainsbury's, you'd buy Fiona Richmond.' Another said I was like champagne in an ale house. I was seen as wholesome.''

She launched her film career as a stripper in Barry Mackenzie Holds His Own in 1974, and made similar soft-porn offerings every year until 1987's Eat The

Rich. Richmond also became a guest celebrity doing rounds of TV quiz shows, including a cameo appearance in influential and ground-breaking comedy series The Comic Strip Presents. She played Mrs French in Five Go Mad On Mescalin in the series which launched the careers of what would become known as the alternative comedians. The group included Rik Mayall, Ade Admonson, French and Saunders, Nigel Planer, Robbie Coltrane, and Alexei Sayle.

Hardly surprising then that the Comic Strip is now seen as the defining comedy of the eighties, but it was originally a Soho comedy club situated next door to a certain Mr Raymond's Revue Bar. A meeting with Miss Richmond was inevitable.

By the late eighties Richmond was tiring of the bare essentials of her trade, and when TV presenter James Montgomery proposed, she slipped away from the bright lights to the rural lanes of Hampshire.

At 39, she had a daughter, Tara, and any thoughts of a return to the cameras, lights, and exposure disappeared

as she discovered the joys

of motherhood.

Now the respectable owner of both an English bed and breakfast house and a hotel in the Caribbean island of Grenada, she wishes her father had lived to see her present business interests. ''Not that he ever disapproved, as long as I wasn't doing anything he considered un-Christian. When my mother told him I'd got a job in a West End show (Pyjama Tops) that would entail being nude, he was very good about it. He might have preferred me in another

profession but he didn't want me to be a nun.''

Born Julia Harrison in a Norfolk rectory in 1946, Richmond was brought up in the Anglican church but now considers herself an agnostic. She returns to England only on an occasional basis, and is on record as saying she hopes to die in Grenada. ''I plan to sit in a chair under a palm tree with a rum punch. I'll be looking out

to sea and, with any luck, a huge coconut will fall on my head.''

Fiona Richmond appears in Hardcore at 11.35pm on C5