The ladies went into the studio once more in 1989 and recorded 'I'm In The Mood For dancin 89' This was given the Stock Aitken Waterman treatment with a throbbing disco beat and Bernie singing lead vocals. Coleen provided lead on the reverse track 'No Question' The song was selling well and looked set to enter the chart when the distribution company went bankrupt and supplies could not reach the shops. Once again, family spirits plummeted. The girls still enjoyed TV work most notably singing The Smiths song 'Panic' On Jonathan Ross' show. Linda who had topped the bill in Blackpool from 1985 with her Maggie May show on the town's Central Pier was temporarily immortalised in wax at Blackpool's Taussaud's museum. The mid and late 1980's saw the act touring extensively. The UK government even secured an exchange with the Soviet Union's Bolshoi Ballet. The ballet company came to the UK - The Nolans went to Russia! Altogether 40 Arena Venue dates were completed and although the girls fell ill to food poisoning they enjoyed the experience. They played at huge venues in Soviet states that are now known as Estonia, Russia, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Goergia, Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine. The tour of Russia featured their own band and a small delegation. Authorities accompanied them throughout the tour, ensuring that they did not stray from the itinery. On one occasion one of the crew celebrated their birthday. The girls agreed to have a party in their hotel room. Aware of strict rules the party was a low key, low volume affair with just drinks and snacks. Just beofre midnight a Soviet KGB Guide came into the room and instructed the bemused party people that the party was over. Bernie, ever the party animal, protested and said that the volume would be kept down, but they would, in fact, be carrying on. The guide left and the Nolans - triumphantly - carried on with their party. Five minutes later the guide reappeared, this time accompanied by armed soldiers. Needless to say, the party ended immediately and the attendees left in haste. Including party loving Bernie who was suddenly 'tired and fancying an early night'. The food poisoning incident meant further problems whilst the girls and their crew travelled across the Soviet Union. Their primitive coach did not have on board toilet facilities and toilet stops were made in remote areas. Sometimes this could even involve knocking on a local resident's door and asking to use their bathroom. Something Anne recalls as being "Filthier than anything I have ever seen." Fresh, clean, drinking water was a major problem, resulting in the Sisters being ill for most of the tour. They lost weight and had to see doctors when they returned home. Brian Nolan accompanied them on the tour, acting as the tour manager. He was also their special guest singing two songs in the concert. The concert was a show stopper. Soviet audiences were treated to excerpts from the 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Album' - some of their own hits and the all conquering 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart'. Their final song 'Somewhere' Left the crowds cheering for more in every venue. A highlight for Anne was meeting then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Who, Anne says, "Was lovely to us."
Summer season work and Pantomimes were bread and butter to the Sisters and seasons were undertaken in towns such as Blackpool, Skegness, Great Yarmouth and Bournemouth. Although the act had no records to promote, they proved to be a box office draw and work was plentiful.
In early 1990 they were approached by Universal Panasonic in Japan with a view to releasing several albums for the vast Japanese market. Several of these albums were released. "Playback Part 2' 'Rock & Rolling Idol, 'Tidal Wave' 'It's True What They Say 'Lost Lonely Beaches' 'Colorful' 'The Hottest Place On Earth' 'Please Don't' 'Valentine Pops In Japan' 'Celebration Royal Wedding' and ' Christmas Pops In Japan' As well as repackaged CD's of '20 Giant Hits' and 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'. The Japanese CD's were recorded in the UK. The concept was that songs that had been major hits in Japan by Japanese artists would be translated into English and recorded by the Nolans. The tracks were often laid down in Japan before the Nolans did the vocals in the UK. Some later ones were recorded in Japan. Most of the songs would not sit well with a UK audience, even with an English translation, but the Japanese loved them. One album recieved a Japanese Grammy for 'Best concept album by a foreign recording artist' That was particularly sweet for them as other nominees had been MC Hammer and Bryan Adams who were huge stars at the time. The albums were a succes resulting in them having to have a full tour of Japan, where they played to packed houses once more. Several items of merchandise were produced for sale including bags, t shirts, posters and "Refreshing Nolans Wet Wipes". The act went to Japan every year for the next four years. Such was the resurgance of their brand. At the same time Pickwick records began releasing CDs of songs that they had still owned the rights for, and so a further UK release of "20 Giant Hits" was secured. There was still no Royalties payable to the artists.
Coleen gave birth to her second son Jake in 1990. She continued to work for most of the time. In addition to the new Japanese releases several "Greatest Hits" were released featuring newly recorded versions of their hits. The Universal Panasonic arrangement that The Nolans had secured would see them record and release an album for the UK market as a wholly new product. Mike Myers, and Ray Hedges had produced many of the Japanese albums and Clive Scott had translated all the lyrics into suitable English text for the Japanes albums. For the planned UK album The Nolans wanted Mike Myres and Ray Hedges back, and so they were asked write and to produce the tracks. The album was destined to have new songs and some covers. They went into the studio and recorded many tracks. The idea was then to select which ones would go on the album. Sadly, the album was never released which was a great upset to them. The album featured songs such as "Run To You" recorded originally by Bryan Adams. They also recorded their versions of 'Say It Ain't So Joe' "That's What Friends Are For' and thier show stopping a cappella version of 'Unchained Melody'. New songs recorded included a Hazell Dean song 'Out Of Control' and a mid tempo song 'Take Away The Heartache' which was featured on BBC's 'Pebble Mill At One' Other highlights of the album were dance numbers 'What's Your Intention?' and a drum and bass song 'Could This Be'. the record company were, at the time considering releasing some of the tracks under a psudonym. One track 'Somebody Loves You' was played anonymously in London clubs and had been well recieved. The record company executives had mistakenly thought that the Nolan name was somehow toxic in chart terms. This was nonsense. The act had sold over 25 million records Worldwide and the label's cold feet was counter productive. Instead of releasing new material, they instead took the Nolans into the studio to re record 'I'm In the Mood For Dancing' - Altogether four versions were recorded. The white label was sent to clubs, whose feedback would determine which version would be released as the first single. The triumphant version was the one that had a similar sound to a recent chart smash 'Saturday Night' by Danish singer Whigfield. Comparisions were made with both the instantly recognisable quack! Coleen had decided to leave the act in 1993 and hadn't starred in their 1994 Summer Season production at Blackpool's Grand Theatre. That show featured an all star line up with The Grumbleweeds, Duncan Norvell and Dooby Duck completing the line up with a now trimmed to a trio Nolans. She did come out of her retirement in 1995 to promote the song and the expected album release. Several TV shows saw the Nolans once again singing their signature tune. with a new sound the song was all too familiar. Ultimately the song did make the charts where it stayed for just two weeks, reaching only number 51. It could be argued that a new track might well have fared better. Espcially as the new material was of such a high standard and was very current. Although the album was never given a general release, most of the recordings were to surface as tracks on cut price CD's carrying the misnomer 'Best Of' and 'Disco Party Classics'
The 1994 Season with the Grubleweeds, Duncan Norvelle and The Nolans
Meanwhile Linda had enjoyed success with tours such as "Prisoner Cell Block H" and "Back To Baccarach". After promoting the single, Coleen went back into retirement. The Nolans were now singing as a trio full time. Coleen had decided that she wanted to be out of showbusiness altogether and live life as a housewife. The New trio consisting of Bernie, Anne and Maureen had completed the Summer Season in Blackpool at the Grand Theatre in 1994. They had performed the 26 week season to rave reviews and the show went out twice nightly, breaking all box office records. The Queen visited the Grand Theatre as part of the venue's 100 year centenary celebrations. She watched their show from the Royal Box, which remains a highlight for them. That season was noteworthy in that there has not since been a productionin the theatre that has run from May to November.
In late 1994 Bernie announced that she too was to leave the act. She claimed at the time that she was sick of production numbers and wanted to try something a "bit rockier" she was even considering appearing as a backing vocalist for such a show. She was also very depressed at the standard of some of the venues they were forced to star in. Venues like Bingo Halls, or Holiday Camps. Often the sound systems were less than adequate and in Bernie's opinion the backing tracks that they were now having to use were no subsitute for live music. She hated that people might not be actually watching the show. That they would talk or ignore them was painful for her in particular. Her departure was a shock to the group, but her mind was up. She said at the time that she was scared of going on her own and that she might be back in a year begging for the group to take her back. She was willing though, along with Coleen, to promote the single In 1995.
Bernie was quickly snapped up and early in 1995 she was able to announce that she had landed her first starring role in a major National UK touring production of 'Billy'. She was scheduled to appear alongside Jason Donovan. Although initial publicity pictures were released, the show was suddenly cancelled without warning before it was even rehearsed. Bernie was crushed. Jason Donovan's subsequent high profile drug addiction was blamed. Bernie immediately found work in low profile roles and semi professional shows which she saw as a way to improve her acting skills. She continued in this way ntil she was chosen to star in the World premiere of "Oh what A Night" alongside US singing star Kid Creole. The show was a huge success and went on to tour Worldwide (minus Bernie) for several years. The venue is the largest theatre in the UK with over 3000 seats. At the same time she was starring in "Oh What A Night" she had to dash across the town to appear in her own late night cabaret show six nights a week in the Stakis Hotel. This show saw three different full scale production shows that went on until 2am. Anne and Maureen vowed to continue as a duo. They had a string of bookings and were confident of success. Initially they recruited two female dancers who could recreate a line up that would at least look like a piece.
In 1997 Bernie successfully auditioned for the lead role of Mrs. Johnstone in Willy Russell's 'Blood Brothers' a role that would later become synonymous with the Sisters. Bernie toured the UK with the show and was due to move into the role in London's West End at the Phoenix Theatre. The show hit Liverpool mid tour and she was spotted by casting staff who worked on Channel Four's flag ship soap 'Brookside'. They later told producers that they should see Bernie. They went to see her in the show and quickly invited her to a screen test.
After auditioning for the show Bernie was offered and accepted a part in the long running soap. She had loved the role in Blood Brothers but this was too good an opportunity to miss. However, she was tied to a contract. Bill Kenwright, the show's producer graciously allowed her to leave without penalty. Linda had recently also landed the same role and was starring in the West End. It was planned that at the end of the tour, Bernie would go into the West End and Linda would join the tour. With Bernie's sudden departure Linda was recalled from the West End and put on the tour. Bernie stayed for just enough time for a new actor to take Linda's place. Bill Kenwright asked Bernie if anyone in her family might be up for the job. Bernie's first thought was Denise! Word was out and Denise sent a CD to Kenwright. On the strength of that and a brief audition he offered Denise the part in the West End! Her entry as the third Sister would later be part of a World record breaking dynasty when in 2006 Maureen took on the role. More of that later. Denise stayed in the West End for eight months before swapping with Linda who was on the National tour with the part. With Linda in the West End and Denise touring the show's continuity with Nolans was secured.
Denise stayed with the touring production for four years. When she left at the end of her contract, Linda rejoined the tour and LynPaul went back to the West End.
1998 and 1999 saw the Nolans tour the UK and Japan, Initially they had been using the girl dancers, but they were dropped when Anne and Maureen decided that their act was still acceptable as 'The Nolans' performing as a duo. It wasn't long before Anne's eldest daughter began to crave a show business career. Along with her friend Julia Duckworth she decided to join the group in 1999. Once again, the Nolans were a four piece. They toured the country and were thrilled when they found that they had landed a lengthy Summer Season contract at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool working with Billy Pearce. It was in the Spring of 2000 Anne noticed lumps in her breasts. Her fears were realised when tests were carried out and breast cancer was diagnosed. Anne had fourteen lumps removed and had to undergo extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Anne amazed everyone by working the entire time, missing only a few shows, usually on the days that chemotherapy was carried out. The show business adage - The show must go on - was tested to it's fullest and Coleen came out of retirement to take Anne's place on the days when ill health prevented her from performing. She even did the show without pay so Anne wouldn't miss out on her salary. After two years in 'Brookside' Bernie took a part in ITV 1's 'The Bill' where she stayed for a further 3 years. She had intended to take part in the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest after the judges had heard her rendition of the demo track. 'Come Back' Her bosses at 'Brookside' refused to give her time off to take part in rehearsals in Estonia and this pre empted her decision to look for other work. The actual singer on the night Jessica Garlick came a very respectable third with the song.
As a duo and then a four piece with Anne, Maureen, Amy and Julia, The Nolans toured the UK and overseas, including The Netherlands and Dubai where they enjoyed TV work and live dates. The girls continued in this vein for 5 years. In late 2001 Anne and Maureen were asked to take part in the 'Reelin and a rockin' tour. It meant that the girls would be providing backing vocals for a variety of 1960's stars such as Gerry Marsden from the Pacemakers, Dave Berry, Brian Poole and many others, the Nolans stayed with the show for 3 years even taking it to Australia twice and on board the QE2. The show was even given a Summer Season as well as constantly touring to packed houses. the two Sisters enjoyed a special guest slot where they sang a Dusty Springfield medley, in keeping with the theme of the show. Each Nolan with the exception of Coleen also starred in Pantomimes up and down the country. Coleen had only appeared in one panto and vowed that they were not for her and that she would not be appearing in one again. Something she stuck to until 2012.
Maureen joined the National tour of 'Mum's The Word', her first job that didn't involve singing. Although she was very apprehensive about the role she embraced it and was rewarded with critical acclaim. Maureen enjoyed the experience immensely and found it had given her new confidence. The show was a major success. Some time later, proving that the Nolans seem to do so much together; her sister Bernie in 2007, took on the lead role in the same touring production with a whole new cast! While Maureen was away working on the show should any "Reelin' and a Rockin' shows arise, Coleen or Amy were on hand to help out. Almost proving Radio two's Terry Wogan right when he said there was a factory somewhere manufacturing Nolans.
Pantomimes continued to be a valued source of income for the girls with most of them starring during the festive period. Anne took on her first gig as a solo singer in 2005 in a major variety show. Sadly the impresario of the show was inexperienced and after only three shows an unpaid cast including Anne Nolan and Bobby Davro were left without a show. Meanwhile Maureen had successfully auditioned for the Mrs. Johnstone role at the Phoenix. Becomming the fourth Sister in the role. This earned the Sisters a place in the Guinness Book Of World Records - as the most Siblings playing the same role in a professional productioon of the same show at different times.
Bernie was occupied with her TV role in ITV's "The Bill" but found time to star in the hit TV show 'Stars in their eyes' as Anastasia singing "Not that kind of girl" At the time Linda was busy with 'Blood Brothers' Denise was touring the UK with 'Blood Brothers' before leaving the show to tour in "The Magic Of Judy Garland" a show she had toured the UK with many times previously, Whilst Denise continued to tour the country with Blood Brothers she was nominated for an award for her portrayal of Mrs. Johnstone such was her stature in the role. When Denise left 'Blood Brothers' in 2004 and Linda was pulled from the West End to take over the touring role once more.