The Nolans - Denise Nolan - The Official Website

Go to content

Main menu:

The Nolans


There have been hundreds of girl groups throughout the years on the music scene. Few, if any, can claim to have had the success or the enduring appeal of the Nolans. Their parents were successful singers in their own right in post war Dublin as the Sweethearts of Song. Maureen Nolan Snr visited Blackpool in the late 1950's and was impressed with the town's entertainment scene, on returning to Dublin Mrs. Nolan retold her story and a second trip was hastily arranged this time she was accompanied by her husband Tommy. The two of them realised the potential for work in the town and soon after the whole family relocated to the UK.(Minus Anne who was in hospital for months with a leg condition) Work was plentiful but Tommy Nolan did take a day job to supplement his earnings but before too long the singing work came flooding in. As a pre taster of Summer Seasons to come the family even secured a Summer long run at the town's 'Brunswick Club' . One by one the children came along and one by one the children made their stage debut . The act recorded the album "The Singing Nolans" for the independent label Nevis. The album was recorded in one day and was sold locally at the family's shows. It remains a major Nolans collectable often reaching bids of more than £100 on auction sites. Growing up in show business meant that there was never any pressure on the children to go on stage, they just loved it. Denise Nolan was probably the most keen to sing in front of an audience, she was legendary within the family for her tantrums if it wasn't her turn to work with her parents. A well documented fact was that the Singing Nolans, as the act was now called, were spotted at an unscheduled Christmas Day booking. The new owner of the Cliffs Hotel, Joe Lewis, saw the show and offered the act a residency at his prestigious London nightspot, 'The London Room'. Tommy had thought that the offer was just talk but it was repeated the following day. Subsequently Mr. Lewis turned up at the Nolan family home and hesitantly Tommy Nolan signed the contract in the presence of Lawyers. The family relocated to Ilford, Essex leaving the Brothers Tommy and Brian who had decided to stay at Blackpool as they had jobs and girlfriends in the town. Coleen, Bernie and Linda moved south and finished their schooling at a private school in the capital.

When the Nolan family arrived in London they stayed at Joe Lewis' plush home outside the capital. To ensure that the act was ready for it's London debut the Hanover Grand organisation recruited some of the best people in show business to bring the them up to scratch. Stewart Morris, was head of the BBC's light entertainment department. He was used to producing shows such as Lulu's World The Shirley Bassey Show and the UK Song For Europe where the country chose a song for the Eurovision. Morris had even been responsible for producing the Eurovision when it was held in the UK. Alongside Morris was Lud Romano, the esteemed choreographer. The musical arrangers John Coleman and Conductor Alyn Ainsworth who between them had an unmatched record in TV and live music shows. Stewart was highly critical of the Nolans' act. Within six months he has sharpened the act to such an extent that he was able to report of the Nolans  "They are as good now, if not better than any girl vocal group that you have ever heard or will ever hear". His presence was intimidating, but he had seen potential in the girls. He did not see the same potential in their parents though. He very quickly retired them from the act leaving the stage free for the Nolan Sisters.
Working in the London Room brought financial reward in the way of a good salary. It did not however allow the girls to earn money in their own right. Earnings from Summer Seasons, TV appearances record royalties and cabaret would still only bring their normal salary. Something that would come to a head in later years. Stewart Morris displayed so much faith in The Nolan Sisters that he even gave them their biggest career boost to date when he secured the girl's place as support act to Frank Sinatra on the European leg of his 1975 tour. Playing at first class venues all over Europe The following year the Sisters appeared in an eight week Summer Season show at Eastbourne. That year also saw them accompany Rolf Harris as his support act on his South African tour. The Sisters began recording tracks for the EMI subsidiary 'Target Records'. Altogether a total of nine singles were released, sadly, none of them charted despite having writers such as Roger Cook and Harry Greenaway who had secured huge chart success for other artistes. The singles were given general releases and their lack of success bothered The Nolans. Their disappointment was relatively short lived when in 1978 the Sisters recorded "20 Giant Hits" The album was recorded after market research was carried out to find the 20 most popular songs of the day. The album, heavily promoted with TV advertising was a huge hit, climbing as high as number three in the UK album chart. The album received gold disc status and made £300,000 for the management company Target. Their contract, sadly, meant they were not entitled to royalties, as explained above. They also crossed the Atlantic for a series of shows as support act to Englebert Humperdink in New York. Tommy was looking at the Nolans management structure and wondered if they would be better off if he were to once again manage the act. The contract however was for ten years with re negotiation only available after five years. The contract was indeed broken after only four years. The two parties had to haggle over the amount but a settlement was eventually reached. This severely dented the family bank balance but it meant that Tommy was once again steering the act. They had built up a significant reputation in the industry as reliable workers and good box office so securing work would not be difficult.

The group's line up was to change in 1978 when Denise announced she wanted to leave the act and concentrate on a solo career. It would be a big loss to the group and the Sisters would miss her very much. Denise had been a significant contributor to the vocal performance of the act, often singing the melody. The act couldn't dwell too much on Denise's departure as they had to rehearse for that year's Summer Season show as foursome. Coleen's age had meant that throughout the early part of their career she had to be excluded from all but 80 engagements a year. Even Bernie and Linda had restrictions placed upon them in the former years. On a light note, when the Nolan Sisters offered to fly Coleen to Paris to meet Frank Sinatra she declined, preferring to stay in Blackpool with her pony. Coleen was to miss out too on the Humperdinck tour and the South Aftrica Tour with Rolf Harris. 1978's show was to be at the ABC Theatre in their adoptive home town Blackpool. The show was to feature acclaimed Irish Brother vocal act 'The Bachelors' and comedian Billy Dainty. That Spring saw the release of the "20 Giant Hits" Album with a heavy television campaign and marketing drive by Warner Brothers. It saw the album enter the top 5 in the album chart. It's release was timed to coincide with the run up to Christmas and sales climbed to over 350,000. Denise agreed to stay with the group whilst the album was being promoted.  One of the most interesting features about the front cover of this album is that Linda is not on it! She was ill with diarrhoea on the day the pictures were taken and was unable to make the photo shoot. A look alike was sourced and used. It was not noticed by anyone and still today most people are unaware of it. However when the album was given a makeover and released in Japan in 1981 the pictures are a lot clearer and feature close ups. It can clearly be seen that the person who is purporting to be Linda is a fake! Denise actually left at the end of the year, sadly missing out on a major career highlight for the Nolans - The Royal Variety Performance - at the London Palladium. The Sisters still rank this as one of the best things they have ever undertaken. They also appeared with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This was to be Denise's swansong. At the end of thier set the act sand the Andy Williams song "Happy Heart" The producer of the show wanted Denise to kneel in fron of the rest of the girls as the song reached it's cresendo. Denise protested that the move would not be successful as dropping to one knee and nerves didn't go together. Her fears were realised when, at the end of the song, Denise dropped to one knee and promptly fell over, spreadegle to thousands of people in the audience!
The Nolan Sisters were selected to sing a possible entry for the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest. The catchy tune "Harry My Honolulu Lover" was rehearsed to perfection as the girls took to the stage at London's Royal Albert Hall early in 1979. Disaster struck when a technician's strike resulted in the judges and audience not being able to see them perform their song. In fact the strike was over a simple backstage fight! Two technicians had indeed, resorted to fisticuffs over a petty dispute. When one of them was dismissed and the other not, the ever powerful 70's unions became involved. No one dared cross the picket line and chaos ensued. the venue was the Royal Albert Hall and whilst the audience at home and judges could hear the songs live, they could not see the actual performance. The song had an impressive dance routine and the girls felt it would have added weight to their chances. However the judges selected Black Lace with their song 'Mary Ann' which went on to have the dubious distinction of gaining the worst result UK result in the contest's history to date. There was to be no time for disappointment however as they had secured a deal with Epic records who wanted to market them as young pop stars. Ben Findon, Mike Myers and Robert Puzey were a highly respected songwriter team who had penned most of the hits for the Dooleys and Billy Ocean. They were recruited to create the first Epic album for the Nolan Sisters. The self titled effort that was recorded featured cover versions and a host of new songs. The first single to be released actually charted! Although not a huge chart success it's entry ensured an appearance on 'Top Of The Pops' which, at the time, was the UK's most successful TV music show. This appearance was also another ambition realised for Anne, Maureen Bernie and Linda. The second release however went onto become the Nolans signature tune and stormed the charts Worldwide. Anne, Maureen Bernie and Linda recorded the song, but initially didn't like it. 'I'm In The mood For Dancing' was released in the winter of 1979. By January 1980 it has climed as high as number 3 in the UK charts and number one in 14 countries including Japan where it became the first none Japanese song to do so since Simon and Garfunkel had done so with 'The Sound Of Silence'. It was to be the first time the act had recorded a promotional video. Coleen was invited to take part in this momentous event. She was also featured on the Nolan Sisters album both vocally and on the front cover. Her first appearance on a general release work. Robert Puzey happened to comment shortly after, that, had "Spirit Body and Soul" been released after "Dancing"  it would have had more impact on the charts than it did as the album's first release. The Nolans, as they were now called, embarked on their first headlining UK tour in late 1980. The tour was used to promote the latest album "Making Waves" Two singles had been released as a pre taster to the album. "Don't Make Waves" peaked just outside the top ten at number twelve and "Gotta Pull Myself Together" went top ten in the Summer reaching as high as number nine. "Who's Gonna Rock You" was released to promote the tour and the Nolans hit the road. Brothers Brian and Tommy Nolan ran the merchandising operation at all the venues that the tour undertook. Items as diverse as scarves and flashing visors were sold alongside the inevitable posters, badges and programmes. The success of "Making Waves" was instant. It was released the World over and was particularly successful in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. During 1980 the Sisters made trips to these territories and appeared on most of the top rated shows in each country. The second Epic/CBS album 'Making Waves' had been released in October 1980, as was a compilation double album of the '20 Giant Hits' album, this time released on the budget label Pickwick. That album was so successful it was repackaged in two formats named 'The Best Of The Nolan Sisters Vol 1' and 'Vol 2'. 'Attention to Me' became the fourth single to be released off the album. All these singles received considerable airplay and television promotion. Seeing the ladies appear on "Top Of The Pops" "Pebble Mill At One" "Video Stars" "Tiswas" amongst others too numerous to list.

Following their success in Japan which had surprised everyone  most of all the Nolans the ladies recorded a 30 minute live programme for Japanese TV.  Shown over the Christmas period, it featured the girls lip synching to their hits at famous London landmarks. Who would have imagined them singing "Who's Gona Rock You" at Trafalgar Square or "I'm in the mood" opposite the Houses Of Parliament! They also recorded two 30 minute TV specials at the New London Theatre for transmission on BBC TV. The ironic part of that recording is that the theatre is directly below the London Room! Denise was in the audience and cheered the girls on. The group flew out once more to Japan to take part in the 1981 Tokyo Music Festival. They were triumphant with  Findon, Myres and Puzey composition 'Sexy Music' which was taken from the 'Making Waves' album and went on to become a smash hit for the Nolans in Japan. The cash prize and trophy were picked up by them and they became only the third non American act to win the festival. Jermaine Jackson and Randy Crawford had been already been defeated in the contest. The Nolans road show in Japan was unstoppable. In late 1981 a single 'Chemistry' was released it was another top 20 smash and was seen as a taster for the next album 'Portrait' due to be released in March 1982. The single 'Don't love Me Too Hard'' was released early in 1982 at the same time as the 'Portrait' album both were big hits which saw the girls consolidate their position as the most successful girl group in the UK. That year saw the girls' complete their second national headline tour, which was a tremendous success. The album featured a total of four singles 'Chemistry', 'Don't Love Me Too Hard' 'Crashing Down' & 'How Do I Survive' the latter being released in Japan only. They then recorded two more 30 minute specials for BBC TV. At the close of the year a greatest hits album was released entitled 'Altogether' the album's title was also a play on words, for Anne had decided to come out of retirement meaning the act and the hits were "Altogether". Anne had missed singing and her Sisters. And had decided to come back to the group
There was time to rehearse for the tour that started in November 1982. Amy came on the tour too. Looked after, as ever, by her devoted Grandmother Maureen. To coincide with the tour and the album Epic released the single. 'Dragonfly' This failed to make the chart in the UK as did the final CBS single 'Dressed To Kill' . which entered the chart as the girls' highest ever chart entry. Allegations of chart rigging were made by the industry watchdog "IMRB" who promptly removed the song from the charts. This was a crushing blow to the Nolans who were completely innocent. It seems that a limited edition poster was offered to would be purchasers of the single. The limited edition was only available in selected stores. Those stores being chart return shops. A few hundred of which, dotted around the country made up the entire UK chart. The Music Research Bureaux used the sales of these shops to organise a full top 100 singles!! The song's failure was to be the last Epic release by the Sisters. 1983 saw the Nolans enter the charts again with 'Don't Do That' which was a collaboration with heavy rock stars Lemmy from Motorhead and Cozy Powell. It was an unlikely combination but everyone had a great time recording. It was a little disconcerting seeing Lemmy drinking neat vodka at 9am, although he was great with the girls. 1983 also sadly saw the end of the relationship between CBS and the Nolans. The record company had not been happy with some of the songs that the Nolans had presented to them. They had insisted that "Dressed to kill" be remixed and they did not seem to like some of the new writers the Nolans had been working with. They preferred, it seemed, to rely on a tried and tested formula without any changes. This didn't suit the Nolans and so both companies parted. Later inNovember 1983 Linda left the act, leaving the five piece as a four piece once more. She was not to sing professionally with the Nolans until the 2009 reunion tour. She secured work at clubs up and down the UK and also appeared at Maggie May's Showbar at Blackpool's Central Pier fora record breaking eight years. the show then transferred to South Pier for two further years. A short tour was arranged with Anne Maureen Bernie and Coleen as the line up. The family spent Christmas together as usual that year. 1984 saw a new contract secured. Towerbell Records released the party album 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'. The album featured 33 hit songs in medley form. The songs had all been hits for major recording artists. The album received heavy press and TV promotion and entered the charts and earned silver disc status within two weeks of it's release. It later earned a gold disc. It enabled the act to go on tour once more with a product to promote. It's release at Christmas time was also beneficial because of it's party theme. A lone single on the Towerbell Label was also released, regrettably this had no impact on the charts. With chart success eluding them the Nolans needed a reinvention. The group was still very popular on the touring circuit, however, enjoying great successes wherever they appeared. Denise had been enjoying success in her own right with Pantomimes, and soon after the Nolans took to Panto too. It was a chance for each girl to work on their own thus adding another string to their respective bows. It wasn't long before the ladies found themselves back in the studio recording a new album of standards that were all very dear to them. Tenderly was, and is, considered by many to be the greatest album the Nolans recorded. It featured songs from the 1950's and was a testimony to how diverse the act had become. Two of the tracks were sung a cappella. The album's release coincided with a UK tour. This too was not a commercial success. Spartan records have been accused of failing to promote the album or the solitary single that was released in tandem, entitled 'Let's spend the night together'. In 1987 Anne gave birth to her second daughter, Alexandra. While Coleen and Maureen announced that year that they were both expecting babies. The two siblings both had boys, Maureen gave birth to Danny to her partner Ritchie Hoyle and Coleen gave birth to Shane Jr . On the musical side was to be no recordings from the Nolans until 1989. Several budget priced albums were released with the same tracks shuffled about and the covers repackaged. The group continued to tour successfully and appear in Summer Seasons and Pantomimes.

The ladies went into the studio in 1989 and re recorded 'I'm in the mood for dancin 89' This was given the 'Stock Aitken Waterman' treatment with a throbbing disco beat with 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 dates were completed and although the girls fell ill to food poisoning they enjoyed the experience. Summer season work and Pantomime were bread and butter to the Sisters and seasons were undertaken in towns such as Blackpool, Skegness and Bournemouth. Although the act had no product 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 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' Coleen gave birth to her second son Jake in 1990. In addition to the new Japanese releases several "Greatest Hits" were released featuring newly recorded versions of their hits. The arrangement the Nolans had would see them record and release an album for the UK market. Mike Myres was recalled to help with recording as was Ray Hedges and translations of Japanese songs were carried out by Clive Scott, who also helped withproduction.
Meanwhile Linda had enjoyed success with tours such as "Prisoner Cell Block H" and "Back To Baccarach"
By 1993 The Nolans were now singing as a trio, they completed a Summer Season in Blackpool at the Grand Theatre. Anne, Maureen and Bernie performed the 26 week season to rave reviews and the show went out twice nightly, breaking box office records.

In 1994 Coleen had decided that she wanted to retire from show business altogether. She was married with two children and didn't need the money, or the hassle that touring and so on brought. The girls completed a Season at the Grand, Blackpool as a trio with Bernie, Anne and Maureen. Bernie announced towards the end of the run 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. Her departure was a shock to the group and her first major role. "Billy" which she was to appear alongside Jason Donovan, was cancelled. She did work in low profile roles and semi professional shows to improve her acting skills before landing the role of Mrs Johnstone in "Blood Brothers" a couple of years later. Bernie also appeared at Blackpool's Opera House in the World premiere of "Oh what A Night" starring US singing star Kid Creole. The show was a huge success and went on to tour Worldwide (minus Bernie) for several years. 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.
Meanwhile Linda was touring with shows such as "Prisoner Cell Block H" and "Back To Baccarach" 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 star in the show in London's West End at the Phoenix Theatre, when she was asked to audition for Channel Four's "Brookside" after the casting crew for the show had seen her in 'Blood Brothers' when the tour hit Liverpool. 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. Bernie was released from her contract and was asked if anyone in her family might be up for the job. Bernie's first thought was Denise. Consequently Denise Nolan was to take on the part. Becoming the first in a now World record breaking dynasty. Lyn Paul had been in the West End and was now touring the UK with the production. After a short time she too decided she wanted to leave the show. Arrangements were hastily made for Linda to become the third Nolan to don the famous checked coat and apron to play the beleaguered Mother of seven, Mrs. Johnstone. Denise stayed in the West End for eight months before being transferred to the National tour with the part. Linda was then recruited and became the second Sister to go into the West End production where she stayed for a further three years. It was during the Nolans' Summer season show at Blackpool's Grand Theatre
In 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. 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 The Nolans with Anne and Maureen toured the UK with a revamped act and even recruited two girl dancers to swell the line up, giving the impression of a foursome. The work was not the highest calibre and the Sisters were not happy singing to backing tracks at holiday camps but respite came in the shape of Anne's eldest daughter Amy, who had by now reached sixteen. Amy was born with show business running through her blood and was no stranger to the limelight. It was natural then that she would follow in her Mother's footsteps and join the group. The foursome was completed with her best friend Julia who was the same age. Together they made up the 21st Century Nolans and once more the group's profile was lifted.
The girls continued in this vein for 5 years. With Anne and Maureen 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 and twice and on board the QE2. The show was even given a Summer Season as well as touring almost constantly to packed houses. 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 Nolan undertook her debut acting role in 2002 when she starred as "Pam" a rock chick in the UK touring production of "Mum's The Word". It was to be her first non singing role. Maureen enjoyed the experience immensely and found it had given her new confidence. The show was a major success. 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.
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 her Judy Garland show and The Nolans were enjoying regular work throughout the UK and overseas. Denise continued to tour the country during this time and was even nominated for awards for her portrayal of Mrs. Johnstone such was her stature in the role. Denise left 'Blood Brothers' in 2004 and Linda was pulled from the West End to take over the touring role once more.

In 2005 Bernie recorded her first solo album 'All By Myself' which was met with critical acclaim, The album failed to make the top 100 chart, but she did have a minor chart hit with her first solo single effort 'Macushla' which reached number 39 in the UK chart. Later that year she took part in ITV's 'The Games' raising money for charity. Bernie was the eldest female on the show so it was no surprise that she came last! While Linda continued to star in 'Blood Brothers'. In 2005, a devastated Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following a mastectomy Linda shocked the country by returning to the show after only 14 weeks absence. After releasing her debut album Bernie worked in Blackpool at the UK's largest theatre the 'Opera House' for the Summer with the hit show 'Soap Queens' Bernie shared top billing with Debra Stephenson from TV's 'Coronation Street. There was little sparkle between the two. Later in 2005 2 CBS Records released the album "The Singles Collection" and a 25th Anniversary box set that featured all their CBS albums and tracks never released on CD before. That too was a massive hit. A remake of one of the Japanese only albums (Playback Part 2) now called 'The Nolans sing Momoe 2005' went to number 1 in the download charts, firmly cementing their stronghold on the land of the rising sun.
2006 saw Bernie in Panto as the wicked queen in "Sleeping Beauty" She starred with Johnny Briggs (Coronation Street's Mike Baldwin) and Tina O'Brien (Coronation Street's Sarah Platt ) as the Wicked Queen at Manchester Opera House in Cinderella. Shortly after she joined once more with Debra Stephenson in her highly rated show "Soap Queens" for a short tour. For the Blackpool shows she appeared with Richard Shelton from ITV's Emmerdale in "Soap Queen & Kings" on the town's North Pier. Bernie was devastated after the show was cancelled after just a few weeks because of poor ticket sales. The end of 2006 brought a new triumph for four of the girls when they entered the Guinness Book Of Records as the most number of siblings to have played a professional part in the same show at different times.
Maureen left Blood Brothers in 2007 to tour in a production called "Stardust" with male vocalist Mike Holoway. She joined him in Panto at Durham that year where she starred as Fairy Crystal in "Sleeping Beauty" in Summer that year she toured with the UK National Tour of "Girls Behind" Where she plays Sadie - Billed as - Tough with a soft centre. Co - stars included Sue Devaney and Donna Hazelton. Coleen found a niche in TV presenting and has worked on ITV's 'This Morning' she took over the role from professional journalists Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan. It was a shock to find that her performance, as well as that of co host Twiggy Lawson was panned. After less than six months Lawson was dismissed. Coleen continued for a short time, by now joined by seasoned pro John Leslie. Ratings began to improve. However ITV coaxed Fern Brittan out of her maternity leave. With Brittan firmly in place ITV felt able to offer Coleen "Special Features" which was a polite way of saying that she was too was fired. With only a few "Special features" under her belt Coleen left the show. With her marriage over Coleen returned to Blackpool where work remained elusive for quite some time. Coleen joined "Loose Women" where she stayed for ten years. She had originally been a panelist on the show's predessor, "Live talk". Since then Coleen has been the darling of the tabloids and has appeared on several high profile shows. Most notably 'Dancing on Ice' despite her poor standard of ice dancing Coleen endeared herself to the audience and went as far as the quarter final. She fronted her own Sky TV show "The Truth About Beauty" and has been a regular on almost every chat show of the last decade.
2008 saw the release of Anne Nolan's autobiography. She has worked for five years on the book which she explained was "The truth". In May the previous year she signed the contracts. The book's release saw much publicity and Anne was featured on radio and television for almost a month solid. She undertook a one off concert in Spain that November. The book made it to the top five in the Times national book charts. A paperback release followed in early 2009. Maureen continued her successful run of work throughout 2008 with appearances in Mum's the Word and a six month run with the national tour of "Footloose". In January 2009 she rejoined Blood Brothers for the UK national tour.
A private argument had seen several of the Sisters estranged for some time. Anne had a minor argument with Coleen's husband. This saw Coleen take the side of her partner. Denise then joined the arguement in defence of her Sister. Eventually Anne and Coleen were reconciled. But when Coleen announced her wedding plans and they didn't include Denise, the argument flared up again leaving relations in a desperate state.
It was announced during Autumn 2009 that a reunion tour was to take place. To say Anne was devastated when it was revealed that the line up would not include her was an understatement. She gave her side of the story to the press. The Nolans - this time would consist of Bernie, Maureen, Coleen and Linda - None of whom with the exception of Maureen had sung under the Nolans banner for several years with Linda being out of the line up for 26 years. The group went on the publicity trail, promoting the tour devised by Universal Records and Live Nation. They claimed that the tour organisers and record company only wanted the four Nolans who has the most success, and that the tour was to mark the 30th anniversary of "I'm In The Mood For Dancing". Anne poured scorn on this claim by pointing out Coleen hadn't recorded the song or promoted it at the time because she wasn't old enough. She also stated that of all their hits in their entire career she was only absent on 4 of them and one album. Denise too released a statement and defiantly stuck up for Anne. The tour went ahead leaving fans divided. Many were overjoyed at the concert, whilst several long standing fans stayed away in protest. The tour was a huge success however. Concerts were sold out and a DVD of the Manchester show made the top 5 in the live DVD list. An album, "In the mood again" was released, with covers of diva anthems featured in the live show and remakes of Nolans' hits . It was a  success reaching number 22 in the charts.

Bernie followed the Nolans tour by appearing in the second series of "Popstar to Opera Star" she was runner up in the show which saw Darius Danesh crowned as winner. In fact Bernie had lead the field for the whole series until the final show where less than 1% of the vote split the two. During filming Bernie had noticed a lump in her breast. Her fears were realised when she became the third Sister to be diagnosed with breast cancer. She went public with the news and even appeared with a bald head on many TV shows. Linda had withdrawn from most work following the death of her husband. The tour had been the first major work she had undertaken since her husband had died of liver failure in 2008.
Coleen's son Jake starred recently in ITV's 'Emmerdale' he and his older Brother Shane also have recorded songs and work together as a pop/rock group. Anne's youngest daughter and her partner Steve have a Son - Vinny who constantly amazes everyone with his personality. They married in 2012 Maureen became a Grandmother for the second time when Sienna was born in 2010. She already was a Grandmother to Ava who will soon be celebrating her third  birthday. Danny clearly loves Fatherhood. Maureen was married in late 2010 to her long term partner Richie. The two tied the knot in a luxury hotel in Spain. The wedding was covered by OK magazine who made a feature of the event. As a new decade began Anne and Denise made a fresh attempt at building bridges. They decided that they would write to all four of their estranged Sisters and offer to be civil to each other. Maureen and Bernie immediately replied allowing for a fragile reconcilliation to take place. Bernie's cancer trauma seemed to be at a close at the end of 2010 when, following her mastectomy and subsequent reconstruction she was able to attend her eldest Sister Anne's 60th birthday party in November. She declared to the press at the end of the year that she had beaten the disease. She also announced she was to star in the UK National tour of the hit comedy play 'Calendar Girls' Maureen toured the UK in the stage play 'Naked Truth' throughout much of 2010 before returning to the West End for a three months stint, once again, in 'Blood Brothers'. Linda undertook Panto at Worthing, whilst Denise headed to Bridlington where she topped the bill in 'Snow White'. The show broke records and consolidated her position as one of the UK's most sought after Panto baddies. Denise returned to the town in May 2011 for a one off of her 'Magic Of Judy Garland' show. Coleen released her follow up novel 'Denial' late in 2010 and a new book written by Bernie, Maureen, Linda and Coleen was released in April 2011. This book covered the Nolans' careers and private lives. Each chapter was written seperately by different Sisters.
Maureen toured throughout 2010 /11in shows as diverse ad the Eva Cassidy story - Footloose and Girls Behind, She joined Sister Linda in a production of Jack & The Beanstalk The show's producer disappeared days before rehearsals were due to start leaving the cast bemused. Salvation came when the theatre itself took over production, after the Panto Maureen was once again approached by Bill Kenwright and undertook the  Mrs J role in Blood Brothers, this time she took second billing to superstar Marti Pellow who Maureen noted was "gorgeous to look at and fabulous to work with" She left the show in Summer '12 and is due to appear in Panto in Redditch in Winter. Coleen surprised many by entering the Celebrity Big Brother House in this year.  Coleen has been a fan of the intensely invasive show for many years.
Anne had impressed a lot of people with her candid style and was invited to record an album throughout the early part of 2012. She had a hands on appraoch to the album, that involved her even arranging a medley of her own. She was invited by "Save The Children" to support their Bangladesh Clinics For Babies campaign that year. Anne released a single "When I Need You"  and offered half of the royalties to the good cause. Her album is selling well and she is going to tour late 2012 to promote it. Denise has been a familiar face on the Jazz scene for years and is now enjoying working at the Sands Venue Blackpool as a regular. Throughout 2011/12 she was involved with several shows at the venue. Where she worked with such Soap stars Shobna Gulaty (Sunita: Coronation Street) Andrew Lancel (Frank Foster: Coronation Street, Neil Manson: The Bill) Richard Shelton (Dr. Adam Forsythe: Emmerdale) Natalie Anderson (Alicia Gallagher: Emmerdale) Graham Hawley (John Stape in Coronation Street) Liam O'Brien (Ethan Blake - Emmerdale)  as well as many others from the Soap World - Denise met another accomplishment in 2011 when she topped the bill on a charity variety show - starring allongside Gareth Gates and Rose Marie. That night she doubled up by going straight to the Sands where she received a standing ovation from a full house with more than a hundred soap stars present. 2012 will see her in Broxbourne with X Factor finalist John Wilding and BBC's prankster Ross Lee, Bernie took much of 2011 off to recharge her batteries. She had worked through her cancer treatment and fulfilled commitments by completing panto in Dunstable and touring with "Calendar Girls" now, however, she needed a rest. She had a belated 50th Birthday party and took plenty of time off to recuperate before joining the National Tour of "Chicago" with Ali Bastian Stefan Booth and Tupule Dorgu. Fans were to be in with a chance to see the girls in their farewell tour, scheduled for February and March of 2013. However Bernie announced to a stunned World that her cancer had returned and that it was now uncurable. She insists that it is treatable and is taken medication to ensure that it is kept at bay. She  undertook her Panto in Eastbourne lthat year, but had to pull out when she found that her precious voice had been stolen by the cruel diesease., Bernie released he autobiography that Spring and it topped the sales and download charts selling more than 20,000 copies. She was too ill to write the last Chapter and so her Husband, Steve completed it for her.   Bernie had, in between, taken trips to Blackpool and was taken ill. She was admitted to the Town's hospice and everyone belived Bernie would not make it through the next few hours. In typical Bernie style though, just two weeks later, she returned to her home in Weybridge to spend her final days at home with her family. She was horrified to find that whilst away, thieves had brooken in to her home and stolen jewllery and had damaged treasured belongings. In her last few months Bernie made sure she spent time with all her family and even managed to get out of the house almost every day for fresh air or a light meal. Sadly Bernie lost her battle against cancer on July 4th 2013. She was with all her Sisters and Brothers. Bernie was brought home to Blackpool and her funeral was attended by 500 mourners who attended a specially arranged service at the town's Grand Theatre. Bernie arranged the entire day herself. She chose music, wrote a letter to be read to the assembled friends and family and even had live performances screened in the theatre. The Grand arranged for speakers to relay the service outside to the several thousand members of the public who lined to streets to say their final farewell to the local girl who conquered the World. In a poignent turn of events all remaining Sisters had finally settled their differences. It may well be a delicate road for full reconcilliation but still all the family are working towards this.
As 2013 progreeses, the family have to deal with their loss and grieve. However. Maureen will be rejoining Blood Brothers for the Autumn National Tour and will be starring in Panto in Carlisle. Anne continues to record and has been working with the original writer of "I'm In The Mood For Dancing" Robert Puzey. Denise still enjoys her selective work and Coleen is still a regular contributor to the Daily Mirror and is their resident Agony Aunt.  2014 started the year with a bang for Linda. She agreed to take part in Channel 5's "Celebrity Big Brother" the daunting challenge will see her share a house with other celebrities in total isolation from the outside World for up to three weeks. As one by one the celebrities are evicted by public vote. Coleen has returned to the panel of 'Loose Women' and Maureen completed a successful panto at Carlisle before heading on the road for 2014 with 'Blood Brothers' UK National Tour. Anne has filmed a documentary for Irish television charting her extraordinary life. Denise has starred in 2013 in 'The Good Old Days' a variety show in the south of England, where she topped the bill and was received with great acclaim. There was talk in late 2013 of a Nolans tour which would feature Bernie on giant video screens. Something that has not been ruled out.
Throughout 2014 The Nolans continued to enjoy TV work and stage work. Anne completed a short musical with X - FActor Finalist Niki Evans. Maureen oontinued to star in Blood Brothers and Coleen saw the release of her second autobiography and further TV appearances on Loose Women. She promoted her book on many TV shows too. Cementing her place as a firm TV favourite.  Denise starred in "The Good Old Days" and has signed up for a Panto. Linda and Maureen have also decided to star in Panto in St. Helens and Ipswich respectively. There is a film role in the offing for Anne, which will be a new string to her bow.

October 2014.

Footnote Re Newspaper Stories Jan 2014

At the Denise Nolan website we have always tried to keep the site updated and correct. In the Daily Mail this week (Jan 18th 2014) Denise was reported to have written on her site a piece detailing events in 1995. Denise never wrote the biography section on this site about the Nolans. She wrote her own autobiography on this site under the banner Denise. The Nolans biography was written by the site's webmaster. It is there as a general guide for the Nolans career. It highlights the girls achievements and documents the many highs and lows of their public life. All of the information is freely available anywhere on the web. There are no exclusives and  It does not give opinions. The site is updated regularly and pieces are added and taken away if they are seen to not look right at various times. Denise Nolan has never given her input on this section of the site. We deplored the action of Jim Davisdon on Celebrity Big Brother.  It appears that the newspaper and some websites highlighted an older Biography and selected a few lines without revealing the broader context of the full biography. The full biography support each and every one of the Nolan Sisters at every single stage of their career. It would never seek to put Linda in a bad light nor indeed ANY Of the Nolan Sisters. The details on the page are there as a matter of fact not as a news item or a headline. It seems that the piece in the press was intended to imply that Denise had decided to put pen to paper in light of Celebrity Big Brother. Denise has never herself ever spoken about the incident. It happened almost 20 years ago and would only be on her website as part of a whole story of the Nolans and NOT a couple of lines written totally out of context.

Back to content | Back to main menu