The Nolans - Denise Nolan - The Official Website

Go to content

There have been hundreds of girl groups on the music scene throughout the years.  Few, if any, can claim to have had the success or the enduring appeal of The Nolans. Their parents, Tommy and Maureen. were successful singers in their own right in post war Dublin working as 'The Sweethearts of Song'. Tommy had sung with most of Ireland's showbands. He was also one of the first Irish singers to star on Ireland's fledgling TV channel RTE where he appeared with Irish Crooner Val Doonican. Maureen had developed quite a following of her own. She was dubbed the Irish Forces Sweetheart. Her natural soprano voice had earned her a place at the Royal College of Music. She didn't complete her course as the lecturers had said that she had a natural voice. To train it, they said, would only be useful in Opera Music. She was more at home singing popular ballads of the day. Although Dublin was a large city, its entertainment scene centred around Dance Halls with resident singers, showbands and theatres.
Both Tommy and Maureen had residencies at local Dance halls  but the chances of getting lucrative work in Ireland were slim. Maureen was offered work in London and decided to make England her new base. She made the trip over to the UK and secured work in London. She returned to Dublin and started a family. In 1959 Maureen took a trip to Blackpool, holidaying with a friend of the family. She visited several of the local working men's clubs and was impressed at just how many the town had. Ireland had no similar style venues. She learned that the entire country had such clubs and saw a future in the UK working as an entertainer. On her return to Dublin Mrs. Nolan retold her story to her husband and insisted he see it for himself. He too was impressed and so the entire family would relocate to the seaside town of Blackpool. Anne and Maureen were in hospital at the time and would follow a short while after.
Blackpool was an ideal  base. It was by far the most popular holiday resort in the UK attracting over seventeen million holiday makers a year. The Working Men's Clubs reflected that, with several of them having over a thousand seats. One club,, the Central WMC had 2000 seats - the largest in the country. As well as the clubs, the town boasted dozens of Theatres,  Showbars and Cabaret lounges
The family had been offered accomodation to start them off -  and the promise of work. Work was indeed plentiful. With so many venues the easiest way of booking acts was to have block booking auditions at one club. The concert secretary from each club would attend these 'Showcall' events where the turns gave a shot performance. Afterwards the club secretaries could then offer work.  The Sweethearts of Song secured many bookings and in their first year their diary was almost full. Tommy had taken a day job as well. His heavy show business commitments did lead to poor attendences at work.Their act became a clubland favourite for the next eight years.

The Nolan children had been surrounded by music from a very yound age so it came as no surprise that they wished to enter several of the many junior talent shows that toook place in the town. At school, the elder Sisters joined the choir. Althought the family had a baby sitter, it was not unusual for Mum and Dad to invite one of the children to a club for a special treat. Denise was particularly keen to attend whenever she could. She was also known to protest thr loudest if it wasn't her turn. in 1963 When asked by her father if she would like to come and sing, instead of shying away from the microphone, Denise rushed forward, not displaying any signs of stage fright. This pattern was repeated by all the Brothers and Sisters, with Bernie and Coleen making their stage debuts at just two years old. A babysitting error one night meant that all ten of the family would have to go to the club. Anne, Maureen and Denise were in their teens and had started to play a bigger role in the family show. Their parts were considered essential. The younger children could not be left alone. That night was to go down in Nolan history. The act had stormed the club, so much so, that they would be invited back to the club the following season as a nightly headline act.
'The Singing Nolans'.  Bernie was to joke several years later "It was clever that wasn't it? We were Nolans and we sang".  Their act sang popular chart hits and medleys from films,  including their versions of songs from 'The Sound Of Music'. That film  made such an impression on the girls that they reportedly went to see it at the cinema 18 times. Their Father could not understand why they wanted to see the film so many times until he went to see it for himself. He was impressed with the music, certainly, but more to the point, he understood why the family were so hooked. What he saw was a striking resemblence with the on screen  family to his own. The film must have made a similar impression on him as their business cards soon even had the subtext "Blackpool's Own Von Trapp Family".

In 1970 The Singing Nolans enjoyed their first resident Summer Season at the Town's Brunswick Club, the second largest in the town. The following year they headlined their own show at the town's largest club 'The Central Cub'  where they worked alongside a virtually unknown Freddie Starr. The act was hugely popular, evey night for the six months summers season, crowds of up to 2000 queued around the block to see them. So popular were they that queues began to appear from 5pm for a venue that didn't open it's doors until 6-30. The show would see the younger members take to the stage early evening. Bernie swould sing 'Strollin' and Linda was featured singing 'Big Spender'. Coleen performed 'Where is love' from the musical 'Oliver'. At this time, Denise enjoyed singing strong ballad numbers. Seeing a teenage Denise take on Bassey and Cilla Black numbers was impressive.  They even learned Eurovision winning songs 'Non Ho L'eta' and 'Apres Toi' from 1964 and 1972 in their original language. The three elder sisters had a section of the show, mum and dad sang duets and solo numbers at the end of their set. Whilst off stage Tommy would sing 'Thank Heaven For Little Girls' as each of the sisters came back on stage to take their final bow.
The family recorded the album 'The Singing Nolans' for the independent Nevis label in 1972. The album was recorded in one day and was sold at their shows. It remains a major Nolans collectable today, often reaching bids of more than £100 on auction sites. A Christmas EP and a single 'Blackpool'' were also recorded. The 'Blackpool' single was written by Tommy for the town's football club and is still regularly played at Bloomfield Road before each home game. The single also had a more pop flavoured B Side - 'Apple Pie'. These three releases are constantly sourced by new Nolans fans to add to their collections. They have become rare over the years as they were made in limited quanities. They certainly didn't enter the charts. Says Linda 'I really liked Apple Pie; It was a bit like a New Seekers number. It was written especially for us. The poor album only had an organist playing on it, so it sounds really basic. But when we recorded Blackpool we had a brass band! and Apple Pie was recorded with really funky electirc guitars. Back in those days we didn't have backing tracks, and the clubs would only have an organist and a drummer, so we didn't sing it much. Its a shame really, because I think it was really commerical.'
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. Her tantrums became legendary within the family when it wasn't her turn to work with her parents.  When she did appear as a teenager she recalls a tremendous anticipation as she came into the clubs.
"People used to nudge their friends and say that  "That's the one there!" Because they knew that although I was only an 11 year old, I could handle songs like Cilla Black's 'Anyone Who Had A Heart' or Bassey's 'This Is My Life'  It may seem big headed, but the audiences really did love us and we went down a storm.'

The Nolans' rise to stardom cannot ever be described as meteoric. In 1973 the family had been singing in UK clubs for more than a decade without any major breakthrough. They were well known in clubland and during the winter months they could take their show on the road to clubs throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire. School holidays would see the family travelling to Scotland, Wales, the Midlands and the South of England where they could undertake longer engagements. A chance opportunity was almost missed on Christmas Day in 1973. The family rule was that they didn't work on Christmas Day, preferring to spend the time together.
The Cliffs Hotel in Blackpool called the Nolan household, desperate, as they had been let down by their scheduled act. Tommy initially refused the gig saying it was a family rule. The hotel called a second time and asked Tommy to name his price. Mr. Nolan said they would only work if they were paid what was then a staggering £80. That figure,  in today's money is £1,250. The hotel called back within the hour to agree to the fee. Tommy meanwhile, had, settled in his chair and decided he wasn't going to go after all. Maureen Sr. felt duty bound to fulfil the booking and quickly prepared herself for the booking. Before very long her daughters had decided that they too would accompany her and share a taxi and the stage.
The new owner of the Cliffs Hotel, Joe Lewis, saw the show and immediately offered the act a residency at his prestigious new London nightspot, 'The London Room'. When they later told their Father he scoffed that that the offer was just talk. However the next day the offer was repeated. Subsequently, that evening Mr. Lewis turned up at  the Nolan family home. The eldest girls Anne, Denise and Maureen were old enough to sign without parental approval, but the younger ones were below the legal age. They pestered their Father to agree to the terms. Maureen even said that she would sign a release. Tommy agreed to sing for two nights in the venue before he made his mind up. When he came home he hesitantly signed the contract in the presence of Lawyers. He was anxious that his family not be exposed to some of the harsher aspects of show business. He was a well liked and respected man in Blackpool and Northern Clubland, but London was a world away from his comfort zone. Anne has since said  
"If Dad hadn't signed for the younger children Denise and Maureen and I would have gone of our own accord anyway. We were sick of working all over the place in clubs that sometimes had horrible changing rooms. Some of the time audiences were fighting with each other. A lot of clubs were great and the audiences were fabulous, but sometimes they were not. My two eldest Sisters and I agreed that if we didn't get some kind of break we were going to pack it in anyway. I had already found a job in an office so this couldn't have come at a better time."
The contract initially seemed impressive. The act was to headline six nights a week in London's West End at 'The London Room'. Their contract would tie them to the Hanover Grand Organisation for ten years. The contract could be re-negotiated after five years. The five eldest sisters and mum moved to London in spring 1974. The brothers stayed at home, as they both had steady girlfriends. Coleen had no interest in moving, she preferred being at home with her pony. Tommy Sr also stayed at home.
Joe Lewis was already a very successful man. He allowed the family to stay in his London home upon arriving in the city. The Nolans were by no means wealthy and had never experienced Joe Lewis's standards of luxury. The magnificent gated community housed Joe Lewis' mansion that included swimming  pool, tennis court, a sizeable garden and a games room.  The family act was put its paces at the London Room in private, Joe Lewis had sought out the services of Stewart Morris, who was the head of the BBC's Light Entertainment Department. He knew the Singing Nolans were a little rough around the edges and Morris could refine the act. Morris spared no feelings with his critisism. He stated that the choice of songs was old fashioned, the harmonies a little slack, costumes were poor and choreography poor. The main critisism was reserved for the girls parents. Tommy had moved to the capital by now. Hanover Grand told the family that the act would be better with five sisters rather than five sisters and their parents. This was exactly the kind of thing that Tommy had been anxious about. It must have hurt them to be rejected so casually, but they didn't stand i their daughters way, and stepped down from performing. Tommy would remain as the act's personal manager, and Maureen sr would run the family home. The money the girls were earning was substantial for the time. The ekder girls received £175 each and the younger ones £30. There were no bills to be paid and so the Sisters were delighted. When asked about their decision to stay in Blackpool Biran later said;
'My Brother and I had jobs by then and we had girlfriends. We enjoyed singing, but it wasn't the be all and end all for us. Our lives in Blackpool were great. Looking back, of course you have a bit of envy. Like when they toured with Sinatra, I mean wow! he was our hero. The other side of the coin is the tremendous amouth of hard work that they put into what they did. I don't think I had that drive.'

Tommy sourced a new home for the family, eventually settling on  a home was found in Ilford, Essex. The property, at 4 Granville Road was, and has since resumed its role as a Doctor's Surgery. The double fronted property had five bedrooms. Each sister shared a room with another sister and Anne had a room of her own. Bernie and Linda finished their schooling at Clark's School For Girls in Ilford. Whilst Coleen split her time between the two homes, mainly staying in Blackpool at her Aunty's. She had a horse, something that has remained a passion of hers since. She did not see a future in showbusiness at all.
Whilst the parent went house hunting, Stewart Morris was working hard to create something special. To ensure that The Nolan Sisters were ready for their London debut, The Hanover Grand organisation recruited some of the best people in show business to bring polish to their act.  Next, Morris hired the services of musical arranger John Coleman and Conductor Alyn Ainsworth were also secured. Between them they had an unmatched record in TV and live music shows. Coleman had written movie scores and hit records and was the Musical Director of the UK section of the Eurovision. Choreographer Nigel Lythgoe was engaged to put the girls through their paces with exciting dance routines to accompany each of their songs. Several of the girls  had a crush on Nigel, who later went on to be judge 'Nasty Nigel' on  ITV's Pop Idol. His put downs became the stuff of legend, but he was kind and helpful with the Nolans and they responded well to his coaching. For up tempo songs Nigel produced sharp dance routines and ballads  were choreographed with clever arm movements or gentle sways in unison. Unlike today, singers then had to use microphones with cables attched. Dance routines would often involve passing mic's to each other as they criss crossed the stage. Seldom did this result in a tangled mess of wires as the girls observed all the rules!  Finally Robert Earle was brought in as their new show-business manager. Earle had had several hits in his own right as a vocalist in the 1950s. He was now a sharp suited, razor sharp manager. Managers today, ensure that would be pop stars are introduced to stylists who create a look exclusive to them. The Nolan Sisters were not so fortunate. Their 'stylist' was Earle's wife, Daphne. Described by Maureen as 'bossy and posh'.  Daphne went to work on their costumes, hair and make up. The five Sisters went to exclusive designer shops to buy their outfits. Daphne's choice was met with derision by five young women who were not impressed with Jaeger's latest designs. They were more suited to women of Daphne's age than a group of girls aged between 13 and 23. Robert  Earle had visions of the act becomming a successor to the Beverley Sisters and insisted that they wear the same clothes as each other, both on and off stage. A visit to top hair stylist John Frieda did not impress Denise.
'I had fairly long hair and he just whacked it off in one go. Talking about how it was going to frame my face and give me a pixie look. I was utterly horrified. It looked like a man's hair cut. The woman who cut Bernie's said to her 'Do you like it?' and Bernie said 'No I don't actually' But, as we soon learned - someone else always knew best.'
Dressmakers with BBC experience were commisioned to produce stage outfits. Some of the stage costumes did please the girls. Their first stage outfit was a red cat suit with the letters "NS" emblazened on white with diamonte finish. Topped off with a red sequinned jacket. They were utterly dismayed at the outfit that was chosen for the second half of the show, a long, floaty, yellow evening dress with a butterfly logo on the breast panel in sequins. Soon afterwards other outfits were added.

Morris' efforts eventually saw results. Every aspect of their act had changed. Sound of Music medleys were rejected in favour of Philidelphia Medleys. The trendy, upbeat number 'Reach Out, I'll Be There'  would be the show's opeinig number. Morris had even helped sharpen how the Sisters would talk in between numbers.
Within six months Morris and his team had sharpened the act to such an extent that he was able to report to Hanover Grand.  "The Nolan Sisters", he said; "Are as good now, if not better than any girl vocal group that you have ever heard or will ever hear in the future".
Stewart Morris' presence was intimidating. He was feared by most people at the BBC, but he had seen potential in the girls and unleashed their talent. Working in the London Room brought financial reward in the way of an excellent salary. It did not however allow the girls to earn money in their own right. Earnings from future Summer Seasons, TV appearances record royalties and cabaret would see payment to Hanover Grand and not the girls.  Whatever lucrative work they may undertake, they were still to be paid the same salary from Hanover Grand.
The opening night of the Nolan Sisters show was covered by the press who commended them. The Stage newspaper raved about the best new show in London. The two youngest Sisters had not yet reached sixteen and so the amount of appearances they made was limited. Strict laws restricted how many TV appearances and live engagements they could undertake. Say Linda;
'We were supposed to only do eighty performances a year until we were sixteen. The official paperwork said that Bernie and me would do so many weekends and a day in the week. I don't think they ever stuck to it. It didn't matter too much to me, because I would turn sixteen in February of '75, but Bernie was a year and eight months younger than me. There's no doubt the rules were broken. No-one ever checked anything.'

The London Room had proved to be a success. Six nights a week the Sisters took to the stage. The show cost £8 per person and that included a welcome drink, three course meal with unlimited wine and the show. The venue seated 450 in luxurious surroundings. The London Room as in the round and therefore provided good opportunities to see the stage wherever you were seated. The show itself was London Themed with well known landmarks adorning the stage backdrop, Musicians were on stage and before the Nolan Sisters appeared it was their job to pull out a second stage from under where the musicians were seated.

Once the Nolan Sisters' show had been settled in, Morris brought chart topping star Cliff Richard in to see the show one night. The two were looking for guests on his, yet to air, TV show It's Cliff. The star's attendance in the audience brought much anxiety backstage. They need not have worried though,  because Cliff loved them and wanted him on his show. Rehearsals began shortly afterwards. The Nolan Sisters were booked for all six episodes of It's Cliff and this meant a lot of hard work. Each day, the six Sisters left Ilford and travelled across London on the tube to Acton, hone of the BBC rehearsal studios. After the day's rehearsals they went to London to appear on stage at the London Room. Rehearsals were from Monday to Thursday with Recording 'as live' on Friday. The show was transmitted on Saturday Evenings. Some of the show's sketch elements had been recorded early in the week and shown on screens to a studio audience. The Sisters were able to catch their first appearance but missed several of them as they were performing live in London. This was in pre video days and the Sisters did not see their performances until many years later.
Hanover Grand knew that the Sisters would be appearing on It's Cliff in a advance, and managed to secure a one off EMI single. The song, a cover of the Clarence Frogman Henry number 'But I Do' was to be featured on It's Cliff as was it's reverse 'Now I'm Stuck On You'. Coleen recorded the lead vocal on But I Do; says Anne;
'I sang a bit part of the song too. It was cute seeing Coleen sing the song, but if i honest, it was not really a good idea to have a nine year old singing lead vocals. People who buy singles are young - but not that young. The B side would have been a better song I think.'
The outfits selected by the BBC caused a great deal of worry for the Sisters. Denise recalls;
'For our debut they put us in these long green, spongy, velvety dresses, they had some bow thing around the neck. They were vile. Bernie siad 'I'm not wearing that, my friends as school will laugh at me' But The BBC 'knows best' - They have Anne, who has just turned 24 wearing the same lousy dress as Bernie who was 14. They made a shorter version of it for Coleen and put her in knee length white socks. The papers had a field day the next day saying that we had made our TV debut wearing long green curtains. But it didn't stop there. We had all these outfits made because we did so many songs on each episode. They had us in pink romper suits for an Abba number, these awful blue dresses with a long yellow tie for a Bob Dylan song. So many bloody awful outfits. They were not only vile, but they weren't well made and didn't fit properly. It made us so upset. The BBC seemed determined to make us look like maiden Aunts.'
Bernie's bitter  complaits to their 'Stylist'  Daphne were met with "We won't have any Sarah Bernhardts  from you dear."

An audience of 17 million watched the show. Management were confident that the song would be a hit. But the record buying public did not get behind the release and the song failed to gain any momentum, resulting in a disappointing flop. The lack of radio airplay was a foretaste of things to come.
It's Cliff  however, was a huge success. Such high ratings saw the Sisters become a household name overnight. There was immediate National press coverage with pictures, articles and interviews appearing in all the daily papers. They also began to be recognised in the street. The Sisters enjoyed the attention. Coleen meanwhile, headed back to Blackpool and her pony. The long road to stardom had come very quickly, but it was already twelve years in the making.
When clothes are made for TV appearances the BBC gave the wearer the opportunity to purchase them. Nothing could be further from The Nolan Sisters minds than buying them. Management had other ideas and bought them all, without the girls' knowledge - but with the Nolan Sisters money.

In 1975 the Sisters went into the recording studio recording the single (Won't You) Make A Little Sunshiine Shine) with a B side 'Have Love Will Travel'  The single was featured on The Vera Lynn Show and The Basil Brush Show - the song also recieved air play. The charts only published the top forty and songs outside that number or going down the chart could not appear on Top Of The Pops. Without that exposure and Radio One, most singles did not stand a chance. Further TV appearances came on The Les Dawson Show, The Harry Seacombe Show and The Roy Castle Show 'Beats Time'  where the Sisters completed their first TV interview and sing the UK and Dutch winning entry of that years Eurovision. The show showcased the differences between them as a young pop group and the Choir at the John Scurr School Choir
One night, backstage in the London Room, Stewart Mossic came to see them and told them to be especially good tonight, as he had an important guest with him. Morris told them later that they had done well. Tommy Nolan had paid extortionate prices for two tickets to see the family hero, Frank Sinatra, at his London concert. He would use one himself and raffle off the other for one of his Daughters.  Meanwhile one day, whilst relaxing at home, the three sisters half listened to a phone call their Father recieved. Two younger Sisters were at school and not due home until lunchtime.
Tommy Nolan's face was open mouthed as he revealed that the call was from Stewart Morris, who had just informed him that the Nolan Sisters had been selected as the support act for the whole of the Europen leg of Sinatra's World tour. The Nolan household erupted in frenzied excitement. Which only got wilder when the younger sisters came home.  
There would be rehearsals for  week in May before the tour went ahead. During the rehearsal Sinatra said to the girls that they were far too young to know thses songs. The Sisters did not want to appear fawning and remained tight lipped, but all of them knew every single word. Maureen says;
'We wanted to watch him whenever we could. He is just our favourite. So, he saw us rehearse with our five piece band and he said we could have the use of his orchestra as well! So we gave out the music and had a sixty piece orchestra - incredible. Sinatra, or Frank to us! Asked how we were getting from venue to venue and we told him that we had a bus with our band and managers. He waved his hand and said 'Nope' he then asked his people to make sure we had a limousine the same as his to take us wherever we needed to go. It was fantastic. He was so kind to us.'

Linda continues; 'On the opening night in Paris, at the Palais De Congres Bernie got a terrible cough. We did an a-capella song in our set called 'Scarlet Ribbons' there is no music, just our voices and Bernie was cough, cough, cough. Pretty soon into the song it wasn't getting better and we could see people pointing and laughing. The laughter was off putting and upsetting. So, Frannk Sinatra comes up to us after the show and said 'Which one of you girls had the cough tonight?' Bernie put her hand up and said in a really quiet voice, 'Me Mr.Sinatra' - Sinatra says 'don't worry about it kid - it can happen to anyone' Now that is class.'

Although Sinatra didn't mix sociably with the girls. He did speak to them every night and offer words of encouragement. He woulc always praise them after singing his first number. Saying 'Didn't the kids sound great' Denise, perhaps the biggest fan in the family was often tongue tied; 'He would walk up to us and say 'How's it go tonight girls?' and I would go 'Hurumph gulph googly' I was so star struck. At London, we brought our Dad to meet him, I had settled down a bit in his presence by then, and I said to Frank, Mr Sinatra, this is my Father Tommy. Now, my Dad swallowed the blarney stone, he didn't just kiss it. He stood there like a staue - dumbstruck as Frank Sinatra held out his hand and said 'Pleased to meet you Tommy. It was hilarious. At the end of the tour Frank Sinatra presented us with a bracelet fob chain with the words 'Peace and Love' Frank Sinatra' engraved on it.'

The Sisters 1975 wardrobe had also seen changes that met the Sisters' approval. Two different styles of white trouser suit were chosen. The ones with flowers sewn into the trouser legs were selected for the Sinatra tour. The busy year was rounded off with appearances on The Vince Hill show - Musical Time Machine. The show used a make believe machine that transported guest back to a musical period.  They also recorded album in 1975 or sale at the London Room. The LP featured songs from their act and was recorded track by track as a live performance. Only a thousand copies were printed and it has gone on to become a major collectable, with prices on auction sites often reaching more than £100. You can see the artwork and track listing here

Stewart Morris was involved in the Sisters' next tour. This time they were to appear as the support act for Rolf Harris on his South African tour. The six week tour also featured Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart. and Ray Allan and Lord Charles. They appeared in prestigous theatres and lounges in the African State. A chance encounter one day saw them meeting Tom Jones in a sauna! The heart throb entertainer was also there on a tour of his own, The girls happened to be staying at the same hotel. They enjoyed a chat about showbusiness and had a photograph taken with the superstar. Linda even attended his after show party.
On their return, the Nolan Sisters recorded tracks for three more singles. 'Rain/Hey What A Day' -  'Thanks For Calling / Oh My Darling'  and 'When You Are A King/Oh My Darling'  Rain was released  in April and didn't sell partucularly well. Thanks For Calling sold better, but it was the release of When You Are A King that many years later, something was discovered. The charts were compiled by a panel of record shops who told the chart company how many copies of each single they had sold. The song had not sold well in many of these chart panel shops. The system was wide open to abuse in any case, as no proof of actual sales was required. When accurate sales figures surfaced in the 2020s it would appear that 'When You Are A King' had reached number 15 on the second week of its release and number 12 the following week. An industry contact that this website knows, who wishes to reamin anonymous told me;

'It happened all the time. A&R people from record companies were going nuts about it. Because some of the label staff were going into record shops and giving them any manner of inducements. A crate of whiskey, free records the then sell, tour jackets, concery tickets - you name it. A record that might have sold 25 copies went down as having sold 200.  On of my good friends had a record shop and I asked him to use the published chart and write where his own sales were next to the official place. We could not believe the difference. You had acts like the Nolans who regularly were in the top twenty who officially were not in the chart at all. Sometimes the panel would be made up of a few thousand songs that were sold in a couple of hundred shops. It was a complete and utter shambles. The charts did not accurately reflect what was actually going over the counter. When this all came to light in, I think, 1979 the whole system had to be changed. I worked for Target  records and I know how many copies of those singles were being sold. Put it this way, there were eight or nine of them released, because Coleen did a solo one. There is not a chance, that even back then, that a record lable would keep releasing records that didn't sell. It costs a lot of money to get a record recorded, manufactured and distributed. If every one of them bombed then they just wouldn't release them. The Nolan Sisters were not signed to Target, the records were released by Target on a deal that the label would get a percentage of profits and Hanover Grand a percentage. I know 'Love Bandit' was almost certainly a hit. It was getting airplay, and it was selling. There was a second print run for it. So it had sold more than 50,000 copies. No gold disc though. Those sales should have got it into the chart, but the chart panel shops were not giving it any help, shall I say. The label decided in 1978 to release the 20 Giant Hits album. It would come with all the bells and whistles of a TV advertising campaign and posters and record shop displays. That was a big big risk to take on an act that had , so far, delivered eight flops. In truth, there was not really a risk, because I knew that they were already selling well enough. It's a shame. Their management were not pushing them either. They didn't want to splash out on big campaigns for the girls. When 20 Giant Hits went gold they were genuinely over the moon. Of course, not as over the moon as Target and their management. I know, from what you told me, that they were on a salary and not entitled to royalties. I don't know if any other acts of comparable size had a similar deal, I doubt it. You know, when you are selling millions of records and not getting any more money that if you sell a thousand, it must have been very disheartening. Not that it showed in them, they worked their socks off. It's a shame.'

I n 1977 the Sisters were booked to appear in an eight week Summer Season show at Eastbourne with Ronnie Corbett and Janet Brown. It was the first time the Sisters had worked away from home on their own for any length of time. They rented a house and had fun. Although Eastbourne is not a hotspot for night life the girls enjoyed their time in the town. In between shows they often had to rush back to London to record TV appearances. The record company released 'Oh My Darling' was given a release in America. It had a slight Country and Western sound and it was hoped that the American market might have picked it up.

With regard to the none charting songs Denise recalls;
"They were good songs to be honest. We sang well on them and they were well produced. It was frustrating because sometimes we recorded a TV show singing the new song and then the show would air on TV several weeks after it had been released. For whatever reason, we didn't get the chance to go on live TV to sing our latest release."

1977 brought another first for the act when they were selected to support Engelbert Humperdinck in a series of concerts in New York. The Sisters flew out to America with their parents with a great deal of excitement. They were aware that Humperdinck was adored by a mainly female crowd and they viewed the concerts with trepidation. They feared that the audience would ignore them as they were only there to see the main attraction. Instead they found that the audience enjoyed their performances and cheered them with enthusiasm.
With the growing success of the act, Tommy Nolan begun to wonder if they would be in a better position if they were to leave the Hanover Grand Organisation. The company had secured plenty of high profile engagements for them and they had proved to be bankable. However the Sisters were still only being paid a weekly wage. If they left Hanover Grand they would be free to earn their own money. It was a tough decision as they had only completed three years of the ten year contract. They decided to carry on with Hanover Grand for a while longer. The single 'Love Transformation' was released in September 1977 on the back of a Dulux Paint TV commercial. The tune was recorded anonymously to promote the paint and following several enquiries from the public as to who had recorded it was released commercially. It sold well and landed just outside the top 50. Target Records and the Nolan Sister's management came closest to success with the release of their next single, 'Love Bandit'.  The single was by far the biggest selling of all the Target singles. It had considerable airplay and was featured on BBC's Two Ronnies where an audience of 18 million watched. The single sold almost 60,000 copies and reached number 54 in the charts. Denise recorded lead vocals oh this and 'Love Transformation'. With 'Love Bandit' gaining momentum, management were told that the midweek chart had seen it enter the top 40. That could mean an appearance on Top Of The Pops and a bona fide chart entry. Somehow between the mid week and the chart relase the song drifted and ended up outside the main chart. Everyone was devastated at the near miss.

Denise's own swansong with the group was at the London Palladium in a week long run with with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  A funny recollection from that show was that at the end of their set the girls sang the Andy Williams song 'Happy Heart' The producer of the show wanted Denise to kneel in front  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. During rehearsals the song was completed  without a hitch. The opening night her fears were realised when, at the end of the song, Denise dropped to one knee and promptly fell over, spreadegle in front of thousands of people in the audience!
Denise was, by now, beginning to voice her fears about her future in the group. Denise felt uneasy at the way the act was progressing. She disliked some of the choreography and preferred singing solo ballads and standards. However, a major project for the Nolan Sisters was coming up and she agreed to stay with the act to record the upcoming album.
Family conferences agreed to let Denise leave the act and come back to promote the product.
Early in 1978 the Sisters recorded 20 Giant Hits. This album remains The Nolans highest charting album. The whole album was recorded, in a week! Denise recalls the recording process on her biography page here. The project had emerged following market research which was carried out to find the 20 most popular songs of the day. The record company also asked the Sisters to choose their own favourite contemporary songs. The album was heavily promoted with TV advertising and a record shop display campaign. The Sisters also hit the promotional trail visiting record shops to sign copies. BBC TV's Nationwide followed them on their journey. The album was a huge hit, climbing as high as number three in the UK Album Chart. It received gold disc status and when the disc was awarded had achieved sales of £300,000. The lack of royalties was becomming a constant irritation to the Sisters.
Denise's final TV appearance with her Sisters was to record the Nationwide TV magazine programme. The show finished with them singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Denise's departure was featured heavily in the press where she told reporters that she was leaving the act not the family.
An interesting feature about the front cover of the 20 Giant Hits 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. Although she did not look that much like Linda. The front cover featured a huge (Giant) number '20' on a plith with the legend Giant Hits' inscribed on it. The Sisters and the look alike draped themselves over it. The picture was taken from a distance with a filter on the lens. The ploy 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 features close ups.  It can clearly be seen that the person who is purporting to be Linda is a fake! Denise's departure, meant she sadly missed out on a major career highlight for the Nolan Sisters - The Royal Variety Performance - at the London Palladium. The Sisters still rank this as one of the best things  they have ever undertaken.
The Nolan Sisters had built up a significant reputation in the industry as reliable workers and a good box office draw, the would be no problems finding qualituy work. Already, show-business contemporaries had shared their own thoughts on the arrangement that was currently in place. It was not a good deal. It may have been a good deal for a group of unknown singers from Blackpool three years ago, but now, the act was established and a bankable commodity.  Denise had been persuaded to stay in the act for a while longer.
Denise's departure was a big loss to the group, she had been a significant contributor to the vocals of the act, often singing the melody or lead. As Bernie said at the time;
"We will miss her, not only her presence on stage, but because she has the best voice."  
Denise had agreed to return to the group for any promoional appearances. Anne says;
'When the album was released, it took a couple of weeks before it went into the chart. We were taken all over the place to do signings in record shops. Te had the TV crew following us about as well. We were not at the London Room very much at all during this period. We did the album launch there, which the press all attended. They knew the album was coming out and they had booked us for cabatret engagements all over the place, Birmingham, St Agnes, Bedford, Batley you name it - the whole country. They had arranged for us to go to all these record shops during the day to promote it, then radio and newspaper interviews before doing a full show late at night. It was very hectic. We were booked for the Summer Season at the ABC in Blackpool, which meant we could stay at our house there and at least have a regular base. But they didn't see it like that - we were working six nights a week and then on  our day off they would have us fly to London to record a TV show. They even had ua doing stuff during the day.'
At the end of its chart run, the album had achieved gold status and the Sisters were awarded gold discs. The plaque on the album stated that the album had so far achieved £350,000 in sales. More than £2.5 million in 2023 prices. The girls would not receive a penny in Royalties. In ater years the album has been re-released as a double album, two single albums and re-issued in several far eastern countries. The album was the released in CD in the UK and in later years under licence in Japan, the Sisters biggest overseas territory. In 2020 the album, along with all the Target Singles was remastered and released as a double album in the UK as ''20 Giant Hits Plus'. None of which saw any finicial benifir to the Sisters.
The Summer Season show as a foursome was a triumph. Coleen's age had meant that throughout the early part of their career she had to be excluded from all but a few engagements a year. The show was to feature Irish Brother vocal act  The Bachelors and comedian Billy Dainty. A final Target single 'Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue' was released, conisered to be a poor choice, in that it had only been a hit for Crystal Gayle the previous year.. The Nolan Sisters were able to sing the song on the top rated Morecambe & Wise show, despite this,  it failed to make the chart. Coleen released a solo Single 'Andy' which was a novelty song abut a schoolgirl having a crush on Prince Andrew. It was released on the Target label and failed to chart.
The Nolan Family felt that Hanover Grand had badly marketed the Sisters. By making them appeal to a middle aged audience that mainly sang cover versions of songs on TV. By doing so, they had alienated them from the single buying public who were largely younger. The Sisters were young themselves and wanted to sing modern songs, more suitable for younger artists. The decision to leave Hanover Grand was finally made in 1978. They were only four years into their ten year contract. The half term re-negotiation was still eight months away. If the act waited until then, it was almost certain that the following year's diary would be full of bookings that they would have to honour without anything other than their current salary.
It was natural that Hanover Grand hang on to their act. They were certainly earning the company a great deal of money. Hanover Grand haggled over a release fee. Eventually an agreement was made. Family funds were virtually wiped out, but this giant sacrifice was considered worth it.  Being free from Hanover Grand meant that they were now free to engage an agent, pay them their percentage and make a healthy living. There were dates that were already in place, that Hanover Grand had contracted the girls to carry out. But these were limited. Tommy Nolan was reinstated as full time manager. The Derek Block Agency in London would now be their sole agent. Almost immediately, a stream of bookings were in place. Including a series of concerts with Mike Yarwood in Birmingham.
Several major record companies wanted to sign the Nolan Sisters. The successful label was Epic Records, part of the giant CBS group. Epic wished to promote the act as a pop group rather than a middle of the road vocal group. The first project was to enter a song in the UK heat of the Eurovision. The Sisters recorded 'Harry My Honolulu Lover' in December 1978. The UK contest organisers, BASCA whittled down the 600 songs that had been submitted, to just twenty, without knowing the artist's identity. Once down to the final twenty, the artiste is named and the BBC then select a short list for the actural contest. That year, the Song For Europe was to be held at the Albert Hall. The Nolan Sisters worked hard perfecting a dance routine to accompany the song, penned by Terry Bradford, one time member of the previous UK entry CoCo. With the song rehearsed to perfection, the girls arrived at the venue  in anticipation for that nights live TV event. The bookmakers had the girls as certain winners. Just before the sisters took to the stage that night in March 1979, disaster struck. A technician's strike had been brewing for a while. Their industrial action resulted in the judges and audience not being able to see any acts performing 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 70s  trades union became involved. No one dared cross the picket line and chaos ensued. The show was cancelled at the last minute. The audience were sent home and acts sent to hotels. The egional juries only heard the songs on tape. They could not see any of the performances. The Nolan Sisters' song had an impressive dance routine and the girls felt it would have added weight to their chance of victory. There was to be more confusion when the North West region could not be contacted, giving their results the next day. It was felt that the North West jury would mark the Nolans highly as they had a strong following in that region. In fact, they scored them poorly. In the end, the judges selected Black Lace as winners, relegating the Nolans to fourth place. The Black Lace song 'Mary Ann' went on to have the dubious distinction of securing the worst placed UK result in the contest's history to date. The BBC had been convinced the Nolan Sisters would win and had secured bookings across Europe in anticipation, including a spot at the Montreux Music Festival, and the Val Doonican Show. Press coverage saw a picture of Anne crying in the back of a car being driven away. Featuring the headline "The Sore Losers". The Nolans were heartbroken at the result. They felt that they had been stolen of the chance to sing their song properly, in front of a live audience. Their act is known to be highly visual and their live vocals are always impressinve. Bitterly disappointed as they were, there would to be no time to dwell on things as they had their first Summer Season without Hanover Grand to prepare for. Epic Records meanwhile, rush-relased the single, but with attention focused on the Black Lace song, interest quickly waned.



Record company executives had told the family that they wanted the Sisters to meet a songwriting team, with a view to working with them. Seasoned hit makers Ben Findon, Mike Myers and Rober Puzey who had written and produced several hits for The Dooleys and Billy Ocean.  The song-writing  team would write new songs for the girls as well as a selection  of cover versions. Coleen would record some of the vocals on the forthcoming release. the B side to Harry My Hololu Lover was a Findon/Myers/Puzey composition called 'More To Love'  featuring Anne on lead vocals. Two further tracks were recorded, 'Spirit Body & Soul' and Out Of 'Love with Love'. which was composed by Bugatti & Musker and had been a release for Barbara Dickson. The next few months saw a flurry of activity from the Sisters, most weeks they performed in cabaret. There was  a tour of Ireland, a trip to Montreau for the music festival, followed by a working cruise on MV Oriana. The Sisters also had corporate concerts to undertake including one in Madeira. With increasing work and a higher profile, the Ssiters decided they would employ their own full time Musical Director,  Eddie Peacock who had previously worked for Freddie Starr, and had played piano for the Nolans act, he also arranged with bands in venues so that musicians had the right music to work with.

In June 1979 Anne married footballer Brian Wilson in a lavish ceremony in Blackpool. The couple were able to have a brief three day honeymoon in the North East before Anne had to rejoin the group for her Summer Season in Cleethorpes. It was to be the first time that the Nolan Sisters had topped the bill for a Summer show.  The show ran for six nights a week  for twelve weeks.  Epic wanted their debut Nolan Sisters album to be released before the year end, a task that would prove to be difficult, as even Sundays involved a trip accross the country for a twice nightly concert at Southport. The show was a record breaker, smashing all box office records that still stand today.
With the heavy svhedule, the girls were unable to travel to London to lay vocals down for the up-coming album. Cleethorpes did not have suitable studio close by, and so, there was a major problem. Ben Findon found a solution; He decided to take a mobile studio to Cleethorpes. Two large vans were parked outside their rented Summer accomodation, one containing a studio, the other containing the production suite.  During the day the girls would record vocals and in the evening they would entertain the audiences in the theatre. It was incredibly hard work,  and for two weeks the Sisters had very little time to relax.  During the recording, Coleen sang slightly off key on one of the tracks. It wasn't discovered until later, and she had to fly to London to record an "ooh" It is said to be the most costly "ooh" on record.
As well as recording the new album and singing at nights, the Nolan Sisters were asked to attend many charity events in the town and neighbouring areas. Says Anne;
'We've always been happy to take  part in that kind of thing, but for two weeks it was a question of getting up early, singing all day in the recording studio and then going to the theatre to sing more. We were exhausted by the end of the run. The day we finished, we had a little party and had to set off for London, because we had to start recording for Mike Yarwood's TV show on the Sunday.I even had  driving lessons in the town, and took my test there - I'm glad to say I passed.'
Recording for the 1979 series of 'It's Mike Yarwood' was relentless. Each week the girls would record two episodes. With one day for rehearsals and one day for filming. Linda notes,
'When you put the TV on, you see us singing for three minutes and that's it. I think the public think you walk into a studio, put some costumes on, sing the song and leave. When in fact,  it it a lot more difficult. We might not know the song that we are singing, so you have to learn that, and the harmonies that go with it. Then you do the choreography, some of us learned that faster than others. Then you work with the orchestra to get the sound right, and you do it again and again until it's right. When it comes to the filming, you do the song and they have filmed you from one angle, then they want if from another angle. Then you find out that a microphone wasn't working and you do it all again. Recording two three minute songs for TV in two days was wuite hard work.'
The Nolans were used to this gruelling work. After recording, the show would air, the following Saturday the show would be broadcast to the nation. The reason behind this was because Mike Yarwood's act needed to be current as his impressions would often cover events in the news.
The Mke Yarwood show was an ideal springboard to showcase their upcoming single. This time, there would be no delay of several months before the audience saw thier 'New Single'. Yarwood's shows featured 'Spirit Body and Soul' and the upcoming single 'I'm In The Mood For Dancing'. Viewing figures were high and the exposure was vital. The Sisters were invited onto The Shirley Bassey Show and given the chance to sing a song from the recently completed album.
Anne continues;
'Shirley Bassey had a bit of a reputation for being a diva - and we were a bit worried about appearing on her show. In fact, she was absolutely lovely to all of us. We sang 'All The Kinds Horses' from our album, there had been talk of that being a single. It turned out to not be the case. But we were able to wear costumes that we actually wanted to wear. We wore matching boob tubes that we wore for the 'Harry Honolulu' appearace and these really tight trousers with knee high boots. We had new hair styles and hopefully we looked like trency young women. Instead of their Aunties.'
Linda points out;
'In the years before, we were treated like puppets. I don't know if it was our management, or the BBC. But as well as boing told what to wear, we couldn't even have sexy make up. It was always 'No, take some of that make up off, keep it natural' - They wanted us to look virginal and pure. The make up was always light pinks and flesh tones. I'm not saying we were rebels or wanted to look like sluts, but I was twenty and Bernie nearly nineteen. We wouldn't wear those things. We just wanted to look like young, trendy girls.'
The second Epic single to be released, 'Spirit Body And Soul' entered the chart!  The single was released on September 6th and didn't enter the chart for four weeks. Once in the chart, at a lowly number 50, the song sailed out of the chart entirely. Only to bounce back in at number 51 the following week. Radio airplay was given from most regional stations, but Radio One ignored the release entirely. When the song eventually did hit the top forty, the station had option other than to play it during their chart run-down show. Entry into the top forty gave the song the right for 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 single eventually stalled at  number 34. Their appearance on Top of the Pops gave the chance for the audience to see the girls from a different perspective, Maureen recalls;
'We found out after leaving Hanover Grand, that we had actually bought all these horrible constumes, and so we cut them up! They were not the sort of clothes that we actually wore in real life. We loved trendy clothes. For Top of The Pops we wore these gorgeous dresses that were the same design, two were black and two were pink. We had changed our hairstyles a little bit - we hope we looked a bit sexy, in other words we had grown up. We sang the song live, which didn't always go down well in that place. If you were miming you were supposed to have recorded a 'live version' of the song at the BBC studios. So, artistes who had spent weeks making a single would be given two hours in a studio to recreate it. Loads of artists found a way to swap the tape.  For us, it wasn't a problem to just go on stage, have a rehearsal and sing it. But that makes you unpopular with other artists! We didn't care about that, we were just delighted to be on Top Of The Pops.'

Songwriter Robert Puzey comments, "Had Spirit Body and Soul  been released after I'm In The Mood For Dancing  I am convinced it would have had much more of an impact on the charts than it did. It is a great song."  
In an effort to get the Sisters to be seen as a more contemporary act, The Derek Block agency tested the waters with a series of concerts in October. Hitherto, Hanover Grand had booked the Nolan Sisters into cabaret clubs where a simple booking fee was paid. Concets in theatres would require the venue to be pretty full to return a profit as actual ticket sales would be the revenue. Recent appearances on TV should help with sales. The short tour kicked off in Corby, at the Festival Hall. The two week tour played, without a day off at medium sized venues and ticket sales were healthy. The tour visited, The Albert Hall in Nottingham, Congress Theatre Eastbourne, Civic Theatre Elstree, Pricess Theatre Clacton, Forum Theatre Hatfield, Allhambra Theatre Bradford, Davenport Theatre Stockport, New Theatre Southport, Pavilion Theatre Broadstairs. The Gaumont Ipswich, Central Hall Chatham, Gateway Theatre Chester, The Winter Gardens Margate, The final dates was at the Riverdale Hall in Lewisham. More cabaret dates followed, as did promotional appearances for the upcoming release of the Nolan Sisters' debut album on the Epic label. The album was released in late November with a view of cashing in on the pre-Christmas market. Sales were good with shop displays helping push the product. On 7th December Epic released the follow up single; I'm In The Mood For Dancing with high expectations.  The Nolans themselves had no say in the choice of single release and were not fans of the song. The record label had also decided to drop 'Sisters' from the act's name. From now on, they would be known simply as 'The Nolans' Says Anne;
'We were already known as the Nolans anyway, Cliff Richard had called us that on our television debut. But I do think dropping the 'Sisters' was a good move, it took the public's mind away from The Beverley Sisters or the Andrews Sisters. The album cover was also a gorgeous shot of us looking as sexy as we could with trendy clothes on, drinking champagne and so on. Bernie, who sang the song didn't like it at all. I sang the main harmony throughout the whole song. When we came to record the song in the first place, Ben Findon asked us all to sing the lead vocal and then he would choose which voice was most suited to the song, and he chose Bernie. The songs were pretty evenly distributed beween us all on the album, with us all having at least one song where we took lead vocal. but that was to change. Ben Findon would say the same thing - each of you sing it, and I will choose which voice suits the song - it got to the point where we would say - Oh don't bother, you are gonna choose Bernie anyway. It was bound to cause a bit of aggrovation. The rest of us were just doing 'doo waps' as backing vocalists. To be fair, he did start to give the others a chance, but they would all be album tracks and not singles. Bernie never said that she wanted to do the lead vocals either, so it wasn't her fault.'
Radio One, as was expected, did not put the new song on any of their major play lists which led to a less than impressive chart entry on Christmas week at number 73. The biggest shock of all, was that the following week, the song had stalled in the chart and remained in the same position. Bernie commented many years later;
'The song is not an easy sing. There are four key changes in it. Professional singers have said to me many times, that they have sang it and it is so difficult. I just didn't like it. I respect it, and I know that the public love it. I never refused to sing it because I know what it had done for us. I liked really funky stuff like George Benson and Earth wind and Fire, and this song was so far away from what I listened to.'

The Nolans travelled for a concert to the Channel Island of Jersey before relaxing for a few days at home in Ilford at Christmas. On January 1st they were back on the road in cabaret in Chorley when the news came to them that 'Dancing had gone up the charts to number 40 - the album had entered the charts at number 67. A whilwind tour of record shops followed, before the girls rushed to London to record Top Of The Pops. The following week, the song reached number twenty. For the first time, the act had a top twenty chart smash in the singles chart. A week later, they were inside the top ten. Says Maureen;
'We were so thrilled to be in the actual top ten, it was like a whirl wind. The press were wanting to talk to us and TV shows were falling over themselves to have us appear. It turns out that the song was a hit in many European countries too. So the record company would come to us and say 'Oh there's a change of plan girls, it shouldn't affect you too much, you are going to Amsterdam this morning to record a TV show there, don't worry you'll be back for Top Of The Pops. We just went along with it, partly because it was excitng.'
By January 1980 'Dancing' climbed as high as number 3 in the UK charts and number one in 14 countries. It was to be the second time the girls had recorded a promotional video. the promotional video for Harry My Honolulu Lover was not shown on TV and only released in 2023 as part of the Eurovision celebrations when the UK hosted the contest that year.  Coleen was invited to take part in the filming of the new video. She was just 14 at the time. The simple video was shot in a nightclub, with the girls dancing, wearing skin tight trousers and sexy looking tops, more evidence that the act were seeking a younger audience.
The Sisters were also aware that a conflict with the timetable was ahead. They had been booked, at the end of their season in Cleethorpes, for a sixteen week season at the Opera House in Blackpool with Mike Yarwood. Their show would go out six nights a week, leaving little time to promote any new product.
By the time I'm In The Mood For Dancing began to fade from the chart, Epic had already released the follow up single, 'Don't Make Waves'  which is now regarded a firm fan favourite, Don't Make Waves was also  not on the group's radar as a hit. Says Anne;
'I was very proud of I'm In The Mood For Dancing, I think we did a really good job with the vocals, I have never minded singing it at all. I think there was only Bernie who wasn't keen on it. The next song that we released followed the same formula with Ben Findon, we were all asked to sing the lead and he would choose who he thought would sing, and he chose Bernie again. He also had me singing the harmony again for much of the song. I never liked that one I have to say. But I am constantly shocked when we get chatting to our fans and I ask them what was their favourite single and so so many of them say 'Don't Make Waves'.  I have to admit that it does have a very catchy melody. But, no, not a favourite.'

The Nolan Sisters debut Epic album and the single I'm In The Mood For Dancing single had been spectacular success all over the world, nowhere more so than in Japan. Where they had both topped the charts. Japan had two charts, a domestic and an international. It was fairly common for a British artist to top the International chart, and led to the joke 'I'm big in Japan' being used by pop stars in interviews. The Nolans however, had managed to top both charts - the first time that it had happened since Simon and Garfunkel had done so with the song 'Sound Of Silence' in the 1960s. Some of the sales records the Nolans achieved in Japan still stand to this day. The Nolans were booked to start recording their follow up album at the Morgan Studios in London in March. This would take up most of the month. Derek Block had secured a two week booking in Scarborough for the last two weeks in May as a trial for their main Summer Season show in Blackpool that would run from mid June until the 30th September.
Epic Records in Japan were demanding that their British counterpart to send the Sisters to Japan for a promotional visit. Says Linda;
'We could not have forseen that the song would be so popular in Japan. It was also massive here! We were asked to appear everywhere. The record lable wanted the new single out straightaway. We had only recorded the one song, 'Don't Make Waves' so the record company used a song from 'The Nolan Sisters' album as the B Side. It was so much hard work.'
As well as co-starring in the production, some further vocals had to be added for the upcoming album. It would be impossible to get to London to undetake this, and so two, separate week long sessions were booked at the Pluto Recording Studio in Manchester. This would see the Sisters travel to the city every morning, record the vocals and be back in Blackpool for a 5:15pm stage call.
Maureen continues;
'Looking back, it was a really bad decision to agree to do the Summer Season at the Opera House.  But, when it was all agreed, we hadn't had a hit record yet, so our agents would have thought that a sixteen week season, being on the bill bill with Mike Yarwood was a good career move. Obviously there was no way anyone could get us out of that contract. The Opera House is a massive theatre, and from their point of view, they could say 'Come and see top ten chart stars the Nolans - live on stage. It was a really good show. It was packed every night and I think the majority of the crowd were there to see us - we even had a merchandise stall selling our albums! So we just had to sit tight, enjoy the run and wait for October before we could go to Japan.'

Maureen's thoughts were not as easy as first seems. In Spring, Anne had announced she was pregnant. At the time of the rellease of their next single, 'Gotta Pull Myself Together' The Blackpool season still had another month to complete. Anne announced that she was to leave the act after the Summer Season. Her husband, Brian had been transferred to Torquay United, and she intended to retire to be a wife and mother. She would run the fan club from home.  Coleen had made the choice that she would join the act, but she was not 16 until the following March, so her appearances with the group would be limited. Coleen had been a regular at the Opera House, attending most nights. She says;
'I would stand in the wings and practice all the moves, so I knew all the words. I don't know what some of the backstage crew must have thought - probably that I was a bit mad. - One of the show-stopping numbers in their Blackpool set was the Cliff Richard ballad 'Miss You Nights'. They had recorded the track on their latest album. It wad beautifully arranged and always well received by audiences. Anne took lead on the song. Her final night at Blackpool, singing that song was going to be emotional for all of us. As Anne started singing the words she broke down in tears during the instrumental break.'
Anne take us the story;
'I was stood thinking 'My God' I have been singing with my family for nearly two decades and tonight is the last time I am going to sing with them. I had planned to leave show-business altogether and live in Paignton with Brian and the baby. I was stood sobbing, thinking that I had to sing in a few seconds - and then the crowd started clapping and cheering. Coleen had walked onto the stage holding a microphone. She burst into song where I was supposed to sing. I stood back and let her have her moment. The other girls started crying too. When the song finished - the place erupted. People were cheering and crying - and not because we sang badly! They were emotional at a genuine special moment.'

Epic released the next single, 'Gotta Pull Myself Together' which entered the chart on September 13. Before long it had risen into the top ten. The girls had been unable to find time to record a promotional video to accompany 'Don't Make Waves and promotion of the product was sporadic. With only Sundays and Mondays free, the sisters got used to private aircraft laid on to whisk them to other cities for TV appearances.
Bernie said in 2007;
'It was all very hectic. It was not uncommon to wake up early, board a tiny aircraft at Blackpool and be in London within an hour. We would then be sped to a TV studio, and record our appearance as live. We did it a few times. On one occasion they wanted us to do Top Of The Pops and we refused. A phone call from our management came shortly after telling us that we didn't refuse Top Of The Pops, and for te second time in a week - we flew to London. Some of my sisters are not great fliers, even on big jets - these propellor aircraft only had about 8 seats on them, I enjoyed being on them as you can see so much. On the way back to Blackpool on one occasion the engine stopped and the aeroplane turned into a glider. We were very distressed and frightened, but, strangely there was no mass hysteria. The engine spluttered back into life after a minute. We were never happier to be back on Blackpool soil.'

The upcoming single, 'Gotta Pull Myself Together' would be released on 27th Augut 1980. One of the Epic Records team told us:
'There was a pattern that had emerged with Nolans records. We learned early on that Radio One would just not get behind them, to give their songs a chart entry on the first week of release. Instead, we had to rely on local radio stations, who, generally would play them to death! Especially if we arranged for an interview with a local DJ, or better still, if the girls would go into the studio. But sadly, local stations don't make hits. We had learned that TV however, wanted the Nolans on just about every show. They were talented, they would turn up, be pleaseant, could do the job and looked sensational. They didn't give TV crews a hard time either. So, we knew tht they had this bloody season at Blackpool to finish. We banked on releasing the song at the back end of August. That would give us time to do the locals, and maybe get a few TV shows out of the way. By the time it would enter the chart, then they would be free of the Blackpool shows. It didn't go exactly to plan, the single entered the charts two weeks after release. So they were very busy with the summer shows and promoting the single, but it had to be done. We had decided to make a fairly big budget promo for it that had been filmed in the summer. The album advert was done at the same time. We would have gone overseas to film it, but for that bloody season! Instead it was filmed at Blackpool - Not so glamourous.'

Barry Humphreys of CBS gave great insight into the Gotta Pull Myself Together video.
'The Nolan campaign was done for a number of reasons. Partly as a slow process of changing the group's image, partly to guarantee a tie in with the single and album 'Making Waves' which CBS  hoped would chart, and partly because the group were doing a season at Blackpool and wouldn't be available for live shows. The making of the video itself was not easy either. There had to be negotiations between various parties. The budget had to be agreed and there had be an amazingly fast turn-around period.  The rough-cutting of the piece that had to include copy for a TV commercial and the promotional video for the single had to be in the record company's hands within a week. On site there had to be liason between director, Steve Barron, from Limelight, who was finishing filming with the Jam and making a documentary, and John Nash from Shooting Lodge - that was undertaken by David Donaldson from CBS.  In doing the two things the mage is going to be the same. We've done market research that has shown us that the Nolans' audience was slightly older than what we wanted. What we tried to do with the commercial and the promo is to broaden the image. It didn't happen overnight, but if you look at the group from when they first signed to us, you would see that there had been a gradual shift. You see, if you see that there is an older bias in the market and try to do it overnight, you will lose half your audience straight away. The two products were part of an ongoing campaign which we continued at least until they had the same sort of appeal as, say Abba.'

David Donaldson from CBS continues:
'A budget for the whole campaign was agreed to at CBS. I was given the task of sorting a commercial and a promo, so I had to find the best company to do the task. There are things called Production Values which you can't quantify or define, but when you see the commercial you can tell that they are there. Production Value is quality, when you are competing with the audience's attention for 30 seconds in three minutes of a commerical break I believe that it had to be there. We listened to the song, and build up a story based broadly about the song.  We had to find a way of tying in the elements of the song as well as putting over the Nolans' changing group image.  We went to Blackpool, where the girls were already performing, for a 'recce' to find suitable locations.  a story line was arranged. The promotional film is different to the commercial in that it adheres closely to the song. The commercial is designed to sell the group, the promo is designed to sell the song.  The thing I must stress is that people call these promotional films, videos and that was not the case. These promotional films were shot on film, in the same way that movies are. It is only later on that they are transferred onto video. The commerical was shot on 35mm film and the promo was shot of 16mm, mainly for cost reasons. Apart from the film costs you save on crew costs as well. For example you only needed two people on camera instead of four. We did a budget for the promo on 35mm and CBS thought it was too high for the exposure they would get. We put up a budget, in this case it was more complicated because there were two companies sharing some facilities, studio, sets, make up, travel and so on. It was unusual because it was worked out in advance, normally, we had very little time to plan.

Saving costs was another reason for Donaldson and Humphries to do both together, saying that if the promo was done from scratch it would have added between three to four thousand pounds to the budget. Barron had a further meeting with Humphries explaining what he intended to do with the unique opportunity to work round the commerical and to develop the girls' characters as well as the song.  Everything else is left to the day. The directors worked out the locations, timetables, props, equipment and crews. The day of the shoot goes on from seven in the morning until six at night. Organised rushing around is commonplace. Locations for the shooting comprise Stanley Park, The St.Annes sand dunes, and a studio scene back in London. For the commercial, each shot had to be repeated about eight times to achieve the 'right mood' -  respective directors coax various Nolans and crew members to give their best.
Barron says:
'The Nolans were good to work with. Most groups get tired of standing around and being forced to repeat their routine again and again in this quest for perfection for that vital three second cliip that will end up in the commerical. Even the promotional film required them to keep repeating movements, forcing them to smile or frown depending on their supposed mood. The girls didn't even complain with directors trying to solicit more from them. On a cold day in Blackpool , the girls were forced into minute bathing costumes, and run through the sea and still look as if they were glad to be alive. It's not until you see the rushes, the first prints that it has all come to fruition. With the clever use of filters Blackpool becomes the Bahamas. Filters placed in front of the camera lenses persuaded the sea to look a deep blue, while the sand looks a hazy yellow, soaked in mythical sun. The actual shoot saw a tremendous amount of filming and as soon as the shoot was over we had to get the film to London for the edit. We had a problem with finding places for the girls to changed, but that was all. In the past I had major problems with artists who mimed badly and that led to synch problems - but I never had to worry about that with the Nolans.  Both the commercial and the promo finish with the group as a whole. While the commercial has quick shots of individual members finishing with a still frame from the studio dance routine, Barron chose to follow a definite storyline of one Nolan splitting up from her boyfriend, using the theme that the other Sisters are trying to cheer her up, gradulaly succeeding, and briging the group back together.'

Making Waves was released in October 1980. The day after its release the Sisters flew to Japan, giving a press conference within minutes of stepping off the plane. Linda says:
'We could see crowds on the airport roof cheering and I said to Bernie, 'Oh there must be someone famous due here. I had no idea that they were there for us. It was mad. We had been on the plane for thirteen hours and didn't even have a chance to freshen up or change out of our 'comfys'. As we met the CS people in the airport, they said that they had this and that lined up, including this press conference that was happening immediately. Let's just say, that that was the only occasion we went to Japan or anywhere else for that matter, and agreed to that happing.'


The album went top ten in the UK spending almost a full year in the charts, eventually being awarded gold disc status. In Japan, the album was a smash hit. Making Waves has become a firm fan favourite and went on to sell more than five miilion copies. The promotional tour of Japan was a success. The Sisters appeared on most of the prime-time TV shows where they performed the invevitable 'I'm In The Mood For Dancing'. In many cases they were able to show case the new single. The hastily arranged trip could not feature any concerts due to time constraints. Whilst the girls were away, plans were going ahead with the acts' first major headline UK tour. Cabaret venues were avoided in an attempt to give the act a more current image. Anne started her work as the manager of the fan club, saying;
'Believe it or not, the fan club had about 6,000 members, so there was quite a lot of work to do, being a wife and mum was my first job, and it suited me, putting fan club newsletters in evelopes and sending out orders for posters and stuff. Brian was either training or playing football. I was content. My mum would often come down to spend time with us as well. The girls came to do a show in Paignton in November and they asked if I would like to come along. I watched the show and at some point they made an announcement that I was in the audience. I stood up and waved at everyone. Then they called me up on stage as they said they had a surprise for me. I felt so frumpy in my trousers and jumper, stood next to them in their glamourous costumes. They presented me with the gold disc for 'Making Waves' which I was happy to receive. I had drinks after the show, and I felt as though I was out of the mix. It wasn't my Sisters, it was the entourage that went with the tour. I had never experienced that before, it unsettled me a little.'

For the tour,  the sisters rehearsed new numbers and had new costumes made. The show would feature the Nolans new in house band - "Car Park". The follow up single 'Who's Gonna Rock You' was released just prior to the tour. Giving the Nolans ample opportunity to plug the tour on plenty of radio and TV interviews.  Finally, The Nolans hit the road!  Brothers Brian and Tommy Nolan were recruited to run the merchandising operation. On sale were masses of new merchandise - T-shirts, scarves and visors with flashing lights. Of course the inevitable posters, badges and programmes were also sold.


As well as being a smash hit in Japan, Making Waves scored a hit in Australia and New Zealand. This meant that the girls would head there for a brief promotional trip. Not before filming a TV commercial to promote Woolworths' Christmas campaign. Maureen says;
'We had been working flat out for the whole year and had been promised a holiday when we came back from Japan. So, Pete, my partner at the time, and myself booked to go to Hawaii. When we came back from Japan, we had some cabaret shows that had been booked for ages that we had to finish. Then I was told that I had to cancel the holiday, as we were going to Australia. Pete was not impressed, nor was I. Show-business puts such a lot of pressure on relationships. Coleen and Linda had their parters with us as they worked with us. But Bernie and I had to leave ours behind. Reluctantly we changed our holiday dates, but eventually, we were able to finally get a holiday.'

Pickwick Records, a budget label licenced the tracks from the 20 Giant Hits album and sourced a few more tracks. Pickwick release The Nolan Sisters Collection. That album was so successful it was repackaged in two formats named 'The Best Of The Nolan Sisters Vol 1' and 'Vol 2'.  It is interesting to note that several of these Pickwick Albums began to appear in the chart. They were quickly banned by the Chart Company as  they were cut price albums and had an unfair advantage over new release, full price records.

The Nolans were in Manchester, in January,  for their week long engagement at the Golden Garter. This was followed by an intensive round of meetings with Epic to diiscus tracks for the next album. At the end of the month, three days were set aside for the recording of the promotional video for the next single. 'Attention To Me' became the fourth single to be released from the album. At ther time, Bernie said to music industry bible 'Music Week';
'People at home have no idea how much in advance things are arranged for a single. There was a slight remix of Attention To Me that was done for the single, and we recorded the video weeks before it came out. The video was recorded in a studio, so at least we would be in the one place the whole time. But there's so many angles that they film the same shot from and all the time, the directors are saying - 'Can you smile?' and we were saying 'our mouths ache from smiling'. The song is quite comedic and fun, even though it has a sad backstory. The record company keep steering us from being a family act - towards being more pop focused, but we don't want to come accross as contrived. So, from time to time we have to assert that we aren't just a commodity.'

'Attention To Me' was a top ten smash hit. Released in late february, the song entered the charts at number 54 a week later, eventually reaching the top ten in May 1981. In between promoting the single on numerous TV shows from Tiswas to Top Of The Pops the sisters started laying down vocals for the next album. In February, they were able to combine recording in Hilversum in the Netherlands, with appearances on Dutch TV where they performed the last three hits in that nation. London and Manchester studios were also used for vocals. Epic had ensured that they would keep the act clear of concerts for the recording.  To ensure that interest in the act ini Japan did not wane, the sisters took to famous landmarks in London to perform their hits live to Japan. Denise and Dad, Tommy also appeared, and chatted to the presenter while the Sisters prepared for the next number. The girls mimed to the songs, but still performed the dance routines, with microphones to bemused tourists outside places like the Houses of Parliament and Travalgar Square.

Their success in Japan had surprised  everyone - no one more so than the Nolans themselves. Sales of 'Dancing' had rocketed, the song broke all records current. It remains in the top ten selling records of all time in Japan, having sold more than 670,000 copies. Only superstar names such as Mariah Carey and Celine Dion have sold more amongst English language songs.
Relations between the Nolans and the Derek Block Organisation broke down in June with the act giving notice that they wished to leave his management. Sadly, the whole situation would not be resolved without a court case. Block accused Tommy and the Mel Bush Organisation of conspiring to breach their 1978 contract. The family had to agree not to undertake any work without consulting Derek Block until their contract expired.

After filming a thirty minute TV Special for Scottish TV and recording a half hour UK special for ITV; 'Extraordinary Lives'  which saw Maureen, Linda, Bernie and  Coleen' in a studio, chatting about their career to date., the Sisters headed back for a second promotional tour of Japan. Epic Records in Japan had selected the Nolans to take part in the Tokyo Music Festival. The song 'Sexy Music' was chosen and went on  to win the Grand Prix. Their victory in the festival saw them as 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.
Follwing their return to the UK, the Sisters were approached to star in their own TV specials for the BBC. They recorded  two 30 minute TV specials at the New London Theatre for transmission on  BBC TV.  It is of note that the recording was in a theatre directly above the London Room!
the entire family enjoyed a holiday in America before heading straight for Japan for a full concert tour. In total 23 concerts were undertaken in just 25 days, on top of the many press calls, TV interviews and performances. It was fair to say that even with a holiday, they were exhausted. The final vocals had to be laid down for the net album. With a full UK tour commencing in November, the Nolans were involved with six weeks of rehearsals. Epic/CBS decided that the upcoming album would be released earlier than planned. Eleven tracks had been completed and not Epic gave the girls just two days to lay down the final three tracks. Linda recals;
'My husband Brian, who was our Tour Manager, decided to play hard ball. He told them that we were already working flat out, and that if they wanted us to do this, then they would have to do something to make it worth our while. Unbelievably, they agreed to give us £25,000 each if we finished the tracks - we managed it! I was able to use the money for a deposit on my dream home.'

As a pre-taster for the forthcoming album Epic released a new single - 'Chemistry' an up-tempo number backed by a ballad 'Are You Thinking Of Me?' which was one of two songs written by Bernie.  Meanchile, Linda and Coleen recorded a heavy rock track with Lemy from Motorhead. They were joined for the video by Bernie and Maureen. The song was a minor hit, earning them another appearance on Top Of The Pops. Chemistry was not going to be accompanied by a tailor made promotional video. Instead a pre-recorded performance of the song was relased.

The next album, 'Portrait' was released in March 1982. The next single 'Don't Love Me Too Hard' was also released early in 1982. Both were big hits. Early in 1982 the girls completed their second national headline tour, which was a tremendous success. Chemisty used a live performance for its promotional video which did not get shown a great deal. The follow-up Don't Love Me Too Hard however was recorded in a health farm sanctuary. The girls were given a new look with modern clothes and new hair styles. The video even featured Linda's step-son Lloyd as a bell boy.

The third UK tour would take to the road in November, and was a sell out Nationwide. Sales of the album 'Portrait' were very high with chart successes all over the world. The album featured four singles 'Chemistry', 'Don't Love Me Too Hard' 'Crashing  Down' & 'How Do I Survive' the latter being released in Japan only. A  notable fact about the album 'Portrait' is that it was released in Japan as 'Don't Love Me Too Hard'.  Also of note is that the release was one of the first 50 albums ever to be released in CD format anywhere in the world which was a considerable achievement.
The decision to release 'Crashing Down' was perhaps a poor choice. The song failed to make the UK  top 75 which was a severe blow to the Nolans. the single had hovered in the top 100 for several weeks, not quite making the top 75. Recently uncovered charts show that in several areas, the song had made more of a chart impact.
Epic were not happy at the relative failure of Crashing Down, despite heavy TV work in the UK to promote ithe single, ncluding 'The Lena Zavaroni Show' and 'Cheggers Plays Pop'. Following the success of the BBC specials in 1981 they recorded two more for BBC TV for transmission the following year. A tour of Japan in the spring was followed by dates in Hong Kong,  Austrailia, The Phillipines and Korea.

In August 1981 the Sisters were booked for three weeks to appear nightly at the Coluseum Theatre in S.Austel. The family rented accomodation and enjoyed the hot summer days. Anne had visited them and seen their show, her husband Brian was still playing football, but his earnings were not enough to allow them to live without a struggle. At home she watched the TV special and started crying as her Sisters sang a song especially written for their daughter Amy. She told Brian that the answer to their financial woes lay in her returning to the group. Although, that would not be without heartache. The family spent many weeks of the year away from home. It would be a wrench.
Anne called her Sisters - and asked them if she could come back. Maureen had answered the call and said the four in the act would have to agree to her return for it to become a reality. It would also have to be for the long haul - there would be no point coming back for a year. Within an hour the call came back - she was once again a member of the Nolans.

Anne recalls her fears:
'The act had gone from strength to stength since I had left. They'd had five top hits and TV specials. They were a lot bigger than when I was with them. It would be hard to fit in and feel as if I had the right to an opinion. I have always had opinions and it would be difficult as a new member. Even though I had been singing for years with them.'

At the close of the year a greatest  hits album was released perfectly entitled 'Altogether'  along with a new single 'Dragonfly'.  The  whole family reunited to star on Russel Harty's show where all the  family  were able to showcase all their talents. It was Anne's first TV appearance since returning to the act. Amy even came on set in her specially made costume. The tour commenced in 1982 and Amy went on tour too! Looked after, as ever, by her devoted Grandmother, Maureen. 'Dragonfly' failed to make the chart in the UK, although it hovered around the unpublished chart for several weeks. The Nolans had sought new writers and were pushing for an edgier sound.  The tour was a resounding success, and no one could understand why chart entries were eluding them, other than the main radio station avoiding playing their songs.
In 1983 the girls were being pushed to record an album in the United States with a sought after producer. The costs were creeping higher. Those costs were to  fall on the Nolans shoulder and not Epic's. The stand off went on and on until the label and the Nolans management decided to shelve the idea.  Discussions with Epic were frought. The label were under an obligation to allow the Sisters to record enough material for a new album every year. But failing chart entries threw doubt on any new releases. The girls recorded what was to be their final Epic Records single, 'Dressed To Kill' . The record company employed stylists to give the girls a new look. Costumes in black leather and lace came with striking hair styles and strong make up. A stylish dance routine accompanied the song. To everyone's shock Radio One picked up on the song and it received heavy air play. The single was set to enter the charts at number 35 - their highest every chart entry. The singles was released in 7" and 12" formats, making this another first for the act.
Initailly, Epic had not been happy with the sound of the single, inisisting it be remixed. However, the Nolans stood their ground and it was released unchanged. The next move between Epic and The Nolans was to offer a free poster to anyone purchasing the single from certain shops. Today, this would be fairly standard marketing practice. In 1983 it was new territory. Allegations of chart rigging were made by the industry  watchdog "IMRB" who promptly demoted the song to number 95 in the charts, a position from which it could not recover.
This was a crushing blow to the Nolans who were completely innocent. It transpired that the limited edition free poster that was offered to would be purchasers of the single was only available from chart return shops. A few hundred of which, dotted around the country made up the entire UK chart. The location of chart return shops was supposed to be secret, but they were easily identified -  as they had the machine for tallyinig sales on the desk. The Music Research Bureaux used the sales of these few shops to organise the full top 100 singles! Many acts had complained about this system, as it often exclued their music. Usually chart return shops were in dedicated record shops. Stores such as Boots and WH Smith sold hundreds of thousands of albums and these sales would never register in the charts.  One TV show that did invite the girls to perform the song on  was 'Freddie Starr's Showcase'.  The performance was not enough to galvanise the extra support the song needed to re-chart. Just six weeks after its release, Epic dropped the Nolans.

In 1983 it was decided that the Nolans were to forgoe the international  music scene and bring their music home to their British fans. It was claimed that by spending time in Japan they had taken their finger off the pulse and let slip the vital UK market.  They had three singles that hadn't entered the main UK chart and something had to be done. After 50 concert dates in the UK they announced a further full UK concert tour.  

Problems arose within the act of a more personal nature. During a family meeting between the sisters, Anne, Bernie, Maureen and Coleen declared that they wished to remove Linda's husband, Brian from his post as Tour Manager. They claimed he was too over protective, and restrictive. Linda declared that if he was to leave, it would be with her. The others agreed that that would be acceptable. With weeks of touring still to undertake, Bernie urged Linda to stay, stating that it wouldn't be the same without her. But her mind was made up. What followed was uncomfortable for everyone. A tour to complete and two opposing groups not speaking when off stage. Her final show was at the Derngate Theatre in Northampton. The four remaining members of the act contunued their tour in Scotland. At the end of 1983, the act had no record deal and were down by one member.  Linda subsequently went on to detail her sadness in her autobiography. She had been part of the Nolans family act since childhood and sang with her Sisters in The Nolans for nine years. It was a huge blow. She did not speak with her Sisters for more than a year. She was not to sing professionally with the Nolans again until the 2009 reunion tour. Linda secured work at clubs up and down the UK and also appeared at Maggie May's Showbar at Blackpool's Central Pier for a record breaking eight years. The show then transferred to the resort's South Pier for two  further years under the new name - Rosie O'Grady's All Star Music And  Variety Show.


A new Nolans tour was arranged in 1984 with Anne, Maureen, Bernie and Coleen as the line up.  The also agreed to a new recording contract, secured in September 1984. Towerbell Records released the party album 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' in October that year. The album featured 33 hit cover version songs from the past few years in medley form. With one full solo song for each of the Sisters. Bernie stormed with 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart'  Anne delivered a beautiful version of 'In Your Eyes'  Whilst Maureen and Coleen tackled 'Every Breath You Take' and 'Wherever I lay My Hat' respectively. The album was well produced and it received heavy press and TV promotion. the Sisters recorded a TV commercial to accompany the release.
Once again, the recording was swift, with their vocals being completed within a week. Comedy ensued when the Sisters recorded the TV commercial. They were told they would have to have boyfriends for the shoot. When they replied that they did have boyfriends, the producers told the ladies "Yes, but they have to be in Equity" -  the closed shop actor's union. They met their "boyfriends"  on the morning of filming. Embarrasment was confounded when the actor 'boyfriends' had to drop their trousers in front of the Sisters as they danced to their tracks!  'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' entered the charts and earned silver disc status within the first week of its release.  It later earned a gold disc. Earlier on, we mentioned that artists were missing a chart place becuase the chart was not made up of actual sales, but of sales in 'Chart Return Shops'. In the case of 'Girls Just  Wanna  Have Fun'  Its debut week, saw it it enter the chart in thelower reaches of the 50+ end of the chart - it had been awarded a silver disc for sales of more than 25,000 units. Above it in the chart,  with a new entry at number two, was Ultravox - with no special disc status. Thus proving that, in fact, the Nolans should have been in the top five. No one is saying that Ultravox's release did not ultimately sell more copies BUT on their debut week in the chart, the Nolans had sold far more than Ultravox and were languishing in the lower end of  the chart. This is simply because most people who were buying Nolans releases were chosing to buy their albums from shops that had no input with the charts. The same thing was happening to many artists - their  plight was not to be recognised for many years - until digital downloads started to make up a much clearer picture. Going back to  'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' -  Its release enabled the act to go on tour once more with a product to promote. The Christmas time release was also beneficial because of its party theme. The Nolans had great fun making the Album,
It is testomony to their vocal talents, that they can come up with the goods in such short time. A lone single on the Towerbell Label  was also recorded -  'Goodbye Nothin' To Say' was released in  July 1985. The track was available on 7" and 12" formats. The second of only four singles released in duo format (The others being 'Dressed To Kill' and the two rerecordings of I'm In The Mood For Dancing) Anne's version of "In your Eyes' was the B' side. Regrettably this single also had no impact on the charts. It was hampered with  poor promotion from the label and dreadful packaging. The cover just clipped the faces from the "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" album and placed them at a jaunty angle on a yellow sleeve. With singles chart success still eluding them the Nolans needed a reinvention. The group still enjoyed sell out concert tours wherever they appeared. Denise had been enjoying success in her own right with Pantomimes and this was a medium that the other Sisters had ignored. Soon they would join the ranks of Panto debutantes. The family spent Christmas together as usual that year befre embarking on more cabaret dates and a Summer Season. They rounded off 1985 going their separate ways for Pantomime.

1986  saw the girls without a record contract for the first time since 1974.  A life line came by the way of a new record deal. Spartan Records were impressed with the Nolans vocals when they took part  as lead vocalists on the charity single 'You'll Never Walk Alone' which sailed to number one in the charts to help raise money for the victims of the Bradford Football Ground disaster in 1985. The label offered the girls a one album, one single deal. 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' is considered by many, to be the greatest album that the Nolans recorded.  It featured songs from the 1940s and 50s and showcased to how diverse the act had become. Two of the tracks were sung a cappella. The Nolans do have regrets about the album though. They wanted a bigger, more orchestrated sound with higher production values. Budget limits meant that the Album was recorded with just a five piece band rather than an orchestra. They were denied a string section which can really make a song soar. The choice of songs was however,  down to the Nolans. They love all of the  songs on the album, and vocally they can look back on it with pride. Maureen recalls
'We had indicated the songs that we wanted to appear on the album and which version we loved. We had wanted to record the songs in the tempo of the Sinatra version in most cases. We turned up at the studio, a little bit disconcerted because of the time frame we had to record. We were aware that the budget didn't stretch to a full orchestra, but the label had told us that the arrangements were great. When we got inside the studio there were no musicians. We found out that the music had already been recorded. They had done a good job on some of the tracks, but some of them were too slow or too fast for what we wanted. Because they had been done before, they couldn't be changed. That was a disappointment. But overall, the harmonies and arrangement are beautiful - I know that sounds big headed, but they are. I was listening to it recently, and I was impressed.'
Anne continues;
'I listened to the album recently and I was impressed. Most a-capella songs that we have ever sang have me singing the melody. That is because I was able to sing the song without going out of tune. If that happens then the harmonies will sound terrible. Coleen's voice sounded beautiful, I was shocked at how young she sounded. Then again, she was only 21! I wish we had been in a position to insist on a larger orchestra, but we just couldn't get the budget.'

However 'Tenderly' was not a huge commercial success. Despite Michael Parkinson featuring it on his radio programme which largely covered music drom that period.  The album's release coincided with another UK tour, which was a great success. Spartan records have since been accused of failing to promote the album, or the solitary single that was released in tandem, entitled  'Let's Spend The Night Together' which was even denied a release with what was now a minimum standard - a picture cover. It was not released as a 12" either, and no alernative remixes were made. Something many artists were now taking for granted. There was not a single TV appearance on the back of the release. It received virtually no radio airplay and sank without a trace. There is no doubt that in the pre internet days the only way the public could find out if a record was out was by joining a fan club or hearing, and seeing the song on radio and TV. Sparton failed to deliver the girls' new release to the wider market. Something management can also take a share of the blame for.   
The Sisters also helped promote another charity single in 1986 when they took part in the Ferry Aid project for the Zebrugge Disaster. The Sisters recorded vocals for 'Let It Be'. They confessed at the time that they felt nervous in the presence of such musical giants as Paul McCartney and Elton John, but they enjoyed the day. In 1987 they appeared on BBC TV's 'Celebrating St.Patrick's Day' which was transmitted from Belfast featuring a host of Irish names.  They sang a new song called 'Behave Yourself' which was written by rock singer Jacko. He had penned two tracks for the Sisters, the other being 'Don't Blame Me'  Both became a staple feature of their live shows for many years. Coleen sang lead on 'Behave Yourself' The song was popular and was being considered as a possible single release, but to some people the song was not chart worthy and could not secure a release.

On the professional side of their lives, there would be no new recordings from the Nolans until 1989. Several budget priced albums were released with the same tracks shuffled about and the covers repackaged. Scoop Records released a 6 track EP, as did Epic. Pickwick records had by now obtained licences to release earlier Epic Records material and compilations including 'I'm In The Mood For Dancing', 'Love Songs' and a cassette only double tape release 'The Best Of' all hit the shelves in record shops. The group continued to tour successfully none stop and appeared in smash hit Summer Season  Shows and Pantomimes.
In mid 1986, the UK Government  secured a deal with the Soviet Union for a a culteral exchange. The Soviets would send the Bolshoi Ballet to tour the UK, and in return asked for a suitable UK act to tour the USSR. The British Government needed an act with a good reputation, and more importantly, one that did not hold widely known anti Communist views. The needed to ensure that the selected act would not cause embarrasment overseas. The Nolans were asked to take part. Anne says;
'We were invited to Downing Street after the deal had been agreed and we met Mrs. Thatcher. She was lovely to us and very complimentary about our music. We had tea with her and the Civil Servants explained what we were to expect. It was o ne of those moments in your life where you start thinking - hold on a minute, I am a girl from a council house and I here I am sat chatting with the Prime Minister and being treated like we are so important. It was surreal'.
The Sisters flew to Moscow, with their band  and Brother Brian, who would be the support act and Tour Manager. There was a small entourage of road, and backstage crew. At Moscow they were met by their 'Guide' and translator. The guide was widely believed to be a KGB officer and the party were not given freedom to roam.
Altogether 40 Arena Venue dates were lined up. They were to play at huge venues in Soviet states that are now known as Estonia, Russia, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine
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 before midnight a Soviet KGB Officer 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." Finding 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 aopened the show -  singing two songs. Soviet audiences were treated to smash hits, and Andrews Sisters medley, and excerpts from their Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' Album - including the show stopping 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart.' In the UK, the Nolans encouraged fans to, as Bernie would say, 'Clap your hands, rattle your teeth, and dance'. The Soviet crowds were not used to such open displays of joviality and politely clapped at the end of each number. When one watches a video of the concerts, one can see the change in the audience mood from about fifteen minutes into the concert. The audience is quickly won over and begin to cheer in appreciation. By the time theu reached their finale; 'Somewhere' the audience were on their feet. When asked about their tour upon returning home, Anne said 'That is was an 'experience' but one that she wasn't keen to try again.'

1987 brought the Sisters to their home town of Blackpool for a Summer Season  at the town's recently re-opened Grand Theatre. From now on it would become a regular pattern that the Sisters would appear in Summer Shows, then go straight on to Panto. A holiday would then come. The early part of the following would see them tour with a comedy act or male singer. 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. So named after his Father Shane Richie. Bernie however still had music ambitions. She didn't have children and she knew that any persuit of these dreams would mean a split with the act.  Any doubts that Bernie had about her sisters not being as driven were confirmed when her Sisters stated in an interview that their Children had the main role in their lives, and that they did not like the thought of being away from their children for long periods. Even the lure of a trip to Japan had not coaxed them away from their kids. The group had not been to the far east since 1983 and a one off tour was shelved as it meant being away for six weeks. Summer season shows suited the other three Sisters as they could live in one location. Anne's daughter Amy was now at school, so it made perfect sense during the Summer holidays to have regular work where she could be close to her.
Many nights, when the act had one night bookings, Anne would drive home through the night to be with her daughter when she woke up. That was even more the case when she gave birth to her second daughter, Alexandra in October 1987. That year saw a long Summer season at Blackpool's Opera House which they starred with Cannon and Ball from July to October. They were also able to film a one off TV comedy show Filthy Rich And Catflap along with long time Nolans fan Rik Mayal. The late Spring of 1987 brought a major TV advertisement booking. The Nolans starred in the TV ad for Brother's range of knitting machines. This was extended to a brochure promotion showing the ladies in knitted garments. 1988 saw the Nolans appear in Summer Season once more, this time at Bournemouth. A tour followed and all but Coleen appeared in Pantomime. In addition, the girls were still enjoying regular TV work.
The music industry was changing. Girl groups such as Bananarama had enjoyed a huge run of hits that had started to dry up. They became one of the first established act to employ the services of a trio of hitherto unknown record producers. Pete Waterman, Mike Stock and Matt Aitken worked at Pete Waterman Ltd (PWL). When Bananarama joined PWL they enjoyed their most successful period ever. Smash hits included 'Venus' and 'Love In The First Degree' with 'Venus' hitting the number one spot in  America. PWL became known as the 'hit factory'. Often writing songs within 30 minutes and recording them immediately. Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue, Hazell Dean, Sinitta, Sonia and Jason Donovan to name a few were enjoying monster hits under their banner. Even seasoned artists who's chart careers had stalled including Donna Summer were high in the charts again. The girls' management enquired about getting them in  PWL's studios to record new material. Bernie was less than entusiastic  but agreed it was good way of raising their chart profile once more.  PWL were booked solid for at least two years and despite having two studios, they could not fit the Nolans in. Pete Waterman said of 'I'm In the Mood For Dancing' - "I hated it, the audience loved it. They wanted  it playing three times a night when I was DJ'ing. ME, I couldn't stand  it. I would put the headphones on and cue something else up while it was on." He was interested in working with the Nolans but it would not be  for the foreseeable future. Costs had also risen to use their studios and so an alternative had to be found. They managed to source and use the services of Barry Upton. Who had a chart career of his own and had acted briefly as a member of the Brotherhood of Man. Upton was now working as a full time producer and would later find success with Steps and a Sonia. He agreed to re record 'Dancing' with the act and to produce it in a similar style to PWL. The ladies went into the studio once more in Summer 1989 and recorded 'I'm In The Mood For Dancin' 89' This was indeed given the Stock Aitken Waterman treatment with a throbbing disco beat. The song was released in  7", 12" and CD format.  Bernie, once again took lead vocals. Coleen provided lead vocals on the reverse track, the brand new '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. It has been suggested that releasing the B Side might have led to better sales as the original song was so admired it could not be improved upon. They were able to promote the song on ITV's This Morning and they flew to Ireland to undertake both TV work for the single and to appear in concert dates. The group appeared in TV a special for RTE television which was transmitted live. In more recent years the single has been credited as a chart hit,  registering a depressing number 99 placing where it stayed for one week. Family spirits plummeted at the fate of the song. But a new opening was just around the corner.
Ben Findon commented to Upton about the release on social media - claiming that the girls were the only group he knew of who would refuse a 'Top Of The Pops' appearance and the chance to tour the USA with Michael Jackson. To which the Nolans responded with Maureen saying;
'No way! There is no way that we would have ever turned that down. I have never heard of this until recently. If such a thing happened, it would be our management or the record company itself. You say that he was on the same label as us? Well that makes it seem like it was management. We have always loved Michael Jackson, and America, it would have been a dream come true. The only thing I can imagine that would have stopped that happening, would be that someone might have said - they are hit recording artists in their own right, they aren't a support act - which is fair enough, but the idea was never ever run past us. We never ever refused to do a TOTP either, unless we were out of the country working.'.
1989 also brought them home to Blackpool for a Summer Season at the Grand Theatre with The Grumbleweeds and Brian Conley. Their popular album '20 Giant Hits' was released in the UK on CD this year, their first CD available to the UK market. Most of the family had sold their homes and moved back to Blackpool by now.

In 1990 they appeared on Channel 4's new nightly TV chat show Jonathan Ross Tonight - shocking audiences by singing the song 'Panic' originally made by the anti establishment indie band; The Smiths. Their tongue in cheek version did prompt Smiths' fans to write to them to say they were impresed at the Nolans' version. The Smiths' mournful lead singer, Morrissey is yet to comment!  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.

For the 1990s Summer season work and Pantomime became the mainstay of the Sisters work. They had started to undertake bookings in gay nightclubs,  using backing tracks. None of the Sisters liked doing this. They all prefer live musicians. Bernie in particular hated the medium. Seasons were undertaken in towns such as Blackpool, Skegness, Great Yarmouth and  Bournemouth. Although the act had no product to promote, they proved to be a box office draw and there was no shortage of work.
In early 1990 the Nolans were approached by Universal Panasonic in Japan, with a view to releasing several albums for the vast Japanese market. As usual, recording was to be done quickly. They were able to lay the vocals down at a local recording studio in Blackpool for the first album. The producers in Japan had already sent the recorded music files to the local studio.  The songs had to be translated with English lyrics. Some of them not resembling the actual translations at all. Des Dyer, who had been the lead singer of 1970s pop group; Jigsaw, completed the task along with Mike Myers, Ray Hedges and Clive Scott who between them produced the vocal part of the project.  The albums; 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 were released  between 1991 and late 1992. Some of them were released within a week of each other. 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. After the first of the albums became an instant hit in Japan, it was arranged that some of the later tracks would be recorded in Japan where they could spend a little more time and get more involved with the process. Most of the songs would not sit well with a UK audience, even with an altered English translation. The Japanese however, loved them. One album received 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. With the first albums being hits, they were invited back to Japan for a full concert tour. 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". Whilst on tour they were invited to appear on many major TV shows. Japanese TV had, like the UK, changed. Orchestras were not always available and in many cases the Sisters used backing tracks. One particular show had erotic dancers around them. The Sisters refused to take part in what had been planned, and only after heated arguments were they allowed to sing their song as just the group.  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 had the licences for, and so a further UK release of 20 Giant Hits was released.  Once again, Royalties were not due to the artists.
Coleen gave birth to her second son, Jake in 1992. She continued to work for most of the time. The Summer Season that year was in Bournemouth with Joe Longthorne.  In addition to the new Japanese releases several  Greatest Hits were also released featuring newly recorded versions of their hits, in some cases, demo versions of the songs surfaced. The artist had no control over their release. The Universal Panasonic arrangement that The Nolans had secured had promised them a UK record release in the form of a brand new album.  Mike Myers, and Ray Hedges had produced many of the Japanese albums and the Nolans wanted to use them for their proposed new UK album. The album was destined to have several new songs and some covers.  The Nolans went into the studio and recorded, as Bernie said at the time  "Masses of songs, loads of new stuff and a some covers, it really means a lot to us." Maureen had stated "We have recorded some a capella tracks too for the album"  At this stage the idea was to record more than was needed and then to select tracks that would go on a final version the album. A small, independent label had agreed to release the album which featured songs such as a dance version of the Bryan Adams'  smash hit 'Run To You'. 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 song written by Hazell Dean called '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 new dance numbers What's Your Intention?' and a drum and bass song 'Could This Be'. the record company were considering releasing some of the tracks under a psudonym. One track, 'Somebody Loves You' was played anonymously in London clubs and had been well received. 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 were counter productive. Recording for the album was completed in 1992. Sadly the label failed to deliver on its promise, and remained unreleased. The Nolans were devastated. Their management decided to try and find another label to release the product.
1980's GALLERY
1983-1993 When Coleen Left The Act

Coleen had decided to leave the act at the end of 1993 whilst the recorded album was still on hold.  Her departure was not given any official statement. The fan club members were notified, but the story wasn't commented on by the press. By the time the 1994 Summer Season production at Blackpool's Grand Theatre had their promotional material printed, Coleen had been air brushed out of the pictures. That show featured an all star line up with The Nolans, The Grumbleweeds, Duncan Norvelle and Dooby Duck. The show ran from May to November, twice nightly and remains the most successful Summer Season show at the venue's history. That Year marked the 100th  anniversary of the theatre and Queen Elizabeth attended a matinee performance.
The already recorded album had still not been given a release and by early 1994, a new label had been found to release it. The label's officials wanted them to release a new single to see if there was enough interest in the act to follow up with the album. The record company had the whole batch of new recordings available to chose from.  They chose to ignore all but one. The Sisters tried without success to push the label into releasing a new song. They felt the hitherto unreleased tracks could have benefitted from newer remixes. Bernie had favoured 'Run To You' which although a cover, had proved popular with the club goers in the trials the previous year. This, or one of the new tracks could have been a modern, come-back single. Coleen had agreed to come out of retirement to promote any new release
The record company chose instead to take the Nolans back into the studio, where they re-recorded  I'm In The Mood For Dancing - Altogether four versions were recorded. The white label record was sent to clubs, whose feedback would determine which version would be released as the single. The triumphant  version that was released was the one that had a similar sound to a recent chart smash Saturday Night by Danish singer Whigfield.  Comparisions were made with Whigfield's and The Nolans release. Music journalists were quick to point out that both songs had a recognisable, annoying 'duck quack!' Reviews were not positive. Anne said;
"We tried so hard to get them to listen to the other stuff that we had recorded and they just weren't interested. The B side of the song was recorded for the Japanese albums. It wasn't even one of the songs that we had recorded for the new UK album. In these cases you know you are right, but the management overrule what you say and you just go along with it and hope that they were right and you were wrong. Loads of people love In The Mood For Dancing - I do, but they loved the original song, they didn't want it changing."
The record managed a appearance at the lower end of the charts the week after its  release in April 1995. It entered at number 54 and climbed to it's peak at 51 before leaving the chart entirely the following week. The webmaster of this site spoke recently to a former Radio One DJ who is a long time Nolans fan he said "I was sent the white label of this by Tony Clayman and I thought 'I'll give it a go' There were three or four mixes to the song. One was bang up to date with the current club sound, another was slightly dated and then there was a really bad Whigfield sounding version. I was asked what I thought and told them that they had to release the club version. I am sure I was not alone in thinking it was the better choice. Imagine my disappointment when I was sent the promo single and they had gone for the Whigfieldesque version. I love the Nolans, I really do, they are such pro's. They must have been really cheesed off with this outcome." The Nolans promoted the single, performing it on TV on shows such as  Live From The Lilydome and Channel 4's Big Breakfast.  In view of the poor performance of the single the record company then shelved the new album project entirely.  Later on, the licences to the tracks were then sold to independent labels and the tracks surfaced as tracks on cut price CD's carrying the misnomers Best Of The Nolans and Disco Party Classics. The Nolans had no imput in these releases. They were not even told of their existance. Despite the failure to release the album, the Nolans were not idle.
The Nolans had stopped with headline tours - without a new product to promote, audiences might have stayed away. Instead the Nolans joined forces with Connon and Ball and went on the road with a shared bill. They had a major Summer Season that year to undertake and Pantomimes around the country.
Meanwhile Linda had enjoyed success with a concert tour with Gene Pitney and in musical theatre, starring in the touring production of Prisoner Cell Block H. Her early solo career had got off to a flying start. She became a regular on tV quiz shows and made several TV appearances. She was even given her own TV special 'Linda Nolan and Friends'. She enjoyed work overseas and became a firm favourite on the cabaret circuit, winning the award of 'Best Cabaret Artiste'. Her own efforts in pantomime and Summer shows were well received. At this time Linda starred with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer for six weeks in the stage spin off of their TV show Shooting Stars.  She also appeared on the Saturday evening TV show Night Fever. She toured the UK with Bobby Crush in Back To Bacharach and appeared with Rose Marie in the musical Pump Boys And Dinettes.

After promoting the Nolans single, Coleen went back into retirement. Her husband, Shane Richie was now a major TV star and his success provided financial security so she could stay at home as a full time Mum. She was the least ambitious singer in the group and had not always enjoyed show business. She took a part time job in a health food shop and settled into domestic life. The job was more of a time filler, than a need for cash. She was living in Denham, Buckinghamshire and all her family were away or working.  The Nolans were now singing as a trio full time. With the New line up consisting of Bernie, Anne and Maureen.


At the end of the 1994 Summer Season show at the Blackpool Grand, Bernie announced that she would be leaving the act. The newspapers headlined the story as 'Then There Were Two' Bernie had been unhappy for some time, saying;
'I have had the best time singing with my Sisters for twenty years, I had seen the world by the time I was twenty and shared the stage with some of my idols. The problem is that I love live music - these days more and more shows are relying on tapes, and no matter how good the tapes are, they just don't come close to live players. I fancy trying some rockier stuff, maybe even as a backing singer, I kind of got fed up with production numbers. I love singing harmony, I think that is what has kept me in the group so long.  There's a shortage of venues as well, I am not saying I am right, but the holiday camp thing and bingo hall isn't for me. I found them depressing, often their sound systems are inadequate. We played a few gay clubs, and although the audiences were fabulous, we were not going on stage sometimes until 2am. We used to complain in cabaret at going on at midnight! I need to have a go, maybe I've left it too late and I won't find any work and I will be back in a years time banging on my Sister's doors screaming - take me back!'
Anne and Maureen were now both parents and were not seeking such a heavy workload that recording and promoting would entail. After Bernie left the act, Anne and Maureen decided to carry on. Stating that they had a Summer Season lined up for the following year and a string of dates scheduled. As a duo, they knew that they could not command the fees that the full act could. It would not be financially viable to emply a band of four members for the duo and so the two Sisters had new backing tracks made - that featured Bernie on backing vocals! The new tapes were of excellent quality, recorded with real instruments and not computer technology. To give the impression to the audience of a full complement of Nolans, two backing dancers were recruited.

Bernie's solo career was always going to be a risk. She had appeared on TV on her own in 1982 a a guest presenter on Cheggers Plays Pop in 1982 and as a regular presenter on two series of BBC's Saturday children's TV Show On The Waterfront in 1988. In 1992 she played the lead in Liverpool with a short run of The Devil Rides Out a Colin McCourt musical based on the Dennis Wheatley novel. None of these jobs affected her membership of the group, so her solo launch filled her with trepidation saying some time afterwards.
'Of course it was never going to be easy. There's absolutely thousands of great solo female artists. Most of which go undiscovered. I had the safety of the group, so if was always risky. I went with an agent I knew and the phone didn't ring. So I got in touch and he said - they don't want a Nolan - I was really upset. It didn't have anything to do with my voice, or my reputation. I think in some cases it was my age - I was thirty four when I left the act, not really a pensioner! Sometimes there was a bit of curiosity because of my name and they would give me an audition, which I know went really well. But for a long time, I didn't work. When I did get offers of gigs, it was to work in holiday camps - the very work that I didn't want to do. I perhaps should have left the group years before I did. Salvation came in 1995 when I was offered a role in a new production of Billy Liar, alongside Jason Donovan - I was so thrilled. But it later transpired that he had a problem with drugs in his personal life and the show was pulled. I was devastated. Luckily it was Bill Kenwright who was putting the show together, and when something else came along, I was remembered. I decided to go right back to basics and joined quite a few semi professional productions. The Sound of Music and Godspell were a couple. The money wasn't great, but I was getting valuable stage-craft experience. For that, I was grateful. It took a long time before I really made a name for myself.'

In 1997 Bernie was chosen by Blackpool based impresario Lorraine Colclough to front a series of late night cabaret shows at the town's Stakis Hotel. Three different themed shows, would play on alternate nights over six nights. The music would be provided by Bernie's husband, Steve, and his band. Contracts were signed to start the shows in June. Bernie's next audition saw her get a part in a major new musical - Oh What A Night - a celebration of 1970s disco tunes. Bernie could not turn down the high profile role. The World premiere of Oh What A Night would be at Blackpool's Opera House, one of the largest theatres in the UK with more than 3000 seats. The show would run at the venue for the Summer before going on a major tour. Bernie would sing one song on stage in the second half of the production, before joining the cast for the finale. What wasn't known by the audience was that Bernie was in the wings, providing vocal backing on the vast majority of the show's 36 numbers. Bernie was contractually obliged to fulfil the less prestigious production at the Stakis and decided she would do both shows.
As soon as the curtains came down at the Opera House she had to dash across the town by taxi  to appear in her own late night cabaret.

Bill Kenwright saw Bernie audition for a part in what has now become Nolan history - Blood Brothers. Her portrayal of Mrs. Johnstone blew critics minds. She was praised as having a 'voice that can cut glass' by one. The production premiered in 1984 and is still going strong thirty nine years later. After touring for some time, Bernie took the role into the Pheonix Theatre in London's West End, while the regular cast took a holiday. After this, she headed to Liverpool with the show for the Christmas period. It was at this stage that she was spotted by casting staff working on Channel Four's flag ship soap, Brookside.  These people rushed back to Channel Four and 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. Bernie said;
'Blood Brothers was fabulous, it gave me a chance to show I could act and use diefferent accents. I didn't think it was a hard sing, but I loved all the singing in the show. I also felt more at home on a proper theatre stage. Everything was right, the lights, the sound and we had a live orchestra! Someone was in charge of wardrobe and we had a proper crew. It was worth waiting for this kind of gig, rather than goinng round the clubs. When I first left the act, I did a month at a Working Men's Club in Blackpool, The Layton Institute. It's a great club, with about 1500 seats. There's good sound and lighting, but to be honest, I was more nervous playing there than doing a scouse accent in Liverpool, at the Empire Theatre. It's not about money always, its about your craft, and I am passionate about my work.'

Kenwright chose to enlarge the Nolan brand on Blood Brothers when Linda successfully auditioned for the same role in the touring production. This was to take place when Bernie went into the West End permanently, taking over from Lyn Paul. Now, with Bernie relieved of the responsibility, she was asked if anyone else in the family might be interested. Bernie recommended Denise. Denise rushed a CD to Bill Kenwright, who asked her to come and audition immediately. She too landed the role. With only a week for rehearsal Denise became the first Nolan Sister to take a full time lead in the West End Production. Maureen would go on to join the show several years later. This would lead to Guinness awarding them a World Record for "The most siblings starring in the same role in a professional production". Sadly, they mistakenly placed the wrong Sisters in the wrong venues at the wrong time. They later corrected the mistake. Denise was not entirely happy starring in the West End.  The audiences were largely visitors from overseas and she felt that they were not totally 'getting' the gritty, Northern story. After nine months, her and Linda swapped places. Linda preferred the West End as she enjoyed city life. Denise was much happier on tour. She loved being able to see the country. She is an avid sightseer and loves the countryside. To be able to spend a week or two in a new town, before heading to another was heaven to her. Most of the days were free so she was able to explore museums,  historical sites and beautiful towns in the UK. She stayed in the job  for the next four years.

For the Nolans meanwhile, 1998 and 1999 saw them tour the UK and Japan. The two backing dancers were dropped when Anne and Maureen decided that their act was dynamic enough as a duo. Says Anne;
'Naturally, we were nervous going out as the two of us. But we worked hard to put an act together. We had good choreography and included new songs to our act. We were doing medleys by Gloria Estefan and a Girls Night medley. We had a fabulous shows medley that lasted about 12 minutes on its own. Show-business was changing very fast. The long running Summer seasons were quickly becomming a thing of the past. One year, I think maybe 1997, we toured the country with Cannon and Ball as a duo, then for Summer we did a tour of holiday resorts and played one  or two nights in each. It was a circle, so we did, Great Yarmouth, Eastbourne, Skegness, Llandudno and Ayr, I think it was. We were covering hundred of miles a week. It was great in one way, because we were having a laugh on the road with our friends. But it was like waking up in a different town and saying - Where are we? Oh, it's Tursday we must be Skegness. we did that loop for about twelve weeks,  It was exhausting.
Anne's eldest Daughter, naturally began to show an interest in a musical career. Amy, and her friend Julia Duckworth had been singing in local groups as teenagers and had even appeared on ITV's This Morning with another school friend. The show's host identified her immediately and saw her potential. Amy and Julia decided to join the group in 1999, encouraged by Anne and Maureen. Once again, The Nolans were a four piece. The group introduced Julia as a cousin. It was not a malcious attempt to defraud the public. It just helped audiences feel that they were watching the family act. In fact Julia was almost family as she and Amy had been friends since infant school and she was very close to the family. They toured the country and were thrilled when they found that they had landed a lengthy Summer Season contract for 2000 at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool working with Billy Pearce and John Inman. In the run up to the show 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. The show was scheduled to start in July. Anne proved her show business trooper status as she was determined to work through her treatment. Following lumpectomy surgery Anne had to undergo extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she 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 its fullest -  Coleen came out of retirement to take Anne's place, which she agreed to do unpaid. It was a typical gesture of the family. Brian Hudson, Linda's husband had said many years previously that there was a Nolan wall that surrounded itself when times were difficult. Although Anne found it a strain to complete the run, she did so and enjoyed a rest after the show ended.

The Late Nineties
After two years in Brookside Bernie decided to leave the soap. She had enjoyed her tme on the show, but was upset in 2002 when she was prevented from taking part in a major show that could have brought her even more success. An airline pilot and amateur songwriter called Martyn Baylay had written the song Come Back. He says
"I had always tried to deliberately write a song for the Contest, I would try anything to get in, I studied form so to speak and tried to create the  perfect contest song. None of this was successful, so when I thought I don't care about formula any more, I sent in 'Come Back' and it won A Song For Europe 2002.  The demo of the song was submitted to the BBC to consider for A Song For Europe featured  Bernie singing lead vocal. The song made the final eight and Bernie was very much on board. She was told that the show was  in Tallinn, Estonia that year and that, if successful at Song For Europe Bernie would have to go to Estonia for up to two weeks prior to the contest final for rehearsals and press conferences. She would need to make a promotional video and be on hand for UK TV promotion and possibly European appearences.  She asked the programme to temporarily release her to persue this once in a lifetime opportunity. Channel 4 and Phil Redman's production company would not give her the time off as she was a show regular and her presence was needed. Bernie was under contract and it could not be broken. Bernie felt a mixture of hurt, upset and anger at the missed chance. She carried on working on the show and the songwriting  team chose Pop Idol entrant Jessica Garlick to to sing at the Song For  Europe Contest.  In any event. Garlick DID win the Song For Europe. She went to Tallinn and came a very respectable joint third place. Bernie's own version of the song was never released. The webmaster of this site has heard it and says;
'It is incredible - Bernie's voice  was magnificant. I am sure that if it was her representing the UK at Eurovision she would have won. I say that because Bernie had such a  stage presence. She was a fantastic live singer and was instantly likeable to a TV audience. That, and the fact that she was an established name already and had enjoyed success in most parts of Europe. I am utterly convinced that she would have won. Jessica was a lovely singer but, in my opinion, she came across as nervous and  looked far too nervous."  
Bernie was naturally devastated, so when a better paid role was offered, the wrench from Brookside was easier. Unbeknown to anyone, Bernie had successfully auditioned for a role in ITV 1's The Bill. There is no doubt that that Brookside's unwillingness to yield to her Eurovision aspiration played a part in her decision to leave. She joined The Bill with great fanfare in the press and was an instant success with viewers and critics. She would stay with the show for a further 3 years.
Now as a four piece, Anne, Maureen, Amy and Julia, The Nolans, toured the UK and overseas, including The Netherlands and Dubai. In late 2001 Anne and Maureen  were asked to take part in a new production called Reelin and a Rockin The production was an ensemble of well known hit-makers from the 1960s. Stars such as Gerry Marsden from the Pacemakers, Dave Berry, Brian Poole, Dave Dee and many others would make up the cast. The Nolans would be on hand throughout the show, providing backing vocals for all the artists, and would also have a solo spot, during which they performed a Dusty Springfield medley. The show was a runaway success, filling theatres up and down the country. The Nolans stayed with the show for 3 years including two tours of  Australia, a visit to Hong Kong and appearing on board the QE2. The show was ultimately given a Summer Season at Blackpool.
That tour was spupplimented with appearances up and down the county with the four piece Nolans appearing at gay clubs across the UK. Maureen says;
'They were the best audiences ever. They knew every word and, a lot of the time, the dance routines. When we first did one we actually got ready in the cellar amongst the beer barrells. I was sat on a barrell saying - they are going to hate us - I really was that nervous. But the second we went on stage the crowd went wild. They wanted to shake our hands and didn't want us to leave the stage. There's no question that the gays have followed us since day one. You don't take that for granted. We have the best fans in the world. Following us all over the place for almost fifty years. The gays were kind and funny and always respectful. As we left the venues they were always offering to carry our stuff. We love the gays!'

As a four piece The Nolans  were invited to go on a nighclub tour which was not as much fun. Brannigans, a chain of UK clubs employed the girls extensively. They were to appear close to midnight and perform for an hour. Whiilst the audiences did enjoy the hits and covers of seventies anthems they were not the most attentive. Audiences would talk, dance and shout to girls, fuelled by drink. Sucurity guards stood at the stage to prevent any unwanted intrusion and the girls endured sexist shouts from men in the crowd. Sadly, dressing rooms were not of a high standard. In some of these venues disabled toilets were all that were offered. These couldn't be locked from the outside which meant door staff had to stand outside. The toilet was often the entry point to stage. Anne and Maureen particularly didn't enjoy the experience.
'These were  not like the gay venues at all. We loved them! Amy and Julia are gorgeous to look at, and young men would be ogling them while we were singing. They would shout - get your t*ts out - which is vile. Some of the young girls would stand there, arms folded, glaring at Amy and Julia. Jealouus perhaps that their boyfirneds were looking them. Some of the girls would say cruel things as well, during chats in between songs. There is only one reason we did those shows - money! Perfoming the slower, gentle songs were interrupted with loud talk and even a fight. Those numbers were later dropped, to keep the tempo of the show more upbeat.'
It is fair to say that the Nolans were happy when the tour finished.
A happier experience came when the act was asked to tour with Little and Large with a National Tour of 'A Night At The Music Hall'. The old style variety show played to an older, more serene audience in regular theatres. Each Nolan with the exception of Coleen continued to star in Pantomime. Coleen tried the experience three times in her career, once in a small production at Telford, once at Liverpool and most recently in a full scale production at Bradford with Billy Pearce.
By 2004 the Sisters were not happy with the work that was coming in. It often involved very late night  performing. The loop of Summer Seasons tours was gruelling too. Financial insecurity meant that for now, they would have to carry on. In 2004 Anne was offered a part in touring variety show alongside Bobby Davro. It would not include Maureen, who began to panic that she would be without an income, Anne reassured her that the income was the act's income and not only hers.
The tour Anne was offered paid good money and the theatres were also of a high standard. She jumped at the chance. Posters adorned the theatres and the shows started off as a triumph. The cast were shocked to find that the show's producer had fled leaving the cast without a salary after three shows. It also came to light that the producer had not been truthful to theatre managers and the whole project collapsed.  Whilst Anne was working away Maureen auditioned for theatre roles herself. She was offered a part and 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 which enabled her to audition for the part of Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers. She was so nervous that she didn't tell anyone what she was doing. To her astonishment she got the job. 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 of Mum's The Word with a whole new cast!  While Maureen was away working on the show, should any Reelin' and 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. Maureen was unable to carry out  her Panto duties as she was now firmly in place in the West End  starring in Blood Brothers. 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. Linda, meanwhile was busy with Blood Brothers as was Denise who was touring the UK with the same show. She abruptly left the show in 2004 and announced she was to tour once again with her The Magic Of Judy Garland show. Whilst Denise was on tour with Blood Brothers she was nominated for an award for her portrayal of Mrs. Johnstone such was her stature in the role she had come to call her own.  When Denise left the show Linda was immediately pulled from the West End to take over the touring role once more.


In 2005 Bernie recorded and relased her debut solo album 'All By Myself'. 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 with Royalties goinig to her nominated chaity - SANDS the Stillborn and Neonatal Death Syndrome. Bernie had lost a baby to the disease, and had been a vocal campaigner for research and information. She knew in advance that the baby was suffering with a condition called Edward's Syndrome. The baby was, as Bernie said; "Born asleep". Bernie and Steve had named her Kate. Later that year Bernie 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! 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 sharing top billing with Debra Stephenson from TV's Coronation Street. There was little spark between the two, but the show was a success.
Linda continued to tour in Blood Brothers. In 2005 she became the second sister to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Following a mastectomy and gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Linda shocked the country by returning to the show after only 14 weeks absence. Later that year CBS Records released the album 'The Singles Collection' and a '25th Anniversary box set'  that featured all The Nolans CBS albums and tracks never released on CD before. Both of these massive hit albums were only on general in Japan. However, by now, the public had access to the online stores and UK purchase was easy.  Universal Panasonic wanted a new version of the Japanese only album 'Playback Part 2'. Anne and Maureen went back into the studio to add new vocals to the existing tracks and they were then subsequently remixed. The newly released album, now called 'The Nolans sing Momoe 2005' went to number 1 in the download charts, firmly cementing their stronghold on Japan.
Bernie's 2006 Panto saw her star 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 forces 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.
Maureen left Blood Brothers in 2007 to tour in a production called Stardust with male vocalist Mike Holoway. a show that did not meet her expectations. She joined him in Panto at Durham that year where she starred as Fairy Crystal in Sleeping Beauty. Summer that year saw her touring with the UK National Tour of Girls Behind, playing; Sadie - Billed as - Tough with a soft centre. Co stars included Sue Devaney and Donna Hazelton.
Coleen had 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 universally panned. After less than six months Lawson was dismissed. Coleen continued for a short time, by now,  joined by seasoned professional, John Leslie. Ratings began to improve. However,  ITV coaxed Fern Brittan out of her maternity leave early to join Leslie.  With Brittan firmly in place,  ITV felt able to side-line Coleen by offering her a role on the show as "Special  Features Reporter" 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, a job she still has to date.
Coleen had originally been a panelist TV chat show Live Talk. The show was rebranded as 'Loose Women' and Coleen became a panelist. Since then Coleen has been the darling of the tabloids and has appeared on several high profile shows. Most notably Celebrity Big Brother twice (Which she won the second time, after being runner up on her first appearance) and Dancing on Ice, where, despite her poor standard of ice dancing, she endeared herself to the audience and went as far as the quarter final. The show saw her injure herself several times, but she carried on despite the pain. Coleen fronted her own Sky TV show 'The Truth About Beauty' and has appeared on almost every chat show on TV.  
Maureen returned once again for a second run in Mum's The Word  touring  the country again. Talks were meanwhile, underway already for a return to  Blood Brothers.
In 2007 Linda was touring the UK with Blood Brothers. when her husband, Brian became ill. The two had both battled cancer successfully when tragedy struck. Brian was admitted to hospital with a leg infection and suddenly died. Linda had spent more than 25 years with Brian constantly by her side. His loss was to have a lasting, devastating effect on her. Brian had battled with a drink problem for several years, which had been kept away from public knowledge. Years later she went on to admit his drinking had been a major problem. Linda later discussed this in a Nolans book and her own autobiography. In any case, Brian had been a rock for Linda and without him she sank into depresssion. She returned to work but after a few short weeks she withdrew from Blood Brothers, suffering from Cellulitis which hospitalised her in Nottingham. Once discharged and back home, Linda's depression spiralled out of control. She eventually needed the services of the Samaritans and even went as far as writing suicide notes to her Sisters. Family and friends rallied around her but she was suffering more bad days than good ones. She turned to councellors to help her through and anti derpressents were prescribed. There was no way that Linda was in a position to work. She explains;
"In Blood Brothers, the first line I sing was - Once I had a husband, you know the sort of chap - There was no way I could sing that without breaking down. It was just too much."
Linda placed a great deal of emphasis on her elder Sister, Denise, who was in a position to spend time with her. Denise became famous for saying "You want to watch a DVD? I have musicals, girly films, period dramas...what you want?" The two Sisters live five doors from each other so the two became close.
Anne Nolan's autobiography, 'Anne's Song' was released in 2008. She had worked for five years on the book which she explained was "The truth". In May the previous year she had 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 roles after Mum's The Word she completed 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 fall-out with Coleen's husband. This saw Coleen apparently take the side of her partner. Denise then joined the arguement in defense of her Sister. Eventually Anne and Coleen were reconciled. Soon-after 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 Nolans reunion tour was to take place - minus Anne and Denise. 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.  None of this line up, with the exception of Maureen, had sung under the Nolans banner for as many years as she had. She pointed out that Linda had been out of the group for 26 years. The four Sisters lined up for the reunion tour went on the publicity trail, promoting the tour, devised by Universal Records and Live Nation.
Coleen and her manager had helped organise the tour, which further upset Anne. They claimed that the 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 that song, or promoted it at the time because she wasn't old enough. I did record it - I was there to promote it.'
Anne stated that Coleen joined had the act in 1981 officially when she was 16. Anne went on to say that of all their hits, in their entire career she was only absent on 4 of them and one album. Denise went on to  release a statement on her website and solidly stuck by Anne. Denise claimed that the reasons behind the tour were financial. 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 that had appeared in the live shows. The album also featured remakes of Nolans' hits . It was recorded in great haste and not all the girls were present at each recording session. Maureen recorded her part of I Don't Feel Like Dancing quite a while after Linda had already laid hers down.  It was a chart success reaching number 22 in the album charts. Their first album chart appearance in twenty five years. The end of the year saw Coleen and Maureen appear on the hit TV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Their appearance on the celebrity version of the show raised £32,000 for their chosen charities, Alzheimer's Care and the Niemann Pick organisation.
Bernie followed the Nolans tour by appearing in the second series of Popstar to Opera Star where she went on to become runner up. Darius Danesh was crowned the winner. In fact, Bernie had led the leader board for the whole series until the show's finale, where less than 1% of the vote had split the two finalists. 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. Her cancer was aggressive and the treatment prescribed was equally agressive. Bernie noticed early on that her hair had started to fall out. She made the decision herself to use her husband's hair clippers and remove what was left.
A stunned crowd saw a bald Bernie appear at an awards show, with the pictures making the national press. This led to an appearance on ITV's Lorraine, where she explained her reasoning. She then undertook more TV and press calls to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness.
Coleen's son, Jake, took a short role in ITV's Emmerdale this year. Jake and his older Brother, Shane went into the studio to record tracks for a proposed album, but a deal did not materialise that worked for them.

In 2009 Anne's youngest daughter, Alexandra and her partner Steve had a Son - Vinny, who constantly amazes everyone with his personality. They married in 2012.  Maureen became a Grandmother in 2009 also when her son, Danny's, partner at the time, gave birth to Ava. Danny then met his life partner, Madison, whom he has had three further daughters with. Sienna and Roma are a delight to the Nolan family. The couple gave birth to a third daughter together in July 2023.
Maureen was married in late 2010 to her long term partner, Richie. The two tied the knot in a luxury hotel in Spain with the wedding covered by OK magazine who made a feature of the event.  At the start of 2010, 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 and olive branch, despite their hurt, to be civil to each other. Maureen and Bernie immediately replied. Wishing to put past rancour behind them. This allowed 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. By now, Bernie's hair had grown back. The press pictures showed her grey curly hair. The treatment had altered the exture and colour of her hair. As soon as she was able to, Bernie displayed her trademark blonde locks.
Maureen accepted a role in the UK touring production of the stage play The Naked Truth. The show toured throughout much of 2010. Maureen then returned to the West End fo a three months stint in Blood Brothers.  Following extensive councelling and in much better health, Linda undertook Pantomime at Worthing for Paul Holman Associates.   That same year Denise headed to Bridlington  where she topped the bill in Snow White for the same company. 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 concert of her Magic Of Judy Garland show. Coleen released two novels in 2010 and a new book written by Bernie, Maureen, Linda and Coleen entitled Survivors  was released in April 2011.
Maureen toured throughout 2010 /11 in shows as diverse as the Eva Cassidy Story - Footloose and Girls Behind later in the year she joined Linda in a production of Jack & The Beanstalk  at the Shaw Theatre in London. 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 to join 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 2012 to appear in Panto in Redditch.
Coleen surprised many by entering the Celebrity Big Brother House that year. Having has been a fan of the intensely invasive show for many years. She stayed in the programme avoiding eviction until the final where she was placed second to Julian Clary. During the show Coleen clashed repeatedly with Julie Goodyear who's scheming was exposed towards the end of the show. The public were fully aware of Julie's malevolence but the housemates were not. Eventually one by one the housemates discovered what Julie had done and they confronted her.  Coleen had suffered a meltdown in the house and was relieved to find the anger of the housemates to her was misplaced. Her eventual eviction was met with cheers from the crowd outside.
Anne had impressed a lot of people with her candid style and honesty in her book.  She employed a new manager at this time and was encouraged to record an album throughout the early part of 2012. Her first visits to the studio saw the release of a single 'When I Need You'. Royalties from the song would go the the Save The Children charity.
Anne was able to have a hands on involement with the album, this allowed her to arrange a medley of her own and take part in production duties.  The royalties donated to Save The Children went on to support their Bangladesh Clinics For Babies campaign that year. Her album Just One Voice sold well, and was an Amazon hit.
Denise has been a familiar face on the Jazz scene for years and enjoyed working as the headline act at the Sands Venue Blackpool as a regular in 2011 and 2012. She was to appear in several special shows at the venue. These shows featured soap stars from Coronation Street, Eastenders and Emmerdale, who were invited to sing at the lavish venue. Denise 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 saw 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 following her cancer treatment. 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 before joining the National Tour of Chicago with Ali Bastian, Stefan Booth and Tupule Dorgu.
Nolans fans were elated and saddened at the same time in 2013. The group announced they would tour again with Maureen, Linda, Bernie and Coleen. The sadness came as it was announced that this would be their final ever tour together. The tour was scheduled for February and March of 2013. Dates had been announced. As tickets were sold at a frenzy, the family were, in fact, keeping a secret. Bernie's cancer had returned. The secondary cancer had metastasised into her breasts, lungs, liver, and brain.
Bernie had been made aware during her stint in Chicago of the cancer's return. Further tests had revealed that, this time, the cancer was not curable. Doctors were at pain to emphasise that it was, however, treatable. Once more Bernie started a gruelling round of chemotherapy. A new drug was trialled on Bernie which caused a reaction making it impossible to carry on. She relied on existing drugs and treatments and adapted a very healthy lifestyle.  Armed with this knowledge, Bernie returned to work. It is testament to her professionalism that she was able to carry on with the heavy workload of the show, and to take part in the promotional work that accompanies it.  
Bernie announced to a stunned World her cancer diagnosis. Bernie told TV shows and the press that she was taking medication that would keep the cancer at bay. She even told them that the farewell tour would go ahead. Despite the tour selling out, the entire tour was pulled late in 2012.
Bernie was insistent that she would carry on working,  heading to Eastbourne where she was headlining the town's pantomime. As a precaution she recorded the vocals to the songs she would sing for the pantomime in advance. She intended to sing live, of course, but she began to notice a troublesome cough and that her breath control was not as strong when she was singing. Bernie told me at the time;
"I actually learned loads of techniques when I was in Popstar to Opera Star. Things about breathing that I had no idea about. For quite a while I was able to use them with my own voice. During the rehearsals for panto, I noticed that the cold air outside affected my voice, so I did warm up excercises in the rehearsal. I noticed that often, when I was singing, that I would cough or that my breath would run out before the end of the note. It was a worry, but I hoped it was just the weather. I then suggested the tracks could be recorded. For every performance, I wanted the microphone to be on and I always tried to sing live. Even before the panto started, I knew I was having real problems."
Bernie managed a few appearances in the pantomime, but it had become clear that even the speaking parts were too much for her. On stage, a performer has to project their voice when speaking and this was taking it out of her. Reluctantly she withdrew from the show. Finding out that her precious voice had been stolen by this cruel diesease was a devastating blow to her. Bernie had been working on her autobiography when her husband, Steve and Daughter, Erin took a trip to Blackpool as part of Steve's birthday celebrations.  It was at Blackpool that Bernie was taken ill.  Having dined out, Bernie became ill and decided to go home. Over the next few hours she became gravely ill.  Family members were stunned to receive a message from Steve saying that Bernie was at an 'end of life situation'. Overnight She was admitted to the Town's hospice where everyone believed Bernie would slip away overnight. In typical Bernie style though, just two weeks later, she was well enough to return to her Weybridge home where she wanted to spend her final days at home with her family. She was horrified to find that whilst away, thieves had broken in to her home and had stolen jewellery and had damaged treasured belongings, including her 'born asleep' daughter Kate's memory box.

Bernie's autobiography was almost complete, but she was too tired and weak to finish the last part.  Over the next couple of weeks Denise visited Bernie almost on a daily basis. Other family members made their way to Weymouth a Bernie began to grow weaker. Although the family knew the end was close, they were no more prepared for it. The family joined her and played her favourite music and films. They even sang to her at her bedside. In typical Nolan humour, Bernie told them to 'Shut up' as she couldn't hear the Wimbledon commentary on TV.  In her last few weeks Bernie had made sure she got 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, her Husband and beautiful Daughter, Erin.
Bernie's autobiography was released and it topped the sales and download  harts selling more than 20,000 copies. She had been too ill to write the last Chapter, so her Husband, Steve Doneathy, completed it for her.
Bernie was then brought home to Blackpool and her funeral was attended by 500 friends and family who attended a specially arranged service at the town's Grand Theatre. Bernie had arranged the entire day herself. Chosing the music, she wrote a letter to be read to the assembled friends and family and even had live performances screened in the theatre. The Grand Theatre 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. The public who had gathered outside brought comfort to the family, secure in the knowledge that she was loved by the townsfolk. In a poignent turn of events all remaining Sisters had put their differences to one side.
As  2013 progressed, the family had to deal with their loss and grieve.  Aware that bills needed to be paid,  Maureen  rejoined  Blood Brothers for the Autumn National Tour and later starred in Pantomime in Carlisle. Anne continue to record and has began working with the original writer of I'm In The Mood For Dancing, Robert Puzey. Her second single You've Heard The Wrong Story was released in 2014 and recieved considerable airpay. It was a download success and had been viewed on Youtube thousands of times. Denise still continued to enjoy her work and Coleen went back to work as the Daily Mirror as their resident Agony Aunt.  She aslo returned to TV screens for Loose Women.

2014  started with a bang for Linda. She agreed to take part in Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother the daunting challenge saw her share the house a second time 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. It  was not good news from Linda's point of view as she was to be joined in the house by Jim Davidson. The two did not get on very well. Clever editing highlighted this and Linda says that "I was seen as a  moaning old bitch all the time, when in fact, most of the time I was  having a great time." Linda was voted off midway, but took comfort from the fact that she hadn't been nominated by her fellow housemates and had been put up for eviction by a twist devised by the show.
Maureen completed a successful panto at Carlisle before heading on the road with the 2014 Blood Brothers UK National Tour.
Anne and Denise filmed a documentary for Irish television charting her extraordinary life. Denise then went on to star 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 2014 of a Nolans tour which would feature Bernie on giant video screens. Something that  has since been ruled out with Coleen saying 'It is too soon.'
Anne completed the year taking part in a musical called What's all the fuss about with Nicky Evans in Stoke On Trent. Later that year Maureen announced that she would head to Ipswich for her Pantomime that year whilst Denise went to Lowestoft. Linda returned to Panto as a solo star at St. Helens. Linda had thrown herself into charity work with gusto and was happy to be out there, working again. She had completed a 13 mile midnight walk for breast care charities. Linda has been involved with several charities and has been made a patron of many. As have Denise and Anne.  
Maureen returned to Blood Brothers in early 2015. Whilst Anne agreed to take part in two movies. There are more talks underway for a musical project involving Denise. A lot of the demo music has been recorded, now the writers have to try to find funding, which is very difficult in this current climate.  Later in 2015 year Anne and Linda joined John Barrowman on a Celebrity version of the TV  Quiz 'Pressure Pad' . In March 2015 Coleen celebrated her 50th Birthday  with a party at the Radisson Hotel at Manchester Airport. She was joined by her family and friends. Denise was offered one musical and one play. Both of which she rejected. Later in the year Denise decided not to take part in Panto, preferring to spend the time with friends and  family. Maureen joined the UK National tour of Footloose in late 2015 alongside Gareth Gates. She had decided to take a break from Blood Brothers. In the Autumn Linda joined Menopause The Musical she starred alongside the X Factor's Mary Byrne, Eurovision winner Niabh Kavannagh and Sue Collins from the Nualas for an Ireland wide tour. The production was a smash hit selling out in every  venue it played. Anne went back into the studio to record a Christmas single which was heavily played on radio and Anne enjoyed the promotional work that accompanied it, the song was a download hit.  Her plans to release a single in 2016 were confirmed when she released 'Why' a duo with Country and Western star, Gary Curtis. Linda went out  on the road again, this time in the UK where she starred, once again, in Menopause The Musical on a full UK national tour. Later in the year  she managed to fit in a two week musical Rumpy Pumpy in Oxford and London.
2016 saw more success for Coleen. She was promoted to be one of the main anchor presenters on ITV's Loose Women the company's flagship lunchtime show. As well as that, she was co presenter alongside Amanda Holden in Give Pets A Home. Coleen declared that her marriage was on the rocks and would work to find a solution, while her husband, Ray Fensome, was away touring with Rick Astley. He subsequently returned and Coleen said she was still working at her marriage. Fensome is no longer employed by Rick Astey. Channel 5 started its 2017 Celebrity Big Brother with an All Stars version of the show. All of the contestants had been entrants in previous years. Coleen was invited to take part once more and readily accepted. Coleen, once again, had a meltdown under the relentless pressure of the show. She was voted by the public as 'least trustworthy' and 'two faced'. The accusation hurt her and the feeling of paranoia intensified with her not knowing what was happening in the real world. However, she was popular with her housemates and avoided nomination.  Kim Woodburn, a cleaner who found fame on TV's How Clean Is Your Home was hateful to most housemates, Coleen included. With Coleen concluding that Kim was "vile". Despite many heated rows in the house, Coleen went on to win the show. She said it made her miss her husband. Kim stated after the show ended that Coleen was not a worthy winner. Upon her return home she failed to talk to her husband and the matter was not resolved. She took a week off work in February to see if she could finally sort things out.
Despite Denise's claims she is in semi retirement. Her next outing was in London's Soho where she reprised her Magic Of Judy Garland show. The show is always well received. The London's Soho show was a complete sell out and the crowds gave her multiple ovations.  Anne's daughter Alex gave birth to her second daughter Nevaeh. The webmaster of this website was invited to be God Father - something he cherishes. Amy has retired from show business to concentrate on bringing up her son, Ryder. Bernie's daughter is starting out in show business by joining amateur dramatics, most recently in Legally Blonde. In December 2016 Maureen was to star in a musical adapation of Great Expectations with Adam Rickett. She was play the part of Miss Haversham. At a very late stage the producers pulled the plug on the show. The Winter Gardens in Blackpool did tell the producers that the audiences in Blackpool are different to most other towns. The locals, out of season, tend to book show tickets late and this seems to have troubled the producers who were not willing to take the risk. The late cancellation was very disruptive to Maureen who could not secure a Panto at such late notice. It is testament to the changing times that companies can do this to artists without the company suffering any penalty.  In any case she was able quite quickly to join the cast of Menopause The Musical in February 2017. Once more, the addage, "Keep it in the Family" seems to be apt, as she follows Linda in the role. Linda finished the year with a storming performance in Jack and The Beanstalk in Preston which saw her play the good fairy alongside Phil Walker. Denise took part in the Rat Pack Christmas Show with seasoned singers from TV's Soap Land. The roles of Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis were taken by the soap stars while Denise sang Judy Garland Christmas numbers. At the end of 2016 it was announced that Linda will star in Our House which is a comedy musical built around the music of Madness who had a string of hits in the 1980s. Maureen's busy schedule carried on when she finished Menopause The Musical and re-joined Footloose for its late Summer run.  She was also set to take the show on the Far East International leg of the tour. Sadly the political climate in the country at the time resulted in the production company making the decision not to take the show out. Early in 2017 Linda agreed to a telivised Face Lift carried out at a Harley Street clinic. She had been unhappy with her look and readily agreed to the proceedure. She was thriled with the result and premiered it on ITV's Loose Women.
In late 2017 Linda had been forced out of the Preston Pantomime for a few days after falling at the train station. At home in March the following year Linda fell whilst climbing stairs at home. This more recent fall happened when Linda was home, babysitting her neices. This time, Linda was in agony. A late night ambulance dash resulted in Linda being admitted to hospital. Initial investigation indicated Linda had fractured her hip and Doctors told her she would have to undergo a hip replacement. She commented, at the time, that this was further proof that she was 'Lucky'. Further investigation revealed that her breast cancer had returned and had infected her hip with a secondary tumour that had first been spotted as a cyst. She stayed in hospital undergoing further tests and resting. Later in the month she was transferred to Oswestry in Shropshire where a biopsy was carried out under general anaesthetc. It was confirmed at the time that although the cancer was not curable it was treatable. She was to further undergo treatment including radiotherapy and regular injections to keep her bones strong. Eventually Linda was sent home with a care package in place. It was not without sadness that her part in the musical Our House The Musical was ruled out.
Maureen joined Jake Quickenden and Jennifer Ellison at Blackpool Opera House in December 2017 in Peter Pan A Musical Adventure. She was excited to be back on home territory for the festive period. Anne decided to come out of retirement for the Panto Season, reprising her wicked queen role in two venues - Cannock and Colne. She wanted her Grandchildren, Vinny, Nevaeh and Ryder to see her in Pantomime. Coleen also is took part in Panto for the second time in recent years. when she starred at Bradford  alongside Billy Pearce as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. Denise was invited and accepted to take part in the UK tour of The Rat Pack Tribute The series of concerts took place over the Autumn and Winter of 2017. She elected not to star in Panto in 2018. Linda went on to film a variety of TV projects that were aired in the Autumn.
In 2018 Maureen announced that her marriage to Richie Hoyle had broken down. Things had come to head during her appearance in the Footloose Musical. Her own hurt and upset was hidden from the audience as she completed the run. Although the two decided they would remain close friends. The couple had been together for twenty years, but married only four. Maureen opened up her feelings on Loose Women and won the support of viewers.
Maureen threw herself into work and re-joined Menopause The Musical  for a full UK tour. Midway through the year she too underwent a facelift which was filmed for TV. In 2019, she starred again in  Menopause the Musical  after her Pantomime in Newcastle had finished.
Anne was approached with a view to writing the second, updated, version of her autobiography. The book is completed and she is still to decide if it should be released.  The book will cover the last ten years of her incredible life. The Press reported that it will upset people. Anne also took part in a Summer Panto in 2010, as lead star playing the Fairy Godmother in Jack and the Beanstalk in Bolton. A Summer Panto may have raised eyebrows in some circles, but the show was a huge hit.
Anne's book was revealed to be the subject of a musical. The new show will feature 23 brand new songs written by Terry Bradford. In contrast to the Sisters taking part in musicals Coleen announced that she would be starring in her own concert tour. The 'Never Too Late Tour' would tour the UK with Coleen as the sole headline act. The venues were all in major towns and cities and was expected to be a success.
Linda was to set star in the ITV show Our Shirley Valentine Summer The show was filmed over a month in Greece where celebrity singletons and widows would live together with an attempt to find romance in the Aegean. Doctors gave her permission to appear, but vetoed heavily the activities that she could take part in. By July however, Linda's treatment was to be extended and she was forced to cancel her appearance.
Things were not all bad, salvation was to come forward in the Summer of 2018 when ITV expressed an interest in Linda joining the Loose Women panel as a regular. Things started out well and a deal was secured that would see Linda appear twice a month. The work was less demanding physically than a stage show. The first few programmes saw Linda appear alongside Coleen until Linda was comfortable enough to star with other panelists on her own. Loose Women back room team had come up with the idea that Coleen should re-unite with former Celebrity Big Brother nemesis Kim Woodburn. Coleen was reluctant to take part, fearing the worst. Coleen protested, but she was assured that the piece was about reconciliation rather than confrontation. Within seconds of Woodburn taking a seat, it became evident that Woodburn had no such desire to make her peace with Coleen. The show quickly fell apart with Janet Street Porter struggling to keep a lid on Woodburn's outbursts. Coleen was visibly shaken and began to retaliate. Linda, seeing her Sister's distress jumped to her defense, saying Woodburn 'had no talent'. Further insults came out of Woodburn who was now in tears recalling her terrible early life. Having attacked almost all the panel, Woodburn left the stage. ITV offered councelling to everyone and it was assumed the whole thing would quickly fizzle out.
Amost immediately a Social Media row errupted with furious tweets and posts from Trolls calling for Linda and Coleen to be dismissed. A petition was started and even complaints made to Ofcom. This came witihin days of Coleen announcing her first ever solo tour. Tickets had gone on sale for the show. The negative publicity saw Coleen break down on ITV's This Morning where she had inititally gone to promote her tour. Coleen told how she had recieved hate messages from the publi telling her that they wished she had got cancer instead of Bernie. Within 24 hours the tour had been cancelled and Coleen had withdrawn from Loose Women. Her self impsed exhile was to be only a temporary one and she was able to rejoin the show in December 2018. Negative press reports rained down on Coleen, saying that the tour was a commercial flop with hardly any tickets being sold. Everywhere Coleen looked she was being hounded. Her immediate reaction was to withdraw from social media. she also needed time with her family for the sake of her mental health. Linda continued with her treatment for her cancer and became a regular on the Jeremy Vine show on Channel 5. This was a welcome job as Loose Women have so far not asked her to return.

Maureen underwent a facelift in 2018 which was followed by the viewers of Loose Women who watched as she underwent surgery. She finished the 2018 tour of Menopause The Musical in Autumn of 2018. Coleen's marriage did, in fact, break down and she announced that she was to divorce Ray Fensome.
Denise continued to enjoy her semi retirement, but we on this site are determined that she get back on stage! Her album "With Live Orchestra" has been remastered and released independently.

Maureen appeared in pantomime in Manchester, Linda in Clacton and Anne in Bolton where all three toped the bill. Coleen accepted a role in  a week long run of The Thundergirls at the Lowry Theatre in Manchester.
2020 saw a new chapter in the Nolans story. Anne, Maureen, Linda and Coleen took part in 'The Nolans Go Crusing' a major TV series that took the girls on two crusies in the Mediterranean. The show looked at single life for four middle aged, Sisters. The show appeared on screen in June and July. The show was an instant success. It broke records for the Quest Red channel as the most watched UK show the channel had ever made. They also recorded a TV show with Mrs.Brown! - All Round To Mrs Brown's which aired in April. Coleen was to appear in the musical 'The Thunder Girls' which was scheduled to tour in summer. The UK tour of the show has been postponed following the Covid 19 outbreak.
A new version of Menopause The Musical was announced in 2020 and Maureen decided to not return to it 'Menopause The Musical 2' . This happened as a new project came the Sisters' way. Four of the Sisters would go on to take part in a new fly on the wall documentary featuring the Nolans as they went on a Cruise Ship holiday around Europe. The eight week series began filming just as Denise was midway through a  new tour - 'The Music Of Judy Garland' featured new songs along with new lighting and was a success for her. Meanwhile - The Nolans Go Crusing was a huge succes
The show concentrated on them as a family. Anne has recorded a video to one song from her forthcoming musical. It looks certain that it will be produced. Despite Covid restrictions the Sisters were able to visit cities in France, Spain and Italy and provide the audience with a special glimpse into their lives. It went on to become the most successful home grown TV show that the Quest Red Channel have ever made. It has more recently been shown as far away as New Zealand.
Linda too was to appear in a new Musical 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' which was to tour the UK in spring. The production was scheduled to play in most major towns and cities. New dates had to be  arranged after the lockdown ends. Maureen's Easter Panto had to be cancelled. The emphasis was that that everyone is kept safe
2020 was also to be a much publicised year for the Nolans, some of it in sadness. Linda had come to terms with her cancer diagnosis and explained that she was living with cancer and not dying from it. As the country went into the Covid lockdown the Sisters heard that a BBC record label were releasing a three disc compilation box set that would feature songs from their UK albums from 1978-1983. For the first time all six sisters would appear on the front cover of a general album release. As the sisters basked in the good news they were rocked when Anne told them that she had found a lump on her breast, twenty years after battling and beating cancer before - Anne was stunned to find that her cancer had returned. The cancer was stage three and agressive. The news was not good. Doctors told her that the cancer was a new type that they were not familiar with. Medics decided to attack the growth with everything available. Whilst doctors worked out a treatment plan for Anne, Linda heard following one of her regular scans that her cancer had spread to her liver. She was told that the cancer was small and that it could be treated. She too would undergo chemotherapy. Anne commenced the first of her six chemotherapy sessions at the same time as she was treated with the anti cancer drug Herceptin. Linda would follow Anne three weeks later. Staff at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital arranged for the two sisters to be treated simultaneously which came as a great comfort as the Covid restrictions meant that they would not be allowed to have other people with them in the hospital. At least they had each other. Anne's treatment was brutal and she was admitted to hospital three times with a high temperature. One time for eleven days. Anne was crippled with chronic anxiety partly because she couldn't spend time with her daughers or Grand children. As well as the anxiety Anne suffered from every side effect that could present itself. After her second treatment she lost her hair. Linda opted for a cold cap in an effort to retain her hair. Sadly the staff were unable to locate one in her size and she lost her hair also. For Linda this was a devastating loss. Her own demons brought on a bout of depression for which she reeived councelling. Linda was aware that her own cancer is not curable and fears that in time she could have to face more struggles. Her own treatment was not as aggresive and she was able to take part in press and TV interviews, unlike Anne who was far too weak.  The success of the TV show 'The Nolans Go Cruising' was a blessing and a curse. The TV company were naturally anxious as the show was marketed as a feel good show. To have such negative news prior to its launch might prove counter productive. The girls agreed and decided to not speak publically about their recent diagnosis. However, as their treatment was being carried out in a public hospital and thier hair loss was evident it was doubtful that the secret would remain indefinately. Fortunately the public respected their privacy and the news didn't break before Anne and Linda told their story. The high profile interview was aimed at raising awareness about breast cancer. Anne and Linda displayed great courage and humour in telling their story. They refused to wear wigs that they had purchased becuase they wanted the public to be aware. The Nolan Sisters have all spoken out about the disease. By doing so it might help more women to check themselves and seek treatment.
Coleen continued to appear on Loose Women with the aid of Zoom calling. Her location meant that she was unable to spend time with the family anywhere near as much as she would like to. She travelled to Blackpool in June for a 'Socially Distanced' outdoor birthday celebration for Maureen. Several family members sat in a circle in a nearby park with everyone two meters apart. Humour was evident when people began texting one one another. Maureen had moved into Anne's house to help with care and act as driver, while Linda moved into Denise's house for the same purpose.
The release of the box set was announced for October 23rd 2020 - in time for Christmas. Linda was surprised in September when Channel Five decided to air a programme that she had filmed three years prior. Celebrities In Therapy was shown as an hour long episode. All the Sisters took part in filming a new show that will appear late in 2020. In October the ladiies started filming for the follow on series to 'The Nolans Go Cruising' -  'At Home With The Nolans' is a four part series that sees the Sisters enjoying each other's company in and around Blackpool - Check the News Page for details. The Nolans 'Gold', a three album retrospective look at their career was the surprise hit of the Autumn. Reaching number one in the Amazon chart and as high as number three in the Supermarket chart. Making the top ten in the album sales chart in November saw the Sisters in the top ten for the first time in thirty eight years. Coleen's busy schedule saw her start filming for the 2020 edition of  'The Full Monty' which is also aimed at raising awareness for breast and testicular cancer.
In Summer 2021 it was announced that a new series of 'The Nolans Go Crusing' was filmed and broadcast later in 2021.  The Covid restrictions meant that the ship was only able to sail in UK waters. There is no shortage of fun and activities that the Sisters involved themselves in. Denise was able to take part in the new series. The show's finale sees all the Sisters perform together on TV for the first time in 43 years. Sadly Linda's own limits meant that she was not in a position to star in the touring production of 'Girl Just Wanna Have Fun' - The part has been taken on by someone with just as much talent, beauty and charm......Her Sister, Maureen, who did a splendid job.  It meant a very busy Autumn for Maureen who  had just enough time to prepare for her Pantomime - In Stafford.
In 2023 Anne released her follow up book New Beginning. The book updates the world on what has happened since her last book. It covers her appearance at Manchester Gay Pride, and her Cancer Fight. Purchase the book here
In 2022 Denise released her first single in forty years. The song 'Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye' was a top five iTunes hit. The album that followed in its wake,made the top three in the iTunes jazz chart and Denise became the only solo Nolan to have a solo hit album, when her album 'For You My Love' made it into the top twenty, reaching number 17.
Maureen joined the 2023 Nation UK tour of 'Calendar Girls' playing the part of Ruth. The Bill Kenwright production stars Blood Brothers counterpart actress Lyn Paul, Paula Pallister, Amy Robbins and Marti Webb.  Details can be found on Maureen's solo page. Maureen will also be starring in Pantomime in Cannock for a week in December 2023.
Linda has been having a tough time lately. She moved in with her Sister Denise to enable Denise to offer her more full time care and support. Linda's cancer has since spread to her liver and more recently her brain. Doctors say that Linda is not at the end of the road yet. She is undergoing regular chemotherapy having previously completed three weeks of radiotherapy. There are plans to commence Linda on a new drug, described as a 'wonder drug'. Regular appointments with the oncologist are a feature of Linda's life. We are ever hopeful that she can fight and win the cancer battle. She is now a regular Mirror columnist, charting her cancer story.  Coleen announced her solo tour will finally happen in early 2024. Tickets can be booked here. Coleen has been filming for the 2023 edition of  The Full Monty, which will air  in December, and she continues to write for the Mirror newspaper. Maureen will appear in Pantomime in Cannock in 2023 before returning for the 2024 UK National Tour of Calendar Girls
There are plans for a special Nolans project in 2024 - we hope you keep checking in, to find out what it is!


Back to content