Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Did You Hear? • WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I? • 2003

joanturner

They don’t prepare you for this sort of thing at drama school,’ said actor Phil Rose when he found himself having to deal with an elderly, drunken performer. Rose was running the bar at the CAA (Club for Acts and Actors) on Tuesday at a tribute lunch for the 80-year-old singer and comedienne Joan Turner. As one of the organisers, Patrick Newley was there.

The Joan Turner lunch was a disaster, writes Patrick. At around 1.00pm there was still no sign of her and suddenly her entire family (8 of them) appeared out of nowhere saying that ‘Joan had been delayed and was coming in a taxi’. There were 50 people upstairs all waiting for lunch. So we all agreed to start the lunch — the family and also Joan’s so-called ‘accompanist’ and his wife all on comps. £150 worth. Joan’s daughter looked suitably harassed and kept trying to assure people that her mother would arrive. No one believed her but we all nodded sagely.

By 2.30pm there was still no sign of Joan and we were all on the coffee and biscuits. Suddenly at 3.00pm there was a commotion from the far end of the hall and in lurched JT — blind drunk and seemingly on another planet. Gerald Moon, President of the CAA, attempted to seat her but she got rather lairy and aggressive. We all cheered and clapped. Moon then tried to give a resumé of her glittering career (minus the bankruptcy, alcoholism, sackings, 3 marriages, gambling etc) but JT kept interrupting and insisting she wanted to make a speech.

From a variety of Tesco carrier bags that she had with her, she extracted various bits of paper and began reading a maudlin series of poems (about success) which were largely inaudible. She then cracked some gags, which got no laughs at all. Some berk at the back of the hall shouted out ‘Give us a song, Joan’ and she burst into Send in the Clowns (off-key) but got muddled up with the lyrics and midway through the song changed into What Kind of Fool Am I. Quite.

Moon then tried to wrap up the proceedings and JT said loudly to the audience, ‘Do I have to make any apologies for anything — other than the fact that I’m pissed?’ Pamela Cundell got up and walked out very dramatically and several others followed.

I made my excuses and left but as I came out the front door of the club I saw about 15 anoraks, aged between 50 and 60, all clutching autograph books and faded programmes of JT. They had been waiting there for 3 hours. I said, ‘Are you lot waiting for Joan Turner.’ ‘Oh yes!’ they all gushed. So I went back to the front door and let them all in and pointed to where JT was. She was shouting at Moon somewhere at the back of the club. The anoraks surged forward and my last glimpse of JT was of her being almost buried alive by these mad fiends.

What happened next…

After the disastrous lunch, people started to flee. JT made a beeline for the bar upstairs at around 4.30pm, accompanied by a pair of queens who plied her with large vodkas. After they left she managed to get other people to buy her more — she sat strategically placed near the bar doorway. As the evening wore on, actor Phil Rose, who was running the bar, tells me that she alternated between telling prospective customers ‘I’m going to star at the National Theatre for David Attenborough’ or telling them to ‘Fuck off, you arseholes, I’m a star’. She stayed stuck in her chair until almost midnight, still drinking vodka.

Eventually Phil grabbed hold of her and managed to drag her down the staircase with the help of actor Michael Leader (EastEnders). JT tumbled and fell most of the way, eventually collapsing in the hallway. Leader then did a runner (wise man) and Phil managed to get JT through the front door of the club. She was last seen staggering down Bedford Street at ten past midnight telling passers by to ‘Go fuck yourselves’.

‘They don’t prepare you for this sort of thing at drama school,’ said Phil Rose.

Patrick Newley © 2003

Originally published on R&V 29-10-03

Advertisements

7 comments on “Did You Hear? • WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I? • 2003

  1. beetleypete
    02/11/2017

    That sounds about right, Sarah.
    She certainly had an intimidating presence when drunk, and I can vouch for that from personal experience. At a time when it was quite unusual for women to swear, let alone swear in mixed company, her casual effing and blinding came as something of a shock to me. On the plus side, she could be very generous at times, and one of her big ‘cuddle-hugs’ was an experience! I always had my suspicions that her and my Dad may have ‘had their moment’ at some stage too

    It is easy to forget now that she is almost never mentioned that she was at one time the highest-paid female entertainer in Britain, and incredibly popular with the public.

    I remember Phil Rose as Friar Tuck in the TV series, and Michael Leader was probably best known as a long-serving member of the Eastenders cast, playing the milkman. I don’t recall either of them in anything else, I’m afraid.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. martin houghton
    02/11/2017

    Thank you for this post. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Dave Plummer Saxophonist

Wedding & Events Saxophonist - Leicestershire and Hampshire

writerchristophfischer

Books, Reviews and bookish thoughts

Creative writing and art by Charlotte Begg

Creative writing and art by Charlotte Begg

Mallory James

Writer - Author - Historian

Act Professional

A How-To Guide for Actors from Someone Who Has No Idea What She's Doing

Iris Theatre

Supporting the next generation of professional theatre practitioners

thekeystonegirlblogs

The site for 'Madcap Mabel' - Mabel Normand

AADD-UK

The site for and by adults with ADHD

Scandalous Women

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

The Naptime Author

Anne Clare explores the world of writing, one stolen minute at a time.

FRENCH PAINTERS

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

ART BLOG

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

Woman the fuck up

Hear me roar. Writer, mother, actress, maker of beautiful things, witch. Not taking any more shit and neither should you.

solentaviatrix

Dedicated to Women Pilots of the Solent

cardboardcities

illustration, colour, fashion + lifestyle blog UK

Colossal

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

Improbability Archivist

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, Doctor Who,

WCH On This Day

Working Class History anniversaries every day

janetbotanics

Yoga classes and aromatherapy products in Andalusia, Spain.

1stangel.co.uk/loisbryanphotography/

LOIS BRYAN Photography and Digital Art

History And Other Thoughts

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

THE VIRTUAL VICTORIAN

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

Catherine Meyrick

Historical Fiction with a touch of Romance

Secret Diary Of PorterGirl

The everyday adventures of the staff & students of Old College

juxtaposed

Subject to change.

The Müscleheaded Blog

"Nothing Exceeds Like Superfluous Jejunity "

Women of History

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

Jon Danzig's World

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

The pallet Junkie

Hand crafted furniture

Dreaming Reality

If Existence is a dream, let us dream perfection....

victimfocus

Exploring best practice and research in sexual violence. A loud voice in the fight against victim blaming. Written and Managed by Jessica Eaton, Doctoral Researcher in Forensic Psychology

Teagan's Books

Now available: "Murder at the Bijou - Three Ingredients I"

Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland

Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland

The History Woman's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Art by Jess Miller

sculpture and artwork

Cooking on a Bootstrap

The #1 budget recipe website

surprise saffron

relishing in life's surprises, delighting in food, travel, art

Wish I Were Here

Journeys Through Place and Time

Doron Art

A journey into my world of Painting

Taylor Revert

An anything-and-everything blog from life's number one fan

Random Facts in History

History is complex, massive, and full of strange events and coincidences. Learn with me as I hunt those out and bring them into the light.

Life with an Illness

Sharing my chronic illness journey, while helping others. I spread awareness, love, and positivity along the way!♡

The poor side of life

Exposing the unfair treatment of jobseekers, the horrors of Universal Credit, unfair sanctions and heinous treatment of claimants at Ashton under Lyne Jobcentre.

%d bloggers like this: