Joan Turner.

Joan Turner: The Highs And Lows Of The Wacky Warbler

BBC Radio 4 documentary. 1 episode in 2010. Features Lesley Garrett, Harry Dickman, Roy Hudd, Susanna Page and Joan Turner.

Joan Turner: The Highs And Lows Of The Wacky Warbler

Documentary on the operatic comedienne Joan Turner. Lesley Garrett presents

Genre
Documentary
Broadcast
2010
Channel
BBC Radio 4
Episodes
1
Features
Lesley Garrett, Harry Dickman, Roy Hudd, Susanna Page and Joan Turner
Writer
Alan Stafford
Producer
Stephen Garner

Lesley Garrett tells the fascinating story of operatic comedienne Joan Turner, whose turbulent lifestyle brought success and failure in equal measure.

Joan was a larger-than-life star who enjoyed a successful stage and television career in the Sixties and Seventies. She was born in Belfast in 1922 and made her debut at the Finsbury Empire as a singing comedienne. Joan could perform pop or opera with her soprano voice, impersonate Judy Garland and Bette Davis, and then change to stand-up.

In her early career she worked with The Crazy Gang, appeared at many Royal events, recorded for Pye Records and became the highest-earning female singer in Britain. After touring all the major music halls she was considered a "female Harry Secombe". In the States she was billed as The Wacky Warbler.

By the late Nineties, Joan had been reduced to the status of a bag lady walking the streets of Las Vegas and Los Angeles searching for work. This downturn in her life and career was a result of a long-term battle with gambling and alcoholism. A few film and television roles saw a short revival in her fortunes but her last live comeback attempt ended in a drunken shambles. She spent her final years in sheltered accommodation in Surrey.

The programme features interviews with actor Harry Dickman, variety entertainer Roy Hudd and Joan's daughter Susanna Page.

Production data