Blackpool actress Joan Savage who starred in Coronation Street and Dad's Army dies aged 89

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A Blackpool born actress who had a stage and television career spanning six decades has died aged 89.

Joan Savage, who was best known for her roles in The Arthur Haynes Show (1956-1962), Coronation Street (2000) and Dad's Army (1972), sadly passed away on November 1.

Born on January 2 1934, a young Joan would accompany her father, the late comedian Norman Savage around the Northern club circuit and when she was 12 she joined the famous Blackpool Children’s Tower Ballet and Blackpool Tower Circus.

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Her versatile performances (including riding elephants, rollerskating, and performing song and dance numbers) led to her appearing on Mr Ronnie Taylor’s Variety Fanfare on BBC Radio and touring as the leading lady in a George and Alfred Black revue called Music and Madness.

Joan Savage 2/1/1934 – 1/11/2023.Joan Savage 2/1/1934 – 1/11/2023.
Joan Savage 2/1/1934 – 1/11/2023.

It was during this tour, that she met performer Ken Morris – who she later married in Blackpool in 1955 – and they teamed up as a double act.

Joan continued to pursue her solo career with her own brand of comedy and impressions as well as recording covers of Love Letters in the Sand, Norah Malone, Hello Happiness Goodbye Blues.

However, it was her double act with Ken that established them as household names appearing on numerous television advertisements and big shows of the time such as Hi Summer, The Black and White Minstrel Show, The Jack Jackson Show and The Arthur Haynes Show.

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In March 1960 their daughter Kelly was born and they later enjoyed a 10 month season at the London Palladium with Arthur Haynes, Nicholas Parsons and Susan Maughan. Sadly, Ken was diagnosed with a brain tumour and after a relatively short period of illness, died on July 3 1968.

Pictured in 1955: comedian Charlie Chester steals a kiss from bride Mrs Joan Savage while husband Ken Morris looks on.Pictured in 1955: comedian Charlie Chester steals a kiss from bride Mrs Joan Savage while husband Ken Morris looks on.
Pictured in 1955: comedian Charlie Chester steals a kiss from bride Mrs Joan Savage while husband Ken Morris looks on.

During the next three years, Joan established herself as one of Britain’s top female entertainers of the time through her singing and impersonations in summer shows, pantomime, cruise ships, concert and cabaret.

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Joan, who married her current husband Bryan in November 1972, has appeared in countless radio broadcasts, including being a regular soloist on Friday Night is Music Night and having her own show series The Pleasure of Your Company and Joan Savage Sings.

Joan’s family say one of her proudest moments was when she sang the BBC winning entry for the Nordring Radio Prize in 1974. This led to prestigious appearances at major concert venues including London’s Barbican, Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls. She also appeared as guest artiste with the London Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony and Pete Allen Jazz Band, even performing in a series of concerts with the Halle Orchestra to mark the VE Anniversary.

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Joan’s theatre production credits include Deja Revue with Sheila Hancock and George Cole, Dames at Sea, 70 Girls 70, Divorce Me Darling, Stepping Out, Chicago, High Society and Follies at the Royal Festival Hall following which she was asked to perform Broadway Baby at Stephen Sondheim’s 75th birthday tribute concert in aid of Childline.

Over 350 television appearances include the Les Dawson Show, The Good Old Days, Who Do You Do, Dads Army and latterly as Celeste Pickersgill in Coronation Street, which her family say was a chance for Joan to return to her Northern roots which she relished.

In recognition of her talent and services to show business, she was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 2008 and reportedly said “Eee, not bad for a Lancashire lass eh?”

Her daughter, Kelly Reynolds said: “Mum always used to say ‘ I’d like to go with my tap shoes on’ so the last few years have been extremely difficult for her and us as a family. I hope she’s reunited with her show biz contemporaries and putting on a show up there!”

Joan passed away peacefully at Brinsworth House, Twickenham and leaves behind her husband Bryan, daughter Kelly and grandsons Mark and Simon.

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