Aren’t Men Beasts? – Strand Theatre London
Noele’s first major professional engagement at the Strand Theatre alongside John Mills, Roberson Hare and Alfred Drayton. This understudy role was during Noele’s final year at RADA. She did get to perform in the key role several times.
The Lady of La Paz –
Noele made a brief appearance screaming. This was during her Noele’s time as an understudy with Aren’t Men Beasts?
100 Years On – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
Noele had a small part in this her first theatrical role after leaving RADA.
Ah, Wilderness! – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
Noele features as Nora the Maid, a part she also played for the BBC In a live broadcast of the play. Theatre’s that staged the production included Edinburgh’s Lyceum. 1937.
Square Pegs – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
The comedy début took place in May 1937, written by Lionel Brown. Noele played ‘spoilt daughter’ Helen. The cast gained praise for ‘amusing’ performances in this production by The Scotsman and The Era publications. Staged at, among other theatres, Glasgow’s Empire.
Mrs Moonlight – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
This play was described as ‘grand entertainment for the young and old’. 1937.
Hay Fever – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
The Noel Coward penned play saw Noele as one of the party guests in the story about an unusual family. The Scotsman review noted ‘Noele Gordon gives a faithful rendering of the part of the bewildered young flapper…’ 1937
The Late Christopher Bean – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
Described as ‘a play very different from the ordinary run of comedies which come from London’. Written by Emlyn Williams it follows the realisation a family may be sitting on a fortune when painter Christopher Bean passes away – and they own some of his masterpieces. Noele played family member Susan with a critical review noting the part was ‘well played’ while another observed ‘all gave first- rate performances.’ 1937
Raffles – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
The E.W Hornug and E. Presbrey play about an ‘amateur cracksman’ who steals from the rich to give to the poor was described as ‘packed with thrills and surprises’. 1937
Aren’t We All? – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
A review notes that ‘a large audience gave a very enthusiastic reception to Frederick Longsdale’s popular three act comedy’. Noele was co-lead as Kitty Lake alongside Kenneth Hyde as Willie Tatham. ‘It is bright and lasting fun’ The Scotsman noted. 1937
Tilly of Bloomsbury – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
The ever changing weekly rep productions continued with this Ian Hay penned comedy in August of 1937.
Noele played one of the leads in the ‘aristocratic Mainwaring family’.
Lovers’ Leap – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
This September 1937 performance at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, was its début in Scotland. Noele played Sarah in this production with a review in The Scotsman noting ‘Noele Gordon as Sarah showed an unmistakable and gratifying efficiency. Her speaking and articulation were on a high level, and her movement and expression were marked with confidence and consistency.’
Night Must Fall – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
The last Brandon Thomas Players production in Scotland after a five-year run of agreements to stage plays in both Glasgow and Edinburgh theatres. In this murder-thriller Noele played a maid. 1937.
Autumn – Kings Theatre Glasgow
The latest play from Margaret Kennedy launched in October 1937 in Glasgow prior to its London début.
Ah, Wilderness! – Repertory Theatre/Brandon Thomas Players
Noele followed the BTP southwards in 1938 and their return to Ah, Wilderness! This time it was the King’s Theatre Hammersmith that was to showcase the production. Noele slipped back into her maid costume as Nora.
Fresh Fields – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Noele takes to the stage at the Theatre Royal Birmingham in this Ivor Novello penned comedy play. Noele played an Australian guest with her performance described by the Coventry Herald as ‘charming’ while the Birmingham Daily Gazette said ‘Noele Gordon’s heroine had both charm and passion, and Miss Gordon most cleverly suggested the breakdown of nerve under a tyrannical Victorianism.’ 1938.
Turkey Time – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
July 1938 saw Noele as part of this comedy offering produced as one of a number of plays for ‘Birmingham’s Centenary celebrations’.
High Temperature – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Noele in the role of a rather rained on, wet, wife in this comedy play.1938.
I Lived With You – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Another from the scribes of Ivor Novello. This comedy saw Noele in a small part with the Daily Gazette noting ‘Noele Gordon, Harry Piddock and Malcolm Russell contribute minor studies with that seemingly effortless carefulness that one has come to expect from the Court Players’. 1938.
The 13th Chair – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The spiritual thriller penned by Bayard Veiller took to the Theatre Royal Birmingham’s stage in August 1938. Noele played an innocent murder suspect who is almost condemned on circumstantial evidence.
Outward Bound – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Harry Hanson’s theatre company brought its final offering to Birmingham in September 1938. Ann (Noele) and Henry (Peter Grey) played the overly sweet lovebirds who took their lives.
The Cat and the Canary – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The Court Players have said farewell to Birmingham and hello London when in January 1939 they host their first performances at the Penge Empire. In this play, written by John Willard, Noele played ‘heroine Annabelle West. The Croydon Advertiser noted ‘Noele Gordon gives a fine study as the heroine.’
Official Secret – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
This spy set play looks at the world of the Air Ministry and a ministerial chief who is faced with a lack of aircraft. ‘A clever rendering by Noele Gordon of Mrs. Houghton, the mistress he victimises.’ 1939.
Jane Eyre – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The Penge Empire staged the ‘world famous dramatic play’ in February 1939. Noele played Diana Rivers. This was the 55th Harry Hanson production at the theatre.
Potiphar’s Wife – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The East Surrey Reporter described the production as ‘amusing, dramatic, daring and one imagines, particularly true to life.’ 1939.
The Chinese Bungalow – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The Croydon Advertiser observed ‘The presentation by the Court Players has drawn many favourable comments by admirers of this popular repertory company.’ The paper adds, ‘Noele Gordon shows her usual good sense of characterisation in the part of Charlotte Merivale’. 1939.
Escape Me Never – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Noele’s performance in this March 1939 production was billed as ‘outstanding’. There was also high praise for co-stars including Marjorie Sommerville, Gerald Andersen and Ennis Lawson.
Plan for a Hostess – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Following a run in the West End the Penge Theatre took Thomas Browne’s ‘daring comedy’. The East Surrey Reporter noted ‘Another outstanding part in the play, that of Griselda Taunton, will be in the hands of the popular Noele Gordon.’ 1939.
Dracula – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The tale of Count Dracula saw Noele as one of his victims. 1939. The Stage noted ‘The super thriller ‘Dracula’ is proving a big box office draw at the Penge Empire Theatre. ‘Long queues of play- goers in a suppressed state of excitement were noted on opening night and similar scenes have prevailed subsequently.’
Spring Cleaning – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Written by Frederick Longsdale. 1939.
White Cargo – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Noele played Tondelayo, a role she noted was one of her favourites from her time at Penge Empire.
On The Spot – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Noele plays Maria Pouliski with the Croydon Advertiser noting her outing as ‘another excellent performance’. The setting for the play was Gangster life in Chicago. 1939.
Little Women – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The famous story takes to the stage. ‘Noele Gordon, as the sick, white-faced daughter, has a small part, but tears at the heart- strings.’ – noted the East Surrey Reporter. 1939.
Lot’s Wife – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The ‘modern comedy’ was written by Peter Blackmore. Ennis Lawson played Mrs Bell, Mona Washbourne featured as Lot’s sister and Noele played Lot’s wife. The Croydon Advertiser review observed ‘Noele Gordon, still very attractive even when appearing in grey slacks, gives an animated performance.’
Aren’t Men Beasts? – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The ‘wonderful farce’ became the 66th performance at the Penge Theatre by the Court Players. 1939.
Dangerous Corner – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Another originally seen in the West End, that had the Harry Hanson adaptation for Penge. Noele featured as Freda Caplan. The Croydon Advertiser noted ‘One of the best performances is that by Noele Gordon, who has the part of Freda, and plays it with a sort of tantalising nicety that is peculiarly her own.’ 1939.
Just Married – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The farce written by Adelaide Matthews and Anne Nichols saw the action take place on a transatlantic steamer. ‘One would single out for mention Noele Gordon’ said the East Surrey Reporter, adding, ‘in the part of the apparently compromised young woman she delivered herself of a performance that fully maintained her customary high standard.’ 1939.
Rookery Nook – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Noele played the part of a newcomer to the town of Rookery Nook who ‘took shelter for the night’ and caused a stir. 1939.
The Shining Hour – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
In this Keith Winter penned story Noele portrayed Judy. 1939.
London Wall – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Set in a large London firm Noele appeared as ‘young typist Pat Milligan’ whose ‘inexperience nearly lands her in trouble’. 1939.
Cradle Snatchers – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
A first for the players at Penge when a direct from America script is staged. The Sam H. Harris story heads direct to Penge from New York USA. 1939.
Nothing But The Truth – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Following the success of Cradle Snatchers another stateside play was brought over to the UK for Harry Hanson’s theatre players. Noele played Gwenn.
‘9.45’ – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
August bank holiday entertainment was provided by the Owen Davis and Sewell Collins murder mystery 9.45. Noele played Ruth Jordon. The plot saw four confessions to a murder that turned out to be a suicide. 1939.
Whiteoaks- Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Noele gets to play her first ‘Meg’. ‘Noele Gordon infuses dash into the character of Meg’ said the Croydon Advertiser. 1939.
French Without Tears – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Following a two-year run at the Criterion Theatre, with packed houses, September 1939 saw the Court Players take on the show for a week. Noele featured as Diana Lake.
It Pays To Advertise – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The comedy play revolves around a playboy son of a soap manufacturer. Noele featured as Mary Grayson, the soap boss’ secretary. ‘Noele was as charming and capable as ever’ said East Surrey Reporter. 1939.
When We Are Married – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
A comedy with a heavy dose of ‘heavy moralising’. Noele played the youthful female opposite young male Gordon Brown. 1939.
They Walk Alone – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
A play by Max Catto described as ‘a thriller with the psychology of a Freudian drama’. The plot concerns three murders in awful circumstances. Noele played one of the farming community. 1939.
Goodness How Sad – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
This play by Robert Morley looks at the life of repertory actors. A story written by an actor, played by performers about performers. Croydon Advertiser note in their review ‘Much of what goes on provides an interesting portrayal for Noele Gordon, whose performance is both touching and humorous.’
Gas Light – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Another murder mystery at Penge Empire Theatre. 1939.
About a Horse – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
The play by Leslie Storm sees a wealthy couple having problems with their wayward son. William Roderick and Joan Carol played the married couple while Gordon Brown portrayed the son and Noele was cast as his fiancé.
Heaven and Charing Cross – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
A play about a small newsagent shop. ‘The story deals with a somewhat flighty young woman (played with full honours by Noele Gordon) who comes into the household of a newsagent (Dorothy Reynolds) via their youngest and unemployed son (Gordon Brown). The young woman is later found murdered in a canal.’ 1939.
Private Lives – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
Noele and Gordon Brown are once more teamed up as a couple in this Noel Coward play. 1939.
Daddy Longlegs – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
This story by Jean Webster was Penge Empire’s Christmas attraction for 1939. The story looks at the life of a girl brought up in an orphanage who is given a chance elsewhere. Noele played a supporting role.
Suspect – Repertory Theatre/Harry Hanson’s Court Players
A musical play about Scottish law that saw Noele sing songs such as These Foolish Things. George Black saw this performance and lured Noele over to Black Velvet. 1940.
Black Velvet – UK Tour 1940-41 / 1943 – George Black
Black Velvet went on a theatre tour in April 1940, following a stint in London (that Noele wasn’t part of). ‘Here is a show with colour and charm’ noted the Liverpool Evening Express. The Yorkshire Evening post had a special feature on Noele and how she was lured into the production from the Penge Empire while The Stage noted the run in Blackpool at the Opera House was to ‘full houses’. The Evening Dispatch noted its Hippodrome run in Birmingham was ‘particularly strong in melody and spectacle’.
Other notable places the show was staged include Coventry, Bristol, Nottingham, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Brighton, Dudley, Plymouth, Glasgow, Hull and a return to London. Other performers in the show included future ATV co-star Jean Morton and Ted Ray.
Fun and Parlour Games – Liverpool Empire – Forces Broadcast
During the Merseyside run the performers took part in a wartime Forces moral boosting broadcast live from the theatre on the evening of April 1st 1940.
Let’s Face It – West End – George Black
Noele made her West End début in this production alongside Bobby Howes. She recalled due to her ‘looks’ she was playing a middle-aged role while in her 20s. This was a musical version of Cradle Snatchers. 1941.
The Lisbon Story – West End Run and UK Tour 1943-1944 / 1945 – George Black
The theatre show was described as a ‘dramatic play with music’ rather than a musical. The book and lyrics were by Henry Purcell with music by Harry Parr Davies and dance routines by Wendy Toye.
The cast included Patrica Burke, Albert Lieven and Eleanor Fayre. Noele featured as Louise Panache. Most of the cast reprised their roles for the National Film Company’s big-screen version of the story in 1945. The West End performances took place at the London Hippodrome.
During the Second World War Noele took part in several E.N.S.A entertainment specials for troops. Co-stars at moral boosting performances included Betty Driver, Tommy Cooper, Vera Lynn and George Formby.
Cinderella – Alexandra Theatre Birmingham 1944
Noele, described by Roy Hudd as one of ‘Britain’s best principal boys’, makes her Birmingham Panto début in Cinderella. The Birmingham Daily Gazette noted ‘Noele Gordon is perhaps the best principal boy Birmingham has seen since Evelyn Laye. Elegant though her form is, she is not content – as so many principal boys – merely to strut through the part; she acts it, and acts it impressively.’
The Birmingham Daily Post in their review of the panto observed: ‘In Noele Gordon the company has enlisted an exceptional principal boy. Miss Gordon shows that Prince Charming may be more than the well-meaning aristocrat to which pantomime royalty so often and so easily runs.’ The review continues ‘Here the part is really acted, quality will out, and in both song and royal proclamation Miss Gordon infuses her part with that touch of style that sets the scene.’
The Stage reported ‘Noele Gordon as the Prince Charming, who sings her way into the affections of the audience as well as of Cinderella.’ While the Litchfield Mercury stated ‘Noele Gordon in the role of Prince Charming—one of the best principal boys ever seen on the Birmingham stage.’
Dick Whittington – Alexandra Theatre Birmingham 1945
It was back to Birmingham for another panto. ‘Gordon’s Dick Whittington is a brisk, business-like fellow with a character of his own, human and humorous. One moreover that acts his way through the story and into our favour by sheer histrionic ability.’ The Stage wrote, adding, ‘Her voice and comeliness are qualities no doubt shared by many others; but few have such a commanding presence and sheer skill to act their parts.’ The production had an extended run into March ‘46.
Star Nite Out – Nuffield Centre – June – August 1946 / May 1947 / August 1948
Noele was part of several evenings at the venue; In June ‘46 she took to the stage with Arthur Askey, Jack Warner, Tom Henry and Linda Love in a variety bill. In May 47’ she starred alongside Tommy Cooper, Frank Muir and The Three Scamps. The performances were arranged to feature former E.N.S.A stars by Mary Cook the E.N.S.A Director of Entertainment. The theatre was named after Lord Nuffield . The first establishment was in Wardour Street, London. It moved to Adelaide Street in 1948 where Noele returned for its grand opening alongside other stars such as Jimmy Edwards, Vera Lynn and Alan Russell.
Big Ben – Adelphi Theatre
London In August 1946 Noele took over Gabrielle Brune’s part in Big Ben. The Stage reported her first-night ‘was a big success’.
Red Riding Hood – Adelphi Theatre London
In December 1946 Big Ben was rested for the festive pantomime. Noele was, following her Midlands successes, kept on to star as the principal boy. The principal girl was Janet Brown, future impressionist. It also starred The Crazy Gang.
Of Noele’s performance in this production The Stage said, ‘Noele Gordon recently playing on the same stage in Big Ben, is a very handsome principal boy (I like that man said the two-year-old next to me) who can act, sing and wave a magic sword with the best. As is only right and proper she has the most rousing and tuneful songs.’
Romany Love Special – The Savoy Hotel London
The Gypsy tale usually took place at His Majesty’s Theatre, however for a special guest it moved for one afternoon only. To welcome Maurice Chevalier to the country the cast joined other West End stars for a special event.
Noele was joined by the Romany Love cast as well as C.B. Cochran, Chesney Allen and Jimmy Nervo. The whole affair was to attempt to persuade Maurice to bring his one-man show to London by Jack Hylton. March 1947.
Variety Bill – Hastings Mann Production May 1947.
Noele starred alongside Henry Lytton. Others on the bill included Binnie Hale with The Cockney Opera, Betty Blackler with Society of Dames and George Doonan, Terry Wilson and Clarkson Rose. (Location missing).
High Tide – Imperial Theatre Brighton – Jack Hylton
Following a West End run the show went on tour, lead by comedian Arthur Askey. Noele featured as did Eddie Gray. 1947.
Diamond Lil – Manchester Palace Theatre – William Mollison
A vehicle for Mae West who played the lead role of Lil. It saw Noele as ‘lil’s rival’ Rita Christina. The show also toured other establishments after Manchester including The Prince of Wales Theatre in London and the Alhambra in Glasgow. 1947-1948.
Springtime for Henry – Penge Empire – Derek Salberg
Noele joined the ‘delightful comedy’ fresh from the West End run of Diamond Lil in August 1948. Also in the cast were Anthony Howard and Joan Peart. This was the first time Noele had performed at the Penge Empire Theatre since 1940.
The Norwood News review noted ‘Springtime for Henry is scorching such enormous success for Noele Gordon on her return to Penge after eight years. She certainly gives some sleek acting and some excellent timing in her sophisticated part.’ The newspaper note that for this role Joan Gordon – Nolly’s mother – had been hired as her costume dresser.
The Last of Mrs Cheyney – Intimate Theatre London
Noele featured in this play alongside John Barron and Nicholas Parsons. 1948.
Message for Margaret – Penge Empire – Derek Salberg
Noele returned to the Empire for this short play in late September 1948. This was followed by a ‘guest role’ in Reluctant Heroes at the end of the month.
Easy Virtue- Intimate Theatre London
Noele played the female lead opposite Roger Moore in his first theatre role. 1948.
Rain – Penge Empire – John Holton
A dramatic story by William Somerset Maugham. 1948.
To Kill a Cat – Intimate Theatre London
The production also featured Jack Howarth. 1948.
Robinson Crusoe – Finsbury Park Empire – Moss Group
Leslie Sarony was cast as Billy Crusoe in this pantomime while Dicky Henderson played Will Atkins, Leslie Michael Cole as Captain and Noele as titular Robinson Crusoe. The Tiller Girls were borrowed from the London Palladium for the run, 1948-49.
Brigadoon – UK Tour – Prince Littler/Moss
Noele’s longest running theatre role as ‘tart’ Meg Brockie in the musical Brigadoon. The show boasted a 70-strong cast. It made its UK début at Manchester Opera House on March 23rd 1949.
The story set in a Scottish village and the lives of the residents. A selection of the production was broadcast by BBC Radio. By April the production had reached the West end at the and Sunday Mirror critic Dick Richards noted, ‘Fine ballets, a delightful score and spirited acting – especially by Noele Gordon – makes this Scottish fantasy a certain winner’.
The show toured into 1951 with just over 1000 performances for Noele, including 685 West End performances.
The Royal Variety Performance – London Coliseum
Noele is described by the official promotional material as a comedienne. She along with the cast of Brigadoon performed a section of the musical for the RVP. 1949.
On The Town – 1949 – Record Company Promotion
Noele Gordon stars alongside Lionel Blair in this musical promotion for a vinyl album release. (There is no record if this was performed as a longer-running show).
Variety Concert – Chiswick Empire – Moss/Prince Littler
This variety special was on behalf of the Brentford and Chiswick Old Folks’ Fund. Star turns included, as well as Noele, Jimmy Edwards, June Marsden, Bill Johnson and the Police Choir. 1950.
Variety Show – Kingston Empire
Dr Crock and his Crackpots present a bill of entertainment. Resident stars include Charlie Rossi, Rex Eaton, Hal Monty, Larry Jay and Ted Fielding. Noele sung several songs including Because of You and Nothing. 1951.
Bonar Colleano Presents – Empire Theatre Glasgow
Bonar leads a cast that features Noele working alongside Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. Noele later recalled that for a week Eric got her soaking wet in one skit involving water. Noele also performed songs with Teddy Johnston while Winifred Atwell was on the piano. 1951.
Humpty Dumpty – London Palladium – Moss Theatres
Noele appeared as the principal boy Captain Florizel, opposite Norman Evans’ dame Martha, Terry Thomas as the King of Felicia, Jean Bayless as Princess Miranda and Peggy Mount as the Witch.
While Noele moved to pantomime Stella Moray took over her Brigadoon part. The Aberdeen Evening Express noted ‘Of all the stars who glitter in the galaxy of Christmas shows in London one of the brightest will be Noele Gordon, principal boy in Humpty Dumpty at the Palladium Theatre.’ it adds ‘Such a part as Noele’s is much coveted in the West End’. 1951-52.
Bet Your Life – London Hippodrome – Jack Hylton
A new first for Noele with this production, she was cast in a key role for YBYL while also understudying the Sally Adams role for Call Me Madam. The first West End performer to be hired by two productions at the same time. You Bet Your Life was another vehicle for comedian Arthur Askey. This was also adapted for BBC TV. 1952-1953.
Maurice Chevalier – London Hippodrome – Jack Hylton
October 1953 saw Maurice and Noele reunited, this time on the three-week run of his self-titled show. Noele providing the ‘intermission’ for the launch show.
Call Me Madam – UK Tour / London Coliseum- Jack Hylton
Noele was ‘understudy’ to Billie Worth during the production’s West End run (1952) where she did at one point stand in for Billie. She took over the lead role of Sally Adams for the UK Tour. Co-stars included Arthur Lowe and Sidney Keith. During this tour The Stage reported that ‘Noele Gordon, who has been playing the principal part in ‘Call Me Madam’ on tour, is suffering from nervous strain’. The publication notes that understudy Sheila Bradley took on the part for productions in Southsea and Leeds.
Noele returned to the tour, her final theatre role before spending a year in New York studying television.
Midnight Matinee – Alexandra Theatre – Birmingham Federation of Boys’ Clubs
Variety show starring Noele Gordon as hostess with David Whitfield, Terry Hall and Lenny the Lion, The Kaye Sisters, Lonnie Donegan, Hy Hazel and the George Mitchell Singers. 1959.
Grayson’s Scandals – London Palladium – Peter Dudley/Louis Benjamin/Allan Blackburn
Larry Grayson’s big show starring Noele and Keith Harris, George Carl, Eli Woods, Bill Lynton and Kenny Day. 1974.
Royal Variety Performance – London Palladium – BBC
Noele is the first female host of the RVP. Others on the bill include comedian Ted Rogers.
Lord Mayor Appeal for Birmingham Bomb Victims (Variety ‘75) Bob Monkhouse was compère of this event that was attended by the PM and saw Noele appear alongside Lance Percival, Carl Wayne, Cyril Fletcher, Frankie Vaughan and Stan Stennett. Birmingham Hippodrome, 1975
Showstoppers – Nottingham Theatre Royal – ATV
A special theatre series recorded to be inserted into the Summer Royal programme. Co-stars included Su Pollard. 1980.
Gypsy – Leicester Haymarket – Roger Redfarn
A triumphant return to the theatre in as Gypsy Rose Lee’s mother. A sell-out success saw producers attempt to take the show to London, however the rights owners declined. The Stage noted ‘Noele Gordon and Fiona Fullerton are starring in Gypsy – the largest musical ever staged at the Haymarket, Leicester, where it opens on December 1st.’
A detailed interview with Noele in the Reading Evening Post with Roy Martin noted ‘Noele is to star in a lavish revival of the musical Gypsy, which opens for a two month run… in what will be her first major stage role in over 25 years.’
Noele told the newspaper “It’s a hell of a part and it’ll be like going up a cliff, but it was high time I returned to the theatre.” After opening night the Belfast Telegraph hosted just one of a number glowing reviews; ‘Noele Gordon made a triumphant comeback last night, just two weeks after being written out of Crossroads. Noele was back on stage for the first time in 26-years in a revival of the musical Gypsy. She took a five minute ovation from a packed house at the Haymarket after the first night of the show.” 1981-1982.
Lakeside Spectacular – Clumber Park – Nottingham Playhouse
A three day event created by Nottingham Playhouse that saw Noele perform the opening event each day. The Mansfield and Sutton Recorder noted ‘Actress Noele Gordon was besieged with autograph hunters, she had opened each days proceedings, which were part of this year’s National Trust Festival’. 1982.
Falklands Night Fundraiser – Chichester Festival Theatre
Noele joined a cast of stars to raise funds for the South Atlantic Fund. £15,500 was raised in total. Others on the bill included June Whitfield, Roy Hudd, Dulcie Gray, Arthur English, Fenella Fielding, Terry Scott, Doris Hare and Petula Clark. 1982.
The Boyfriend – Theatre Royal Plymouth – Roger Redfarn
Noele appeared as Madame Dubonnet in this musical. The production then under the production of Derek Nimmo went on a three-month tour in the Middle East, where Noele discovered she was still popular as ‘Meg’ thanks to Crossroads screenings. 1982.
Call Me Madam: Christmas Revival – Birmingham Rep – Roger Redfarn
A festive run of Irving Berlin’s Call Me Madam running from November 1982 into January 1983. Noele reprised her role as Sally Adams – the first major revival of the musical since 1953. The Stage review noted ‘The brash lady ambassador, Sally Adams, is brought to life buoyantly by Noele Gordon in a performance which, if it lacks something in vibrant power, gains a great deal from a sort of gritty warmth which makes the character grow and deepen as the plot unfolds.’
The Lichfield Mercury observed, ‘Noele Gordon’s biggest stroke of luck must have been her departure from television’s dreary soap opera Crossroads if her latest stage career is anything to go by’ adding ‘at present she is starring in Call Me Madam and it’s in a different league altogether!” While the Liverpool Echo said ‘Miss Gordon, ginger haired, plays the American ambassador of the piece like a game old duck…!’
Call Me Madam – London’s Victoria Palace – Roger Redfarn
The success of the Birmingham offering saw the production transfer to the West End in March 1983. The Stage noted, ‘Noele Gordon is an artist who engenders a tremendous amount of public warmth and sympathy, the latter entirely misplaced because the lady is not only a trouper in the grand tradition but being fired from Crossroads seems to have been the luckiest day in her life. She played the role of Miss Sally Adams in the tour of Call Me Madam 30 years ago, and though in the intervening period she has become – dare I say – somewhat stouter her vitality is far from impaired.’
The Stage continues… ‘She attacks the part of Sally Adams as if her life depends on it, belting out the numbers with only a few decibels less lung-power than Sally’s creator Ethel Merman.’ A main critical note of the musical was it was ‘old fashioned’ for the 1980s. It closed after its planned ten weeks, with no extension. The theatre said however the production had made money and had ‘good audience attendance’.
BAFTA Awards 1983 – British Film and Television Awards
At the 1983 event Noele announced The Ballroom of Romance the winner of the Best Single Drama award.
Royal Variety Gala – De Montford Hall Leicester
In the attendance of Princess Margaret Noele presented part of the evening. Others on the bill included Chas and Dave, Mike Yarwood, Dickie Henderson, Bobby Bragg and Lorna Dallas. 1983.
Harrogate Festival – Richard Digby Day
Noele performs poetry at the annual event, as well as several other events/venues over the year. 1983.
Stars Bazaar – Café Royal London – Variety Artists Guild
Noele joins Dennis Norden along with guests Gloria Hunniford, Leslie Crowther, Roy Castle, Ernie Wise, Honor Blackman and many more for a fund raiser night. 1983.
Cosima Wagner – Nottingham Playhouse – Richard Digby Day
A one-woman show about the life of Cosima Wagner with a script by Peter Watson. 1983.
Mother Goose – Belfast Opera House **
In a publicity visit for the panto the Belfast Telegraph noted, ‘The star is still a housewives favourite in Belfast. She was mobbed on a shopping spree in the city centre. Passengers in a bus brought traffic to a standstill when they made an unscheduled stop to talk to her.’
** Despite the publicity and interviews due to illness Noele was unable to run in the panto, undergoing an operation for Stomach Cancer. Mother Goose was ultimately played by Irish comedian Charlie Daze.
David Garrick – Actor and Dramatist – Lichfield Festival 1984
Noele joined actor Frank Barrie in the play alongside Honour Blackman, Harry Andrews and Marius Goring. It was Noele’s first public appearance since her cancer op.
No, No, Nanette – Theatre Royal Plymouth – Roger Redfarn
The Stage reported ‘Two of our top stars Danny La Rue and Noele Gordon look very happy about their forthcoming shows at the Theatre Royal… Noele is to star in No, No Nanette from August to September before a national tour. Danny La Rue is then to appear in the title role of Mother Goose’.
In September the publication reviewed the first night; ‘The much awaited major ‘in-house’ production by Roger Redfarn got off to a flying start at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal with a three-week run… It was indeed a brilliant performance…’ the publication continues ‘Noele Gordon received a tremendous welcome in her role of Sue Smith, the much tried wife of her spendthrift bible pusher husband, and she captured the audience with her forthright acting style as well as with her song and dance steps in ‘Take a Little Onestep’.’
Not long into the run Noele had to withdraw from the production due to the return of the cancer. This was her last acting performance. The UK tour saw Moira Lister step into the role of Sue Smith on Noele’s behalf.