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Brave Bernie Nolan

The sad news has just been announced that brave and beautiful Bernadette Nolan has passed away at the age of 52. The mother of one lost her three year battle against breast cancer this morning and I so wish that the outcome could have been different. Even though Bernie had made no secret of the fact that her illness was terminal and gave interviews earlier this year admitting that she didn’t have long to live, everyone who knew of her plight was deeply moved and we prayed that Bernie might be granted the miracle she was so desperately hoping for so that she would be able to see her beloved daughter Erin grow up and of course have more time with her husband of seventeen years, Steve Doneathy.

Nostalgia Pie doesn’t do sad. One of the reasons why I started this blog is because I wanted everyone to experience that fuzzy, warm glow they get from wonderful long-forgotten memories that have suddenly been rediscovered. So that’s how we’re going to remember the lovely Bernie Nolan, with fondness, because even though I didn’t know her personally, she didn’t come across as a woman who did sad either – and her final interviews are testament to that.

People of my mother’s generation will remember Bernie as part of The Nolan’s: the all singing, all dancing super talented group of Anglo-Irish sisters who hailed from Blackpool. They were most popular during the 1970s and early 1980s but they remained well known throughout the years, with the sisters – including Colleen Nolan – turning their hands to acting and television presenting while still being active in the music industry. They are well remembered for their 1979 hit, I’m In The Mood For Dancing

However, I first saw Bernie on television, when I was a child and she was appearing in a children’s’ TV show. I cannot remember the name of the show (I must have been very young) but I do remember that her sister Linda was also appearing and that there was a lot of gunge involved! Many years later, I saw her in the television role for which I best remember her – playing Diane Murray in Channel 4 soap Brookside. Her character was a devout Catholic second wife to a man who had three children from his first marriage. Even though Diane loved being stepmother to the kids, she couldn’t fight the longing she had for a baby of her own. Viewers shared her highs and lows as she struggled to become a mum. Sadly it never happened, and her character was eventually killed off.

Diane Murray was one of my favourite characters in the soap. There was something genuine, compassionate and warm about the character. Most actors often say that they have to inject a little bit of themselves into the character that they are playing in order to make them convincing. And I’m sure Bernie put a lot of herself into playing Diane Murray. As a star of stage and screen, Bernie had the most dynamic presence; an open face with soulful eyes and the most amazing smile that lit up her entire face. Prior to her illness, she came across as effortlessly glamorous. Even when the cancer caused her to lose her gorgeous blonde locks, she still looked stunning. That, to me, is a sign of true inner beauty. And it is for this inner beauty that she should be remembered by her fans. Not to mention her amazing singing voice.

I sincerely hope that the press will not label her ‘tragic’ Bernie Nolan which is a tag that often befalls anyone in the public eye who has endured suffering, pain, loss and tragedy, because when you look at pictures of her smiling, she looks anything but tragic. Even during some of her final interviews there seemed to be a sense of peacefulness that radiated from her. Bernie, herself, said that she did not want to be remembered as someone suffering from cancer:

‘Cancer has become a part of my journey but it’s not the whole story. There’s so much more to me than that. I’m a wife, mother, daughter, singer, actress, sister, friend and auntie. Those are the roles I want to define me.’

And that’s exactly how she’ll be defined. I hope her family and friends find comfort in knowing that even though they were the ones who were fortunate enough to know and love her, the millions who loved watching this very talented lady thought she was incredibly remarkable too.

Thank you for the years of entertainment, Bernie. Sleep peacefully.

 

 

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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Gone Too Soon

 

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The Terrorvision Song Contest

My lovely hubby who hails from the good old U.S of A has just experienced his first ever Eurovision Song Contest. He laughed at the tactical voting; thought the entertainment during the interval was cheesy; cringed at some of the ridiculous acts; questioned whether or not some of the countries were technically part of Europe; wondered what the hell the wardrobe department were thinking; expressed surprise at the low placing of the United Kingdom and marvelled at how next year’s show would coincidentally be held in the country of the winning entry. Er…

Welcome to the wonderful, weird and wacky world of Eurovision!

The Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest

Even though I now think that Eurovision is a bit old hat and only tune in to watch the voting – if at all – I didn’t always feel like that. Eurovision was a big deal in our house every year as my mum’s enthusiasm would rub off on all of us. Dinner would be out of the way and we would all be huddled on the sofa as we prepared for three hours of what our unsophisticated young minds considered to be great family entertainment. Snacks would have been bought at least a week in advance and we would all chomp our way through the United Kingdom’s latest disaster; Ireland’s new victory and yet another nil points for Luxembourg.

The Godfather of Eurovision, Terry Wogan

The Godfather of Eurovision, Terry Wogan

However, there were some highlights and I’m glad that I was able to witness some classic moments. I loved Michael Ball’s cheesy dancing; Frances Ruffelle’s suggestive moves; Sonia’s vibrant performance; enjoyed seeing the first ever entry by a transsexual artist; seeing the same artist take the most amusing tumble on stage a year later; listening to the powerful vocals of Niamh Kavanagh and ‘Mr. Eurovision’ himself, Johnny Logan; watching the United Kingdom bring it home with Katrina and the Waves in 1997… and lose it abysmally in 2003 by getting their first ever nil points courtesy of Jemini. And who could forget the dulcet tones of one Terry Wogan who provided the witty commentary every year until 2008? Wogan was to Eurovision what Noel Edmonds is to Christmas.

Johnny Logan: Am I the only one who thinks that he looked like Patrick Swayze?

Johnny Logan: Am I the only one who thinks that he looked like Patrick Swayze?

One of my favourite entries was back in 1988 when Scott Fitzgerald represented the UK with the tear jerking ballad Go. I may have been very young at the time but even I couldn’t mistake the power, emotion and meaning in the song. Anyone who watched Eurovision that year will also remember how fierce the voting was and the nail biting race to the finish line as it looked as though a well deserved victory for the United kingdom was imminent. Sadly victory belonged to Switzerland that year as we were beaten by one measly point. The singer who secured Switzerland’s win was a Canadian girl with bad teeth, a dodgy perm and we all believed that once the fuss died down, she’d just fade into obscurity.

Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald

However the singer, Celine Dion, had other ideas…

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Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Old School Stuff

 

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