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Joan and Leslie

1 9 5 5 – 1 9 5 8 (UK)

Husband and wife comedy team Leslie Randall and Joan Reynolds starred in Joan and Leslie.

Leslie was a journalist who wrote an agony-aunt column under the pen-name of Dorothy Goodheart and Joan was a “resting” actor, performing the role of his stereotypical, dutiful wife.

The programme debuted as Leslie Randall Entertains on the second Sunday of ITV’s transmission (2 October 1955), then switched to the title Joan and Leslie towards the end of the first series, which consisted of 15-minute episodes.

Some of the episodes were transmitted from London’s Hackney Empire and all the episodes went out live, which restricted most of the action to the couple’s flat above the garage of their friend Mike (Harry Towb).

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Noele Dyson played housemaid, Mrs Henshaw. She later played a very similar role to Patrick Cargill’s family in Father Dear Father.

Two subsequent series were extended to 30 minutes and, by the final run, Reynolds and Randall were earning the then huge sum of £12,000 a year each. A sequel, The Randall Touch (1958), ran for 12 episodes.

The couple also did nine years of Fairy Snow commercials, after which Leslie went to New York to work in nightclubs and to star on the prestigious Ed Sullivan Show.

He then moved to Hollywood to appear in The Monkees and I Dream Of Jeannie and then to the University of California to study film production.

Leslie’s next stop was Australia as Director of Programme Development for the Seven Network where they made a brand new series also called Joan and Leslie, although it never aired in the UK.

Upon returning to England in 1972 he concentrated on writing. His plays included Forty Love (with Bernard Cribbins) and Death Of A Comic. He also wrote two radio series’ for himself and Warren Mitchell, entitled This Is Living?

Following the couple’s divorce in 1978, Reynolds became a medical secretary and never acted again.  She died on 13 May 2011.

Joan
Joan Reynolds
Leslie
Leslie Randall
Mike
Harry Towb
Mrs Henshaw
Noele Dyson