1 9 5 5 – 1 9 5 8 (UK)
71 x 30 minute episodes
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).
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.
Leslie’s next stop was Australia as Director of Programme Development for the Seven Network where they made a brand new 13-part series in 1969 also called Joan and Leslie. The black & white series centred around Joan and Leslie as two middle-aged British immigrants who have just arrived in Australia. 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.