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I saw Julie Andrews' parents sing on Workers' Playtime at Wolverhampton

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 20, 2014

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HOW many Bugle readers remember Workers' Playtime?

It was a radio variety programme transmitted by the BBC between 1941 and 1964. Originally intended as a morale-booster for industrial workers in Britain during World War Two, the programme was broadcast at lunchtime, three times a week, live from a factory canteen "somewhere in Britain," initially on the BBC Home Service (now Radio 4) and, from 1957, on the Light Programme (now Radio 2), until 1964. In 1946/47 a small firm called Baelz Equipment, located in part of the old Sunbeam factory complex in Moorfield Road, Wolverhampton, was chosen for a live version of this show.

The headline act was Gert and Daisy (aka Elsie and Doris Waters, sisters of Jack Warner who in 1955 became a household name for his role of PC George Dixon in the television series Dixon of Dock Green.

At the time of this recording I was employed at Contactor Switchgear and our workforce was invited to augment their employers to attend this live show held in their canteen.

One of the supporting acts was a married couple, unusually the male was a singer and his wife accompanied him on the piano. During the performance he took time out to eulogise over the singing talents of his 12-year-old daughter. Now I immediately took this as another 'rose-coloured spectacle' view of a proud parent. However, such was his eloquence that I made a mental note of this incident.

Many years later I was to learn that this was not an exaggeration because the supporting act in question was Ted and Barbara Andrews and the daughter was Julie Andrews.

Her voice, quality and range, simply are:

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Bernard H. Francis,

25 Moorside Gardens, Parkbrook, Walsall.

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