Friday, 1 April 2016

Why Do You Bother?

Best known these days for her long running role as Audrey Roberts in the even longer-running TV soap Coronation Street, Susan Frances Nicholls (born 23 November 1943) got her first big break in the infamous soap opera Crossroads.

Sue Nicholls played Marilyn Gates on Crossroads from 1964-68. A storyline saw waitress, occasional receptionist (and, later, Vicar's wife) Marilyn become a nightclub singer, performing the song Where Will You Be?, co-written by husband a wife team Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent (Hatch also wrote the theme tune to Crossroads, later covered by Paul McCartney and Wings) on the show. Issued as a single by Pye Records, Where Will You Be? charted in July 1968, eventually reaching number 17 in the UK Singles Chart.

Although goodness knows why, because it’s awful.

Sue’s clipped RADA vocals betray her ‘posh bird’ roots, and she sounds, frankly, ludicrous. Not a surprise really: her father was Sir Harmar Nicholls, later Lord Harmar-Nicholls, Conservative MP for Peterborough (1950–1974) and MEP for Greater Manchester South (1979–1984); Sue should be correctly addressed as ‘The Honourable Susan Nicholls’.

Still, Sue clearly thought she had something, because she left Crossroads to pursue a career in music. Her character, however, stayed: actress Nadine Hanwell took over the role. It’s testament to the pulling power of TV that her first disc was ever a hit – the follow up All the Way to Heaven/I’ll be Waiting For You (both also written by Hatch and Trent) failed to chart. Undeterred, she enjoyed a short career in a cabaret – at one point singing between strip acts at a nightclub in Vienna – before returning to the stage and, eventually, to our TV screens.

She played the role of secretary Joan Greengross in the hit BBC sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976–79) and its seldom-seen sequel The Legacy of Reginald Perrin (1996), and will be remembered by people of a certain age as as Nadia Popov in the kids’ TV series Rentaghost. In the same year that The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin finished she joined the cast of Coronation Street, playing the part of Gail’s mother Audrey ever since.

Here are both sides of Sue’s first 45, Where Will You Be? and its flip Every Day.



  1. Thanks. I bought this for pence in a charity shop and was pleasantly surprised by the perky, if slightly off-key, B side.

  2. check out similar moronic stuff at


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