BACK HOME AGAIN (1980 – 1984)

The early 1980s were still busy years for the Booths. They appeared in several TV talk shows. The studio audiences were made up of many of their old fans who were delighted to see their favourites still looking very glamorous indeed. Anne turned 70 in 1980, while Webster was 78. It looked as though they were as much in love then as the day they married in 1938. In late 1981 Webster’s health began to fail. He had to wait until January before he could have surgery done at the Royal Liverpool Hospital on 15 January 1982. He was not looking forward to spending his eightieth birthday in hospital.

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The early 1980s were still busy years for the Booths. They appeared in several TV talk shows. The studio audiences were made up of many of their old fans who were delighted to see their favourites still looking very glamorous indeed. Anne turned 70 in 1980, while Webster was 78. It looked as though they were as much in love then as the day they married in 1938. In late 1981 Webster’s health began to fail. He had to wait until January before he could have surgery done at the Royal Liverpool Hospital on 15 January 1982. He was not looking forward to spending his eightieth birthday in hospital.

At home. 1980.
10 February 1980 – with Jess Yates and his girlfriend, Katie Brooks.
May 1980
3 to 10 May 1980. 35th anniversary of Victory in Europe.
30 June 1980. Report by Gordon Irving in South African newspapers.
This was a popular presentation which Anne and Webster presented around the country. Each took a turn to tell their individual life story and sang a few songs together to round the evening off.
19 September 1980 – Anne and Webster had coached Peter and Jackie while they were appearing in a summer show in Llandudno.
September 1980
29 January 1981 on the Russell Harty show. Webster had just had his 78th birthday a week earlier.
Some of the elderly fans in the studio audience.
6 February 1981 – Report from Gordon Irving in South African newspapers.
8 January 1982. In a letter to me, Webster referred to the article by Gordon Irving.
5 March 1981 – another appearance on Russell Harty’s TV show.
29 May 1981. Royal Variety Performance, Blackpool.
After the performance. Webster can be seen in the far left of the photo. When they were presented to Prince Charles he asked whether they were married!
13 August 1981. The Time of Your Life.
At the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary party for Jean and Maurice Buckley – 1981. I used this photo for the cover of my book, Sweethearts of Song.
Webster at the Buckley’s Silver Anniversary party, North Wales.
September 1981
1982 – review of a reissue of The Gondoliers from 1932.
1983 Border Television
Only a Rose TV interview 1983 Penrhyn Bay and Llandudno.
1983 Only a Rose TV interview
With the Firmanis – Only a Rose TV interview 1983.
Visiting the Buckleys. 1983.

Early on 22 June, Anne’s seventy-fourth birthday I received a call from Janet Swart, whom I had first encountered as Janet Goldsborough, singing in Mrs MacDonald-Rouse’s concert party. She was a regular listener to BBC World Service and knew of my association with Anne and Webster. She was thoughtful enough to let me know that it had been announced on News about Britain that morning that Webster had died in the early hours of the 21 June. I will always be grateful to Janet for making that call to me, as I would have been completely devastated to have heard such news in the media. I had been expecting him to die sooner or later, but it was still a great shock and deep sadness to me to hear the sad news of his death.

Webster had been at home for five or six weeks when he tripped on the doorstep as he was hurrying to get into the car with Anne to drive to the local park to take Bonnie for a walk. He suffered a severe blow to his head and was bleeding profusely. Anne struggled to get him into the car to take him to hospital, where he was treated in Casualty and sent home again, much to Anne’s consternation as she thought he should have been admitted to hospital after his fall.


During the night he developed pneumonia. She phoned the doctor who refused to make a night call to see him, so it was only in the morning that he was indeed admitted into hospital, as he should have been on the previous day. Anne stayed with him throughout the day. When she left in the evening she asked the staff to let her know at once if he was deteriorating so that she could return to the hospital right away. Sadly nobody phoned her when his condition deteriorated. She had spent a sleepless night, and phoned the hospital herself in the early hours of the morning, only to be told that his condition had worsened and he would probably not last until she reached the hospital.

Webster Booth, one of Britain’s finest tenors, died alone in his hospital bed in the early hours of 21 June 1984. Anne was devastated at his death, and furious at the poor medical treatment he had received during his last illness. The only thing that kept her going in the dark days after his death was Bonnie, the beloved Yorkshire terrier who had to be fed and walked each day.

22 June 1984.
25 June 1984. Obituary. Times
25 June 1984 – Rand Daily Mail.
28 June 1984 The Stage.
Write-up in the North Wales Weekly news – 28 June 1984, mentioning Jean Buckley who, at that time was a close friend and had done a great deal to help Anne during Webster’s final illness.

Babs Wilson-Hill was abroad at the time of Webster’s death so Anne delayed the cremation service until she arrived home. This placed an extra strain on Anne as she waited for the funeral to take place. Obituaries appeared in the national newspapers and once again there were mountains of post, this time with letters of condolence from friends and fans who remembered Webster with affection. There were far too many letters to answer personally so Anne had a letter of thanks printed to be sent to everyone who had written and it was Jean and Maurice who helped her to address all these letters

Peter Firmani, a tenor from Rotherham whom they had coached, sang I’ll Walk Beside You at the cremation service. Webster’s son Keith was heartbroken at his father’s death and found the service very harrowing. Jean and Maurice Buckley held a reception at their home for those who had attended the funeral.

The Star – 29 June 1984 – Gordon Irving, the UK correspondent for the Star Tonight wrote the obituary. He had it wrong about Webster being divorced by his first wife. In fact, he was divorced by his second wife with the stage name of Paddy Prior, whose name was indeed Dorothy Annie Alice Prior. He had divorced his first wife, mother of his son, Keith, Winifred Keey, in 1931 due to her adultery.
21 July 1984 – Only a Rose repeated.
Memorial Service. St Paul’s Covent Garden.
30 October 1984 – Memorial Service, St Paul’s -Anne and Evelyn Laye.
30 October 1984 – Memorial Service, St Paul’s -Anne and Evelyn Laye.

A memorial service was arranged for Webster at noon on 20 October 1984 at St Paul’s Church, the Actors’ Church in Covent Garden. Evelyn Laye read the lesson; David Welsby a BBC producer from Pebble Mill, Birmingham, with whom they had worked, did the Appreciation; Peter Firmani sang I’ll Walk Beside You once again. Despite Jean and Maurice’s kindness to Anne and Webster, they were not invited to this service.

The Reverend John Arrowsmith officiated at the service, assisted by the Precentor of Lincoln Cathedral, Canon David Rutter, who represented the choir school where Webster had spent his youth as a chorister. Webster’s ashes were buried in the ground of the Garden of Remembrance at St Paul’s. Keith, who had been so upset at the cremation service, decided not to attend the Memorial Service as he could not bear to go through another harrowing farewell to his father. Pictures of Anne and Evelyn Laye appeared in several national newspapers. Anne said that it was only when Webster’s ashes were buried in the grounds of the Churchyard that she finally realised that he was indeed dead and would never return.

Anne and Webster’s names had been linked for nearly fifty years. They had been married for forty-five years and, unlike most married couples who worked in different places, they had hardly spent any time apart. There were no children from the marriage. Anne was to live on her own in the bungalow in Penrhyn Bay for another nineteen years.

Jean Collen 27 May 2019.

All extracts in this post are taken from my book, Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.

Updated by Jean Collen on 26 July 2019.

BROADCASTS ON THEIR RETURN TO THE UK (1978 – 1997)

 

These were the last broadcasts featuring Anne and Webster on their return to the UK in 1978. This is a photo of Anne and Webster shortly after their return with Penny, a dog to whom Webster was deeply devoted.

 

Woman’s HourBBC Radio 2, 6 May 1970 14.01 Introduced by: Marjorie Anderson. ANNE ZIEGLER and WEBSTER BOOTH talk to SUE MACGREGOR. JILL BALCON. They were living in Knysna, South Africa when this broadcast was recorded.

Woman’s Hour – BBC Radio 4 FM, 12 May 1978 13.45 Introduced from Wales by Sue MacGregor. In Harmony: ANNE ZIEGLER and WEBSTER BOOTH have recently set up home in Wales after 20 years in South Africa.

  1978 – BBC Afternoon. Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, interviewed by Mavis Nicholson

Pierrots and Fol de Rols – BBC Radio 4 FM, 23 May 1979 19.45 Cyril Fletcher revives memories of Concert Party with the help of many stars and personalities who started their careers there, including ARTHUR ASKEY, JACK WARNER, STANLEY HOLLOWAY, LESLIE CROWTHER, BILL PERTWEE, WALTER MIDGLEY, ANNE ZIEGLER and WEBSTER BOOTH, ELSIE AND DORIS WATERS, and GREATREX NEWMAN. Research by GREATREX NEWMAN and BILL PERTWEE. Producer MICHAEL FORD BBC Birmingham.

29 August 1979. 6.20 pm Wyn Calvin, BBC Radio Wales, It’s a Grand Night for Singing. Jess Yates introduces half an hour of music with additional guests, Margaret Lacey, Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler. Producer: David Richards.Director: Islywyn Maelor Evans.

Lovers Come Back – BBC Radio 4 FM, 21 December 1979 16.10 The lives and music of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, written and presented by Frank Dixon. You could be well into your 40s without knowing what Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth meant to those of us who were around during and after the war. Anne and Webster were – and still are – all about romance. Judi Goodwin met and interviewed Anne Ziegler and Webster BoothProducer Herbert SmithBBC Manchester.
1 April 1980. Granada Television. Liz Howell at Rhos-On-Sea, North Wales. Brief interview with Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler.
Click on the link to see the video. 1980 ONLY A ROSE TV APPEARANCE
Only a Rose (Radio Series) – BBC Radio 2, 6 August 1980 21.15  Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth recall on-stage memories and back-stage glimpses of many of the great artists they have met in the theatre, concert hall and studio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2nvwoxe5h0
Producer DAVID WELSBY BBC Birmingham.Part of Anne and Webster’s reminiscences in the Only a Rose series. More may be heard on YouTube or at Ziegler Booth Radio.

 

2 October 1980 – Nationwide. BBC 1 Television. Laurie Mayer reports from Conwy where Jess Yates, former presenter of ITV’S Stars on Sunday, has lived in seclusion since his career was destroyed by the Press, especially News of World when they discovered he was living with KAY, a girl half his age, in 1974; & interviews YATES, his companion Anita Kay, Katie Brooks, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth (former singing stars, & friends of YATES. ZIEGLER & BOOTH sing to his accompaniment on electric organ.

 

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January 29 1981 – BBC Two. 8.30 Russell Chat show, with Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth as guests. Anne criticised the low standard of South Africans fledgling TV service. Russell Harty with his guests Dorothy Stevens & Saxon (dog who stars in films/TV), Paul Breeze & wife Lynn, Anne Ziegler & Webster Booth (old radio singing stars). Ziegler & Booth talk about their marriage, why they went to South Africa & type of life they led, now back & living in N.Wales.

5 March 1981 – Russell Harty Show, BBC 2 Television. Live show from the Palace Theatre Manchester to celebrate its imminent reopening. Harty gives a history of the theatre & there are performances by and interviews with old performers. Nat Mills, Arthur English, Eric Hawkesworth paper tearer, Gill Banks and Sid Green Stagehands, Nat Jackley, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.

Russell Harty – BBC Two England, 20 April 1981 20.30 presents some of the memorable people, performances and happenings from his recent venture into the unpredictable world of live television, including Rod Stewart, Hot Gossip, Hercules the Bear, Peter O’Toole, Lily Tomlin, Shakin’ Stevens, The Hallé Choir, Sooty, Diana Dors, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, Jan Leeming and, of course, Grace Jones. Producers TOM GUTTERIDGE, KEN STEPHINSON. Editor GORDON WATTS

30 July 1981 – Recording started at Grampian last week of a new six-part series in which well-known people who have left the limelight are interviewed about how they have made new lives for themselves. Jimmy Mack is the interviewer for the series, which is for half -hour slots. In the first programme two former singing duos are interviewed, Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson and Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.Chris Kay is producer and director of the series, called The Time of Your Lives, and it will be shown in the Grampian area in the autumn.

13 August 1981 with Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson

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Ah, Yes! I Remember it Well BBC Radio 2, 11 April 1982 21.00 Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, in company with The William Hand Ensemble, Harold Rich at the piano and artists on record, look back at some of the music, people and events that hold special memories for them in more than 50 years of music making. Producer DAVID WELSBY BBC Birmingham.

19 November 1982 60 Years – Local Radio Remembers BBC. A programme from the Savoy Hotel to celebrate the BBC Diamond Jubilee. Contributions from Doris Hare, Elsie Waters, Charlie Chester, Dame Anna Neagle,
Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.Music by Midnite Follies Orchestra, with
Ian Stewart (piano), Peter Duncan, Maurice Denham, Leslie Mitchell, Richard Murdoch, Percy Edwards, Henry Hall, Tony Wadsworth, Susan Briggs, Hugh Wontner, Joan Childs, Jean Melville, Basil Vernon, Reg Patrick, Judy Shirley, Charles Max-Muller, Margery Porter, Henry Hatch, Tommy Wadsworth, Anne Lenner, Al Baum, (speakers) John Parry, Evette Davis (vocalists)

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The Golden Years – BBC Radio 2, 18 April 1984 22.00 Recalling the ballads of yesterday, and the much-loved artists who sang them, including music by Webster Booth, Anne Ziegler and Peter Dawson. Compiled and presented by Alan Keith. Producer TIM MCDONALD
Only a Rose.- BBC Two England, 31 July 1984 18.15Webster Booth, one of the finest British tenors of this century, died on 21 June this year, aged 82. In this film, made exactly a year before his death, he and his wife and partner Anne Ziegler talk about their career to James Hogg of Nationwide. It was Webster’s last television appearance. Producer JULIA MCLAREN. ONLY A  ROSE
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 The Golden Years – BBC Radio 2, 26 November 1986 22.30 A sentimental look at the much-loved singers of the past, including Webster Booth, Anne Ziegler and Paul Robeson. Compiled and presented by Alan Keith. Producer MONICA COCKBURN.
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Anne Ziegler (Series) – BBC Radio 2, 19 July 1987 18.30 presents some of her favourite records collected during more than 50 years of music making. Producer DAVID WELSBY BBC Pebble Mill.
It’s a Funny Business – BBC Radio 2, 14 October 1987 22.00 says Anne Ziegler. For 45 years, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth were the most popular man and wife partnership in show business. Mike Craig encourages Anne to reminisce about their long, successful career. BBC Manchester.. Presenter and Producer: Mike Craig.
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22 September 1989 – BBC2. 7.30-8.00 pm, A Hundred Not Out: Centenary of the Blackpool Opera House. Programme Number RNWF933Y, Recorded on 26 July 1989. John Mundy narrates a programme about the Blackpool Opera House, celebrating its 100 year anniversary. Lord Delfont unveils roll of honour to commemorate the centenary. Among others, Anne Ziegler recalls the glamour of the shows. Featuring Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Mike Craig, Ken Dodd, Cilla Black, Frank Carson, Mike Yarwood, Marti Webb, Charlie Chester, Formby, Tommy, Bobby Ball, Stanley Holloway, Jimmy Jewell, Bernard Delfont, Bill Waddington, Brian Crompton, Anne Ziegler, Betty Driver, Harold Fielding, Ben Warris, Josef Locke, Ken Robinson, (theatre-goer), Alfred Black, (theatre producer), Lisa Waddington, George Black (theatre producer), Dickie Hurran, Elizabeth Buzzard,Jack Taylor (theatre producer), Peter Rigby Camera), Bernie Lowe (Camera), Mel Cross (Camera), John Mundy (Narrator), Terry Wheeler (Producer).
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The Golden Years (Series) BBC Radio 2, 30 January 1991 21.30 Last in the series featuring the great ballad singers of yesterday on record. This week featuring Richard Crooks, Lily Morris, Heddle Nash , John McCormack ,Norman Allin , Peter Dawson , Anne Ziegler and Webster BoothPresented by Alan Keith. Producer Bridget Apps.
The Seven AgesBBC Radio 2, 16 October 1991 21.30 In the last programme of the series, Anne Ziegler talks to Peter Haigh about one of the best-loved musical partnerships of the 40s and 50s – Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth – and introduces some of her favourite recordings.Producer:  David Welsby.
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 The Webster Booth StoryBBC Radio 2, 28 June 1994 21.00 Robin Gregory recalls the life and career of the great English tenor Leslie Webster Booth, who died ten years ago this month. Booth’s widow and former singing partner Anne Ziegler shares her memories of an artist who was equally at home in oratorio or variety. Other comments come from impresario Harold Fielding,  accompanist Gladys Midgley and presenter Brian Kay, and the programme includes examples of Booth’s solo and duet recordings. Contributors to programme: Wife/soprano: Anne Ziegler, son Keith Leslie Booth, brother Edwin Norman Booth, impresario: Harold Fielding, Accompanist: Gladys Midgley (née Vernon), Former Kings Singer: Brian Kay, and soprano Lorely Dyer, second wife of Stanford Robinson. Presenter: Robin Gregory. Writer: Stephen Pattinson. Producer  Anthony Wills.
 —————————————————————————————————————————————-The Robinsons at the BBC – BBC Radio 2, 14 May 1996 21.00 Ian Wallace examines the very different conducting careers of brothers Stanford and Eric Robinson. Gwen Catley, Larry Adler, Anne Ziegler and Ivor Emmanuel are among those who recall their association with popular long-running series such as Music for You and Tuesday Serenade, and there are archive extracts featuring Maggie Teyte, Gigli and Jack Benny. Researcher Stephen Pattinson, Producer Anthony Wills.
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Radio’s Golden Greats – BBC Radio 2, 25 October 1997 19.30 As part of the BBC’s 75th anniversary, Roy Hudd presents a gala concert from Alexandra Palace, London. Robin Stapleton conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra, with guest artists paying tribute to, among others, Anne Ziegler , Bud Flanagan and Joyce Grenfell. During the interval, Bob Sinfield looks at major events at the BBC during the war years. Producer Alan Boyd.

                                     Anne and Webster in 1983, the year before Webster’s death.

 
Compiled by Jean Collen (2014)
Updated: May 2017.

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