Petula Clark reveals Elvis Presley asked her for a THREESOME
The legendary singer is a guest on Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh this morning at 10am on ITV. Set in the heart of Hampshire, Alan’s show celebrates everything that is great about the UK’s countryside, including art, crafts and produce. This week, Alan welcomes Petula, who opens up about her long and glittering career, while actress Fiona Dolman also makes an appearance to discuss Misdomer Murders.
Former doctor-turned-comedian Adam Key, who recounted his absurd and strange time working for the NHS in bestseller This Is Going To Hurt, also joins Alan to chat about the power of laughter.
The Sunday morning programme also explores the best of British Chardonnay and takes a look at the ancient art of horseback falconry.
Petula has sold more than 68 million records worldwide in a career spanning seven decades, and sang a number of global hits including ‘Downtown’, ‘I Know a Place’ and ‘My Love’ in the Sixties.
The singer was sometimes dubbed in the US as ‘the First Lady of the British Invasion’, but before her State-side success, Petula was a child entertainer during World War 2.
Petula was both child actor and singer before her Downtown fame
Pertula made her radio debut on the BBC Empire Service in October 1942
Petula made her radio debut on the BBC Empire Service in October 1942, when she was just nine, on a request programme called ‘It’s All Yours’.
She sang ‘Mighty Lak a Rose’ for her uncle who was serving in Iraq, and received such a positive reception that two months later she was invited to perform alongside the likes of Vera Lynn and Michael Redgrave at the Queensbury All-Services Club.
Petula went on to rack up over 500 concert appearances before she was 12 and was soon dubbed the UK’s Shirley Temple and “Radio Merry Mimic”.
While performing at the Royal Albert Hall, Petula was spotted by film producer Maurice Elvery and was offered the part as the precocious orphan in ‘Medal for the General’, which was released in 1944.
Petula was just nine when she made her breakthrough
Petula went on to rack up over 500 concert appearances before she was 12
That year, her father had introduced the young starlet to theatre, when he took her to see Flora Robson in a production of Mary Stuart.
According to biographer Andrea Kon, Petula later recalled: “I made up my mind there and then I was going to be an actress. I wanted to be Ingrid Bergman more than anything else.”
In quick succession, she went on to appear in ‘Strawberry Roan’, ‘I Know Where I’m Going!’, ‘London Town’ and in the Huggett Family films.
She played her first starring role in ‘Don’t Ever Leave Me’ in 1949 aged 16, while in the Fifties the young adult would co-star along Alec Guinness in ‘The Card’ and earn a BAFTA nomination for her performance in ‘White Corridors’.
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Petula Clark continued her singing career as a young adult in the Fifties
Petula also hosted several of her own television programmes including ‘Petula Clark’, ‘Pets Parlour’ and ‘The Petula Clark Show’.
Of course, during this period the young star also continued to perform music, singing songs for the BBC to overseas forces in ‘Calling All Forces’.
Petula cut her first recording, ‘House in the Sky’/ ‘Put Your Shoes on Lucy’ in June 1949 for the Columbia label, but it would be another five years until she scored her first chart success.
In 1954, 21-year-old Petula’s ‘The Little Shoemaker’ reached the top 10 in the UK charts, while the song was number one in Australia.
Petula married husband Claude Wolff in 1961
More than fifty hits would follow, including ‘Suddenly There’s a Valley’, ‘Majorca’ and ‘With All My Heart’.
In 1957, Petula was invited to appear at the Paris Olympia where, despite a bad cold, she received massive acclaim and launched a new European career for herself.
The following day, she was invited to Vogue Records to discuss a contract, and met her future publicist, collaborator and husband Claude Wolff.
Upon being told she would be working alongside Claude, the singer reportedly signed with the Vogue label, and embarked on a concert tour of France and Belgium with Sacha Distel.
In France Petula went onto perform with greats such as Serge Gainsbourg
Petula was dubbed in the US as “the First Lady of the British Invasion’
Petula’s career as a French chanteuse even rivalled the likes of Edith Piaf, as the UK singer toured and worked with stars of the continent including Jacques Brul, Charles Aznavour and Serge Gainsbourg.
In addition to her newfound success in France, Petula also began to find success with songs that had been recorded in German and Italian, while one of her hits, ‘Ya Ya Twist’ even found its way on to the UK Top 20 charts.
Despite scoring number ones across Europe, Petula was allegedly urged by friends to record something in English, and in 1964 aged 31 she was presented by composer Tony Hatch with a prospective new song ? Downtown.
She recorded Downtown later that year and, without any promotion, the song reached Number 1 in the US.
She beat the Beatles to a Grammy for Best Rock and Roll Recording for the song and became the first UK female to sell a million records in the US.
Watch ITV’s Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh this morning at 10am.