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EXCLUSIVE: Joanna Lockwood reflects on Cop Shop and how she really feels about that striptease scene

''You could say I’ve semi-retired from showbiz.''

By Woman's Day team
Joanna Lockwood bursts into a big smile and brims with affection when recalling her days as one of the original stars of TV's iconic series Cop Shop.
"It was such a happy show to work on. Cop Shop was a career highlight for me, and I've had the privilege of being part of some great shows during my 62 years in showbiz," beams Joanna, as she welcomes Woman's Day into her home, nestled by the Bellinger River in northern NSW.
"Everyone got on famously, there were no crazy egos. I've made lifelong friends of Cop Shop co-stars like Paula Duncan and Lynda Stoner, who are godmothers to my daughter Hayley. Funnily enough, I'm regularly mistaken for Paula when people stop to say hello. They say, 'I know you – you're Paula Duncan.' But oddly, Paula is never mistaken for me!" laughs Joanna, 72.
"It was such a happy show to work on." (Image: Phillip Castleton)
In 1977, Joanna made her eye-popping Cop Shop debut as Valerie Close doing a saucy striptease in the show's first episode.
"She was a stripper with a heart of gold. Eventually Valerie won the love of Peter Adam's tough detective Jeff Johnson and we married on screen. The striptease scene was the first I shot for Cop Shop and I was terrified! I was wearing a sequinned dress with an orange feather boa.
"The dress was not lined, and every time I went to seductively peel it off, the threads on the inside threatened to tear off my pasties, which were covering my nipples," recalls Joanna with a grimace.
"Ian Crawford, who was directing that episode, became very frustrated that I kept stopping mid-strip, meaning take after retake. I was petrified of exposing my bare bosoms to the world!
"She was a stripper with a heart of gold." (Image: Phillip Castleton)
"He called a lunch break and asked the wardrobe girls to sew a lining in the dress. At that point, Cop Shop was my biggest TV role, and it was very daunting. Talk about a baptism by fire!
"The striptease scene shocked viewers, but was a rating bonanza," she recalls.
Joanna began her showbiz career in 1960. Aged 10, she appeared in a pantomime opposite her father, the late, great British-born entertainer Johnny Lockwood, who became a household name as deli owner Aldo Godolfus in TV's infamous '70s sex and sin soapie Number 96.
"After the panto, Dad and I went on to do a double act, which toured the clubs. I sang and danced, but Dad warned me that showbiz was risky, so I went off to business college.
"Eventually the lure of the footlights became too great, so I honed my own nightclub act, and supported some of the great international stars of the day, like Harry Secombe and Reg Varney.
"I've made lifelong friends of Cop Shop co-stars like Paula Duncan (pictured) and Lynda Stoner, who are godmothers to my daughter Hayley." (Image: Getty)
"I started appearing in TV shows like Homicide, Matlock Police and Division 4. I had a role in Number 96, but not with Dad as his character had been blown to bits by a bomb in 1975.
"Then along came Cop Shop. That was 45 years ago, yet the fond memories are still so fresh it seems like yesterday."
Joanna left the show after three-and-a-half years because the commute between Sydney and Melbourne, where the show was filmed, became tiresome.
"Plus, it seems Valerie had run out of puff. The crunch came when the writers gave her a phantom pregnancy. That's when I decided to call it quits. It was getting silly."
Joanna subsequently appeared on TV dramas like Sons And Daughters, E Street and Home And Away.
In 2001 she married her second husband, businessman Terry Walker, and moved to the Coffs Harbour area.
Upbeat Joanna, a proud grandmother-of-three, says she's loving life away from the bright lights.
"You could say I've semi-retired from showbiz, but if Baz Luhrmann called and offered me a role, I wouldn't say no," she smiles.

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