29 Sep 1973 – Series One (1)

Episode 1 Winner: Elaine Simmons. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Billed as TVs first phone-in talent show New Faces began it’s first series proper on Saturday 29 September 1973.

The show was presented by Derek Hobson, the host from the network pilot episode back in July, it featured an expert panel of Mary Whitehouse, Dickie Hurran and Clement Freud.

They gave judgement on the six acts specially selected from the recent and extensive auditions held around the UK and viewers could then phone in their views that would be reported the following week.

The six new acts included;

  • Jason & Gee (vocal duo)
  • Sight ‘n’ Sound (comedy vocal group) from Birmingham
  • Elaine Simmons (vocalist) from Kinross, Scotland.
  • Unknown Act (comedian) from Cheltenham
  • Unknown Act (operatic tenor) from Haverfordwest
  • Unknown Act

The judges gave Elaine Simmons the highest marks on the night and she was the first act to book herself a place in the Grand Final at the end of the year.

Well-known Worcester housewife, Mary Whitehouse, the founder and first president of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, was taking her new role seriously. She said, ‘I shall be thinking about whether it is suitable for television’ and ‘ if I don’t say when I disapprove millions would be disappointed.’

Birmingham group Sight ‘n’ Sound were runners-up. Image: TV Times 1974

Opening the show to become the first ever act to perform on the first full series of New Faces were vocal duo Jason & Gee. One half of the duo was David Garnett who confirmed their appearance on the show on Skooldays Nostalgic & Vintage Memorabilia website, and this was also confirmed by Steven Holmes, whose Dad was part of the duo.

Dudley singer Anne Beverley appeared in TV adverts for New Faces. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The new ATV talent show was also asking for unknowns to come forward with the help of an elegant blonde who has taken part in the TV commercial advertising the programme and had an audition as a singer.  The blonde singer, Anne Beverley, was confirmed as appearing later in the first series, probably about halfway thorough the run of shows, by producer Les Cocks but it is not certain which show.

Talking about the new series director Paul Laing said: “During the programmes we are setting up, we reckon eight or nine people might make it in show business.

TV Listing, Coventry Evening Telegraph. Image: Trinity Mirror. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited.

Missing Details

This show is missing the names of three acts that appeared on this debut programme. If you have any details of the missing acts then please leave a comment on the page of use the Contact Me page to send in any information you may have.

Thanks: Tony Sullivan for providing the extra details on two of the unknown acts

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