27 Apr 1974 – Series Two (4)

Harry Dickman, the Clown Prince of Carnaby St. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Heat four of the second series saw Katie Boyle return to the panel along with, for the fourth show in a row, Tony Hatch. They were joined by John Smith and Ted Ray.  The acts they offered their expert comments on were;

  • Nicky Martyn (comedian) from Warrington
  • Cromwell (folk group)
  • Harry Dickman (comedian)
  • Andrea Joy (vocalist / guitarist)
  • The Patriots (folk trio)
  • Jon Brett and Michelle (magic act) – from Bournemouth
  • Graffiti (six-piece group)

The heat winner was comedian Nicky Martyn who would not only take his place in the series Grand Final, but would go on to host a number All Winners Shows in series three.

Harry Dickman, known as the Carnaby Street Comic as he actually lived there, had previously fulfilled a six month London Management booking to perform on Cunard’s Carmania cruise ship. He had also been in demand for TV commercials in both the United Kingdom and the United States, due to his extremely expressive features. Tony Hatch gave Harry just “two points for his nerve” and the switchboard was jammed with complaints.

Harry was a very outspoken voice via The Stage letters column, of which he was a regular contributor, on topics such the defence of performing in South Africa during the period of apartheid and his anti-union views on the role of the Equity union in the entertainment business.

The folk trio The Patriots were all members of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps who had been performing together at various Forces functions for the previous two years. Private John Gaughan and Lance Corporal Trevor Neath, both from Kingstanding and Private Harry Randall, from Hastings first met in Germany and found themselves the only people in the barracks with any musical knowledge.

Their all acoustic material with Trevor and Harry’s guitars plus all three voices was a self-confessed reflection they didn’t have much money behind them and couldn’t afford amplifiers or expensive equipment. The group were influenced by Gerry Rafferty’s early songs, before he joined Stealers Wheel, going back to the late sixties when he was a member of the group the Humblebums with Billy Connolly, shortly before he embarked on his successful stand-up comedian career.

As members of the RAOC they served in Germany, Holland, Belgium and France but when they all got posted back to Tewkesbury together the group flourished and top songwriter Mitch Murray heard them in a talent contest and signed them to his Bus Stop label.

The week of the show they were in the studios to record their first single, Rick Rack, written by Gerry Rafferty which was released on the Bus Stop label a few weeks after their debut television appearance.

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