18 May 1974 – Series Two (7)

Guest judge Marjorie Proops, Agony Aunt for the Daily Mirror.
Image: ATV Broadcast

Heat seven of the second series saw regular judges Tony Hatch, John Smith and Clifford Davis joined by journalist and agony aunt, Marjorie Proops.

They were entertained by the following seven acts who performed in the following order;

  • Pip & Dixie (vocal / guitar duo) from Warrington
  • Dorothy Copeland (vocalist)
  • Wellington Boothe (comedy vocalist)
  • Sheila Sexton (comedian) from Warrington
  • Roy Green (comedian) from Birmingham
  • Jeffrey Hooper (vocal guitar) from Llantrisant
  • The Amazing Bavarian Stompers (Bavarian showband) from Yorkshire
Fifteen year old Jeffrey Hooper won the show by a huge margin.
Image: ATV Broadcast

The heat winner, with a show record of 108 points, was the fifteen year old singing schoolboy from Llantrisant, near Cardiff, Jeffrey Hooper, who had only started singing ballads 18 months before his New Faces appearance. His win secured him a week long appearance at the London Palladium and a place in the series Grand Final.

Jeffrey chose to perform For The Good Times, a song written by Kris Kristofferson, first recorded by singer Bill Nash in 1968 before appearing on Kristofferson’s own debut album in April 1970. During his performance he gave a couple of cheeky winks to the camera but was clearly a little nervous as you would expect.

John Smith said ‘Jeffrey has that instant appeal,’ adding that ‘with the right management…he could be as successful as Lena Zavaroni.’ He concluded by saying that he wouldn’t normally book such a young boy into his nightspots, but he would make an exception in Jeffrey’s case. Marjorie said Jeffrey was ‘very touching and very sweet,’ and had a ‘lovely voice.’

Clifford Davis said he wasn’t happy with the choice of song saying ‘I don’t want to hear fifteen year-old boys singing about girls sleeping beside him on a pillow,’ but conceded ‘he’s a natural, he’s got it made, he’s the best thing you’ve shown us tonight.’

Tony Hatch said Jeffrey had ‘great potential,’ adding ‘he was very nervous but he has a fabulous face, a lovely clear voice.’ He finished by saying, ‘see me after the show boy and I’ll recommend the right contacts.’ Jeffrey scored ten marks for Star Quality from both Tony Hatch and Clifford Davis.

Fellow performer Wellington Boothe had assisted young Jeffrey backstage by helping him blow dry his hair. The two acts met up a few weeks after the show when Wellington visited Jeffrey and his family at their home in Llantrisant. They even put up a ‘Welcome Welly’ banner to greet him. The pair reconnected again more recently and hope to meet up again once the various Covid restrictions allow.

The opening act of the show were Pip & Dixie. Image: ATV Broadcast

The first act of the show were Pip & Dixie, whose real names were Phil and Sharon. They had previously performed together in a group but decide to break away from that group to form their duo. They wrote much of their own material but they decided to perform a cover of Jambalaya (On The Bayou), which had just been a UK top ten hit for The Carpenters. They scored 77 points.

Tony Hatch gave the duo some very positive comments. He thought ‘they had very pleasant voices,’ adding that ‘with the right material there is no reason why they shouldn’t get hit records as well.’ John Smith thought ‘their presentation was reasonable but their movement could be improved,’ and commented ‘their dress was distinctive, but I didn’t like your capes.’

Marjorie Proops had one small criticism saying ‘I somehow didn’t think they were quite together enough, they were a bit like strangers standing side by side.’ Clifford Davis thought the couple were married, but was quickly corrected as Derek Hobson confirmed they were not. He said he couldn’t add to any of the previous comments but did say they were ‘a good supporting act.’

Opera singer Dorothy Copeland.
Image: ATV Broadcast

Before appearing on New Faces, Soprano singer Dorothy Copeland performed many shows with the West London Opera Company. She appeared in Mozart’s “II Seraglio”, “Cozi Fan Tutte” and ‘The Marriage of Figaro” as well as Verdi’s “Nabucco” and has also performed the work of Rossini and Strauss.

Following Dorothy’s song John Smith opened the comments saying the presentation and performance was excellent but said it was probably ‘not an act for cabaret, but possibly for theatre and musicals.’ Marjorie Proops thought Dorothy had a ‘super voice’ and did well to stand on her own and sing an operatic song without the ‘big scene and the chorus’ behind her.

Clifford Davis wished Dorothy luck but though that her act was probably better on radio than television as it was ‘an easier thing to do it on radio.’ He also picked up on Dorothy’s vibrato, which he admitted he had a thing about, and said he’d like her to lose that. Tony Hatch took the opportunity to explain to Clifford exactly what vibrato was and that without it Dorothy’s voice would have sounded flat and dull. He said that Dorothy had a ‘magnificent voice,’ and was surprised that this was her first television appearance. Dorothy scored 74 points.

Mike Amatt performed under the name of Wellington Boothe, and was affectionately known as Welly. Image: ATV Broadcast

In a change to the published TV listings for this heat, which listed the singer D.J. Pope, the comedy vocalist Wellington Boothe appeared instead. Having been rejected following his audition Welly, as he was affectionately known, received a surprise call up to appear on this show. His friends suggested that this may have been so the show had another ‘Harry Dickman’ type act, see show 2.4, however, it is more likely that the scheduled D.J. Pope could not appear and the producer needed a late replacement.

Wellington Boothe was the stage name of Mike Amatt who had previously performed with Shane Fenton (later to be Alvin Stardust) in the late 1960s, before going solo and making this appearance on New Faces. He sang a medley of two songs written by Paul Simon. He started with Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard and ended with El Condor Pasa (If I Could). For his performance he wore a brown suit with a green shirt with white spots finished off with a brown bowtie and played a Gibson J200 guitar which he had borrowed for the show. He scored 82 points to take an early the lead on the show.

When I spoke with Mike, he admitted to me his preparation for the show was far from ideal. Having checked into the Holiday Inn hotel next to the studios he found himself with some spare time on the eve of the recording, so took himself off to the cinema to watch The Exorcist. The horror movie shocked and scared him so much that he couldn’t get it out of his mind even during his performance.

Marjorie Proops said ‘aside from the performance, I have to say to Wellington Boothe that I think he’s chosen the most unfortunate name,’ adding that people were likely to call him Wellington Boot. She did add that the performance started lively and admitted she was tapping along but then, as the song tempo changed, the taps ended. There were clearly no hard feelings following that comment as when prompted by one of the other contestants to show Wellington her shapely legs, Marjorie did just that, hoisting her skirt up to her waist to reveal what he could only describe as a ‘cracking set of legs.’

Clifford Davis said ‘I liked Wellington Boot (sic) I’m not quite so sure about his name, but he’s a happy soul (sole).’ He claimed that as Ted Ray wasn’t there he was making the jokes instead. Tony Hatch said the name didn’t matter at all as ‘he’s got the voice and I think he’s got the face for it,’ and with the right record he would have a hit. John Smith agreed with Marjorie about the name but did say ‘he’s a good looking boy, strong voice, nicely dressed, if he’s worked with Shane, alias Alvin Stardust, Fenton he’ll know that all he has to do now is persevere.’

After his appearance he became a successful international solo artist which included regular contracts to perform in Sun City, South Africa. On his return to the UK Mike Amatt wrote, presented and composed the music for his own children’s BBC TV series Mop and Smiff and he later went on to present Playschool and Forget-Me-Not-Farm.  Mike also wrote the performed the theme tune to BBC TV series Jossy’s Giants. In 2012 Mike briefly joined Herman’s Hermits and one year later reinvented Wellington Boothe and looked to secure some bookings on cruise ships as a multi-instrumentalist.

The shows first ever female comedian, Sheila Sexton, winks at the camera.
Image ATV Broadcast

Manchester comic Sheila Sexton was the first female comedian to feature on New Faces. Her act was a riot, her earthy comedy had the audience in stitches, and her “out of tune” singing was one long roar of laughter. She did prove at the end of her three minutes that she did have a good singing voice, playing on the fact that it was the the Johnny Patrick Orchestra that were out of tune for her the opening part of her act.

Clifford Davis liked Sheila saying she was a ‘natural comedienne’ and a ‘naturally funny woman’ but added he felt she was hiding behind her funny and grotesque clothes that he didn’t think she needed, saying ‘this sort of thing went out with Suzette Tarri really, but even Suzette Tarri dressed as a charwoman.’

Tony Hatch skated around his personal thoughts but conceded that Sheila ‘did go down well with this audience, and I think in fairness to her, therefore she must have something there that people are going to like.’ He also thought the opening ‘out of tune’ singing went on too long and suggested she pick up the Norman Wisdom or Charlie Chaplin approach to comedy and make the audience feel sorry for her as part of her act.

John Smith said ‘as a comedian Sheila was great,’ but thankfully didn’t compare to the beauty queens he’d judged in Liverpool the night before. Marjorie Proops admitted she had a problem with women comedians as they worried her as she didn’t want people to laugh at women but added ‘if we are going to laugh at women then I think Sheila was very funny, I agree with Clifford about her clothes.’ Sheila scored 80 points, with Clifford Davis scoring an eight for Star Quality, but adding ‘if she does as I told her.’

Sheila was inundated with offers of work all over the country following her New Faces appearance and could have been a huge star. Instead she put family life first and chose to entertain in her leisure time. When she did perform she changed her act as often as possible and it was reported that she never repeated her routines and was an expert ad-libber.

Comedian Roy Green. Image: ATV Broadcast

The next act was comedian Roy Green, who for eighteen years had been entertaining audiences in ballrooms as a singer. He performed his three minute routine dressed in full Henry VIII costume and billed himself as ’27 stone of song and laughter.’

During his performance Roy explained his attire by saying he was trying to impress New Faces judge Clement Freud and had intended to dress as Clement’s commercial ‘friend’ Henry, and he was given this costume instead of a dog skin, but at least his figure was ‘sort of chunky.’

Roy ended his routine by showing off his vocals that had served him so well in those ballrooms for all those years as he sang This Is My Song, which had been a UK number one for Petula Clark in 1967 and was written by vintage comedian Charlie Chaplin.

Tony Hatch joked ‘I’ll give him ten for guts,’ but felt that the material didn’t match the outfit. John Smith said he enjoyed the act and suggested Roy joined Sheila Sexton to make a great double act. Marjorie Proops said Roy was ‘lovely and cuddly and I think he has a very nice, tender voice.’ Clifford Davis agreed with Tony Hatch and said he should look to use some medieval humour. Roy scored a total of 70 points with Clifford Davis only giving four marks for both Content and Star Quality.

The Amazing Bavarian Stompers, from Halifax. Image: ATV Broadcast

Hailing from Halifax in Yorkshire The Amazing Bavarian Stompers’ performance on the show was a frantic feast of German music. Their robust style of music on electric accordion, trombone, sousaphone and drums was a hit of oompah proportions as they claimed the runners-up spot with a score of 94 points.

Derek Hobson said the group had delivered a performance of ‘German music sung the Halifax way’ before going to the judges for their comments. Clifford Davis gasped ‘I’m just exhausted, all this oompah oompah business’ before concluding with ‘I’m not sure it’s an act, but it’s a wonderful noise.’

Majorie Proops was left feeling very cheerful and John Smith called the group a ‘great, professional, comedy musical act,’ and said they would be great for the Bailey’s clubs. He added that they should make a record. Tony Hatch suggested that they should make an album as he didn’t see them having much success with a single.

Those comments lead to the group releasing The Amazing Bavarian Stompers LP in 1975 which was produced by none other than Tony Hatch.

The final scores for each act were as follows;

  PresentationContentStar QualityTotal
1Jeffrey Hooper363438108
2The Amazing Bavarian Stompers33313094
3Wellington Boothe29262782
4Sheila Sexton25262980
5Pip & Dixie27262477
6Dorothy Copeland27242374
7Roy Green29202170
The judges scored gave victory to young vocalist Jeffrey Hooper.

Credits: Thanks to Wellington Boothe (Mike Amatt) for the addition information he provided for this show.

Archive: Copy discovered by Kaleidoscope

6 thoughts on “18 May 1974 – Series Two (7)

    1. Hi Joanne, I am leader of the Amazing Bavarian Stompers. I have searched in vain for a copy of this show. However I am led to believe that it had been wiped as a lot of the early New Faces episodes were. All the best Frank

      Like

  1. Hi Jeff, Frank from the Amazing Bavarian Stompers here. Saw you singing with Sid Lawrence some years back. Glad you`re still working. We celebrate 50 years next year. New Faces did us a lot of good. In fact I`m in contact with Tony Hatch would you believe! The original “hatchet man. Can`t forget what Clifford Davis said out you “I`m not happy about a young boy singing about laying his head on my pillow”. I paraphrase that of course but it has always stuck with me and made me smile. All the best Jeff, keep safe

    Like

    1. Hi Frank. Thanks for your comment. Just to clear up your quote for the record. Clifford Davis’ comment was, “I’m not happy about the choice of song, I don’t want to hear 15 year old boys singing about girls sleeping beside him on his pillow.”
      So please to hear that you are still playing nearly 50 years later and please point Tony Hatch in the direction of this website I’d love to hear what he thinks (or would I?)

      Like

  2. Hi, I’m Jeff Hooper and I did win New Faces in 1974. I’ve just been back in contact with Wellington Boothe who was also on the show with me. Happy days! I’ve been a professional singer ever since and still enjoy every minute of it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s