8 Jun 1974 – Series Two (10)

Show Winner Nicola Christie sang Make It With You. Image: ATV: After All I’ve Been Through Documentary

Heat ten of the second series featured four regulars judges as Tony Hatch, Clifford Davis, Mickie Most and Arthur Askey gave their critical opinion on a further seven new acts;

  • Bob Curtiss (comedian / impressionist)
  • Nicola Christie (vocalist) from Teeside
  • Pyramid (comedy/instrumental trio) from Gateshead
  • Francis Mallon (folk singer) from Birmingham
  • David Sidaway (violinist) from Walsall
  • Imagination (five-piece group) from Swansea
  • Glen and Lisa Fraser (Scottish piper and dancer) from Peterlee

Winner of this heat and booking a place in the Grand Final of series two, with her version of Bread’s Make It With You, was vocalist Nicola Christie, who was told by panellist Mickie Most that she had “great teeth” and Arthur Askey said, “she looks gorgeous and she sang beautifully.”  Tony Hatch commented that “Nicola is a competent professional but somehow an exciting singer, I think she needs to develop more individual style.”

Some of the final scores for this show are known;

  • Glen and Lisa Fraser – Scored 92 and finished second
  • Bob Curtiss – Scored 90 and finished third
  • Imagination – Scored 78 and finished fourth
  • Francis Mallon – Scored 65

The welsh group Imagination were fronted by 23 year old singer Sherene Davis (real name Gaynor Hopkins from Skewen, Neath in Wales) and sang the First Choice hit Armed and Extremely Dangerous.

In 1970, aged 19, Gaynor entered a talent contest, singing the Mary Hopkin hit Those Were the Days, and finished in second place and won £1. She was then selected to sing in a band, known as Bobby Wayne & The Dixies. Two years later, she formed Imagination and they performed in pubs and clubs all over south Wales. It was then that she decided to adopt the stage name of Sherene Davis, to avoid being confused with another Welsh singer, Mary Hopkins.

Shortly after their New Faces appearance Imagination were playing in The Townsman Club, Swansea when Sherene was spotted singing Band Of Gold by RCA talent scout Roger Bell who contacted Ronnie Scott and arranged a demo. Eventually, after waiting two years, she was offered a record contact with RCA who suggested she change her name again, as she sounded like a belly dancer. After compiling a list of surnames and Christian names from a newspaper, she picked Bonnie Tyler.

Welsh group Imagination pictured with show winner Nicola Christie (front). Sherene Davis (now know professionally as Bonnie Tyler) is in the middle of the back row. Image: ATV Broadcast

Managers, producers and songwriters Ronnie Scott and Steve Wolfe wrote the majority of the tracks on Bonnie’s debut album, including the number nine UK hit Lost In France. Shortly after her first top ten hit Bonnie developed nodules on her vocal cords and had to have an operation to remove them, which resulted in her now famous husky voice.

Bonnie broke into the Billboard charts in 1978 with It’s a Heartache, reaching number three in the United States. Her Natural Force album, released in the same year, was the most successful, selling over half a million copies in the United States.

Sherene Davis (Bonnie Tyler) pictured on New Faces in 1974.
Image: ATV Broadcast

After Bonnie’s RCA contract expired in 1982 she worked with new songwriter and producer Jim Steinman and released the number one hit single Total Eclipse of the Heart in 1983, which was the fifth best selling single of that year in the UK. Further hits following including Holding Out For a Hero from the soundtrack of the 1984 movie Footloose as well as nominations for the Grammy’s and the Brit awards.

After success in Europe in the 1990s Bonnie agreed to represent the United Kingdom in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden. Her song Believe in Me finished in 19th place with 23 points but despite the low score she became the first representative for the United Kingdom to receive a Eurovision Song Contest Radio Award when she received the accolades for Best Song and Best Female Singer.

Her eighteenth studio album, The Best Is Yet to Come, was released in 2021 and in 2022 Bonnie is performing over sixty shows when she tours all over Europe.

Birmingham English teacher and folk singer Francis Mallon.  Image: ATV After All I’ve Been Through Documentary

Birmingham folk singer Francis Mallon, a music and drama teacher at Birmingham’s Hodge Hill Mixed Comprehensive School, sang a song called After All I’ve Been Through, which was released as a single on the Gull Records label, on 11 October 1974. This was also the title of a documentary programme that ATV produced about the New Faces auditions which tracked the progress of Francis through the auditions all the way to this particular heat as well featuring some acts who would be seen on heat eleven of the show.

After his appearance Francis had one brief moment in the limelight as he joined fellow New Faces contestant David F. Eastman (S02, E12) to perform, as the star guests, in front of 800 attendees at the EMI Midlands Final of the Miss Cinema 1974 competition held at The Coventry Garage Ltd on 31 August 1974. The competition was hosted by New Faces compare Derek Hobson and was won by 20-year old Birmingham model, Juliana Tongue.

Hoping that his big chance would take him out of the classroom and into the pop charts, Francis was left sadly disappointed. The experts on the panel who were their to judge the acts were not kind. After the programme, which was regularly bringing work, if not fame and fortune to many performers, Francis was not overwhelmed with offers. Shortly after the show, he joined a quirky band, run by Nik Toczek, called “Stereo Graffiti” who performed their punk poetry/rock with blues feel sound at the Edinburgh fringe in 1976.

In 1977 Francis returned to his work in schools in an Educational Psychologist role for the next 33 years. Along with his day job, Francis still found time to pursue his role in entertainment, he performed in a rock ‘n’ roll band, several drama and musical companies, made an appearance with the Ambrosian Singers in a production of Verdi’s Aida (which was the first opera at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham) as well as performing solo and in an acoustic folk/roots group. Since 2010 he has retired from education and returned to entertainment and is a performing member of the Birmingham Crescent Theatre Company and is the Assistant Branch Secretary of the Birmingham Variety Branch of Equity.

Highland Dancers Glen and Lisa Fraser, aged just 14 and 12. With thanks to Trinity Mirror. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. All rights reserved.

Highland dance act Glen Fraser, 14, and his sister Lisa, just 12, were left a little disappointed too as the judging panel decided they had been beaten into second place by vocalist Nicola Christie.

Once the viewer’s votes rolled in the youngest performers to appear on the show were popular winners and they were booked to return and appear in a ‘all-winners show’ at the start of series three, the following September.

Glen had only been playing the pipes for about two years and, around the same time he started, Lisa switched from tap to highland dancing. Their act was a little different to normal highland dance performances as Lisa worked out her own dance routines to popular tunes that were specially arranged for the pipes by Glen.

They had previously took local talent show prizes and secured regular bookings in working men’s clubs in their area, which also helped them raise hundreds of pounds for charity.

Comedian Bob Curtiss. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Comedian Bob Curtiss had a successful career after his appearance on this show. He performed at many UK cabaret clubs and functions and on various cruises in the Mediterranean, Australia as well as on parts of World cruises. In addition he used his natural storytelling, mainly specialising in domestic stories, and his concise delivery coupled with superb timing to also have a successful career in after-dinner speaking engagements.

He featured on TV’s The Comedians, alongside another New Faces contestant Roy Walker, as well as TV series such as The Bill, Rumpole of the Bailey, and Born and Bred. He also appeared in many TV adverts including Flora, Skol, Woolwich Building Society and Qualcast (“Lot less bovver”).

Bob also appeared in the short film Resting Rough alongside Pierce Brosnan, in one of his very first movie appearances, and in movies The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978), with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore and Fever Pitch (1997) which was based on the Nick Hornby novel and starred Colin Firth.

Pyramid were a comedy group from Gateshead in the style of The Grumbleweeds who performed with a ventriloquist dummy and opened with a growling version of Wandering Star.

David Sidaway was a solo violinist who a medley of tunes accompanied by piano including Blue Spanish Eyes.

The show line-up in prepare for rehearsals with the ATV studio floor manager.
Image: After All I’ve Been Through Documentary

Credit: Special thanks to Francis Mallon for the additional information provided for this page
Huge thanks to Liam Brigg, Skyrack Media for pointing out Bonnie Tyler’s appearance on this show.

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