27 Jul 1975 – Series Three Grand Final

Marti Caine was the shocked winner beating Liverpool comedian Al Dean by just one point. Image: ATV broadcast

In a change from the previous two series the Grand Final of series three was produced live from the London Palladium and also had a greatly reduced number of acts with just eight performances on the night compared to the thirteen in series one and twelve in series two.

It also was broadcast on a Sunday evening rather than taking its place in the usual Saturday evening schedule.

No male or female singers had secured a place in the eight finalists, with all the qualifying solo acts being either comedians or impressionists and all musical performances from groups.

The show was presented by Derek Hobson but was compered by comedian Nicky Martyn, keeping with the trend for all the previous All Winners shows of this series. Sitting together in the audience were two former New Faces winners, Charlie James and Victoria Wood, who were appearing together, along with finalists Marti Caine, Lenny Henry, in the ATV Summer Show during the time of the final recording.

The expert judging panel for the evening were regulars Tony Hatch, Martin Jackson, Arthur Askey and they were joined by guest judge Bernie Rothkopf, the head of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the night spot where the show winner would earn a contract to appear in cabaret. Also in the audience at the Palladium was show judge and record producer Alan A. Freeman. He had been ruled out of being on the judging panel as was now producing two of the acts appearing in the Grand Final, Marti Caine and Mike Felix.

The final scores, taking account of the usual attributes of presentation, content and star potential from each of the four judges, resulted in the last act of the final nicking the series title by just a single point.

Grand Final ScoreboardTotal Points
Marti Caine (comedian)539
Al Dean (comedian)538
Ofanchi (six-piece group)528
Lenny Henry (impressionist)478
Mike Felix (comedy-vocal)475
Tony Maiden (impressionist)472
20th Century Steel Sound (nine-piece group)441
Toby (six-piece group)431
Series Three Grand Final winner Marti Caine.

The series winner, Marti Caine, had scooped the title with some great material and her delightful singing voice and her flair for comedy had clearly made an impression on the judges.  Marti was however later quoted as saying,  “I did Vegas as part of the prize for winning ‘New Faces’ in 1975, and I died three times a night for a fortnight.”

Marti did later admit that she “owed everything to the show” as she saw her appearance fee go from £15 to £1,000 just two years later.

Writing in the Daily Mirror some two years later, regular New Faces judge Clifford Davis, suggested that the result was a total shock to the three UK based judges on the panel that night.  Tony Hatch and Martin Jackson had both voted the group Ofanchi in first place on their own scorecard and Arthur Askey had chosen fellow comedian Al Dean as his winner, so Marti’s win appeared to have been swung by the votes of the US judge who was about to book the winner for his MGM Las Vegas night spot.

Two years after Marti Caine’s win Clifford Davis revealed the controversy behind the voting in his Daily Mirror column. Image: Trinity Mirror

Tony Hatch allegedly demanded to see the voting papers each judge had submitted, but was told they were no longer held at the venue.  Mr Rothkopf told Tony Hatch, “As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter who wins. They’re all worthy of a booking in Las Vegas.”

Based on what the other judges had scored the only possible explanation for the result was that Bernie Rothkopf’s votes alone had secured the win for Marti Caine and could have only done so as a result of some unusually low marks for the other acts. This despite being the Grand Final of the third series and these acts being the top eight of the 43 shows and hundreds of acts that had gone before.

Archive: A copy is held by the BFI – Work – 2148

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