20 Dec 1975 – Series Four (1)

With series three drawing audiences of 11 million viewers per show the fourth series of ATV talent show, New Faces, returned for a shorter 28 week run just five days before Christmas 1975, with a slightly new look. Producer Les Cocks auditioned more than 5,000 acts since series three ended in July 1974, and visited ten major cities in all parts of the country.

The fourth series introduced two panels of judges. Derek Hobson would again host each show and would introduce a main panel of experts which included previous regulars such as Arthur Askey, Tony Hatch, Ted Ray, Mickie Most, Clifford Davis and Jack Parnell and an additional panel of two men and two women drawn from the viewing public.

NewSet_Series4
Set designer Martin Davey produced a new set which had the main panel sitting at a star shaped desk and introduced a new scoreboard.

At the end of each show the second panel would nominate their favourite act, replacing the previous postal vote system as producer Les Cocks was concerned that postage charge increases would affect the numbers of postal votes.

If the vote of the viewers panel differed from the professional panel, then their chosen act would return for a second chance performance.

The fourth series would have a Winners Final every seven weeks and the Grand Final would again offer a prize booking at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the outright winner.

19760205_RogerdeCourcey
First winner of series four, Roger de Courcey and Nookie Bear.  Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The expert panel for the opening show of series four were Mickie Most, Arthur Askey, Jimmy Henney and Clifford Davis and they along with the viewers panel of two men and two women watched the following seven acts;

  • Vince Earl Attraction (four-piece group) from Liverpool
  • Noel Brookes (comedy magician) from Stockton-on-Tees
  • Phil Clarke Jnr (vocalist) from Scotland
  • Johnny Johnson Jnr (comedian) from Leeds
  • Carol Gordon (vocalist) from Blackpool
  • Harewood Magna (four-piece group) from Blackburn
  • Roger de Courcey (ventriloquist) from London

There was controversy from heat one of the new series when Hughie Green, the host of rival show Opportunity Knocks, revealed in the Daily Mirror that Midlothian vocalist Phil Clarke Jnr had already previously appeared twice on his show, something that supposedly broke the rules for contestants on New Faces.

The winner of the first show, with a massive 118 points out of a possible 120, was Roger de Courcey, the brilliant young comedian/ventriloquist, ably assisted by his teddy bear sidekick Nookie.  They booked their place in the first All Winners show of the new series on 31 January 1976.

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