3 Jan 1976 – Series Four (3)

Singer Sheila Bruce. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Show three of the series, and the first show of a new year, saw regular show host Derek Hobson introduce a panel of judges that was made up of the following four gentlemen, Ted Ray, Martin Jackson, Alan A. Freeman and Jack Parnell and invited them to pass judgement on the following seven new acts;

  • Fair Cop (four-piece folk group) from Peterlee, County Durham
  • Sheila Bruce (vocalist)
  • Bollards (comedy mime trio) from Bristol
  • Beckett (male vocalist) from Port Talbot
  • BB & John (duo) from Sheffield
  • Allan Mills (comedian)
  • Monopoly (five-piece group)
Seasoned comedian Allan Mills later moved to Malta and played in local bars and clubs.  Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The judges scores decided the winner of the show was Norfolk comedian Allan Mills who had been working in clubs and cabaret for over ten years.

Allan had first appeared on television ten years earlier when working at Butlins, Minehead.  Television Wales and the West filmed a revue show at the camp under the title of In a Holiday Mood. Allan performed in the shows with camp impressionist, Janet Brown, resident comedian, Clifford Henry and singer Doreen Lavender and her singing dog Honey.

In 1971 Allan completed a highly successful African tour which took him to Salisbury, Rhodesia, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

Allan would make his second appearance in the first All Winners Show of the series on 31 January 1976.

The Viewers Panel selected the North London group Monopoly as their winners and they would make a second appearance in the Viewers Winners Final on 28 February 1976.

Liverpool singer Sheila Bruce (née Prytherch) was dynamic female vocalist and an ex-Vernons Girl.  The Vernons Girls were originally a choir that were put together in the 1950s as part of the social activities of Vernon’s Pools, the Liverpool based football pool company.

In her teens she had been the girlfriend of Paul McCartney, who she claims was her first kiss, when they were both living with their respective parents in Ardwick Road, Liverpool.  Back in June 1953 Sheila was one of many children to be crammed into the McCartney’s front room to watch the Queen’s Coronation on their ten inch black and white television.

Sheila later married TV and pop star Tommy Bruce in 1964 after they had met when he toured with the Vernon Girls.

In 1990s, Sheila Bruce joined Maggie Stredder to re-formed The Vernons Girls trio, along with Penny Lister, and toured as part of the Solid Gold Rock ‘n’ Roll Show and also appeared in Cliff Richard’s show, Oh Boy, from Wembley.

Port Talbot entertainer Anthony Searles performed under his stage name Beckett. Image: © Reach plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Vocalist, guitarist and comedian Beckett, the stage name of Anthony Searles, was a ‘jack of all trades’ entertainer from Port Talbot, who was well-known in his local nightclub circuit. Anthony’s taught himself music and only turned professional ten weeks before his appearance on New Faces. On the show he performed his vocal act singing the song The Last Farewell.

Having left Sandfields Comprehensive School with seven ‘O’ levels and two ‘A’ levels the 27-year-old performer turned down a promising career with the British Steel Corporation, where he was apprentice of the year, to concentrate on his music.

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