This show was the last of the 84 New Faces shows produced by Les Cocks. He would be succeeded by Albert Stevenson from the next show onwards.
The judging panel for this show were Tony Hatch, Jimmy Henney, Ted Ray and George Elrick and they watched three successful acts returning from series three and three Viewers panel choices from the early shows of series four.
- Mr. Leslie Rae (mime act) from Lancashire- Show 3.42
- Sparrow (five-piece group) from London – Shows 3.38, 3.40 & 3.43
- Steve Cockburn (vocal/guitar) from Southminster – Show 3.41
- Tony Stanley (impressionist) from Fulham – Show 4.2
- Monopoly (five-piece group) from London – Show 4.3
- Eve Adam (vocalist) from London – Show 4.10
As there were only six acts on this first Viewers Winner show instead of the usual seven, they were joined by a guest act. Returning from her appearance in the Grand Final of series one was the successful Scottish singer Elaine Simmons.
The viewers winner from show 3.41, Steve Cockburn, finally got his chance to perform again having missed the Viewers Winners show 3.43 because he had gone to Italy with his wife and the show were unable to contact him.
The show winners were five-piece group Sparrow who had previously been one of the successes of series three, appearing on three shows. They were winners on their first appearance on show 3.38, and after losing out to the group Toby in show 3.40 they were invited back to appear in show 3.43, losing to yet another group, Ofanchi.
Sparrow didn’t miss out this time as their show win booked them a record breaking fifth appearance in the Series four Grand Final on 31 July 1976. The previous appearance record was shared by Les Dennis and Lenny Henry (both four). Five-piece group Monopoly were making their second appearance under their own name but had made two other previous appearances as the backing band of singer Lee Harding, so they too equalled the appearance records of Sparrow, Les Dennis and Lenny Henry.
Sparrow members Brian Hudson (drums), Tom Marshall (lead guitar, keyboards), Tony Harding (rhythm guitar) had previously played together between 1968 and 1972 in the pop band Harmony Grass. The groups bookings and appearances were handled by Neil Warnock who worked as a junior booker for NEMS Agency run by Brian Epstein. Harmony Grass split a couple of years later and Neil Warnock moved to the BRON agency and record company and inspired by his love of harmony bands he put the group Sparrow together.
Brian, Tom and Tony were joined by Stuart Calver (bass) and John Milton (lead vocals) in the original Sparrow line-up. Sparrow played across the country and had a few singles released but with no success. Their second single, Celebration, written by Rod Argent (Argent, The Zombies) was released in January 1976. They also recorded twelve songs scheduled to be on an album, produced by Chris White of the Zombies, although it was never released.
Original members Tony Harding and Stuart Calver were later replaced by Dave Nevin and Steve Stroud, who played with the group in their Grand Final appearance.
Sparrow drummer Brian Hudson met Linda Nolan (The Nolans) in 1979 when was invited by managing director Neil Warnock to build up the cabaret/ MOR side of the BRON agency. Brian and Linda married in 1981 and were married for 26 years until Brian’s sad death from liver failure in 2007.
Chris White recently contacted Tom Marshall to say he had found a copy of the unreleased album, and thought it was great and that it should be heard. It is scheduled for release June/July 2020 and the surviving members Tony Harding, John Milton and Tom Marshall hope to promote it.
Impressing the Viewers Panel, winning their vote again, was London based singer Eve Adam, who was making her second appearance on the show in as many weeks. Eve’s vote from the Viewers panel booked her a place in the next Viewers Winners Show (4.25) on 5 June 1976.
Credits: Special Thanks to Tom Marshall (Sparrow) for the additional information and background on the group.