The four professional panellists for this show were Clifford Davis, John Smith and Mickie Most. They were joined by the BBC’s Noel Edmonds, who was making his second appearance as a judge in the series.
With Les Cocks stepping down as producer that responsibility was passed onto Albert Stevenson and, as usual, the host of the show was Derek Hobson.
The seven new acts looking for a shot at stardom were;
- Girlie (vocal / instrumental duo) from Yorkshire
- Stephen Bent (vocalist) from London
- Cornerstone (four-piece group) from North Humberside
- Lorraine West (vocalist) from London
- Tony Brahms (magician) from London
- Tommy James (impressionist) from London
- Loco (six -piece group) from Leicester
The winner of the show with both panels was the six-piece group Loco, who performed their song Keep Death Off the Road, Drive on the Pavement, to book their place in the next All Winners Final on 27 March 1976.
There is some confusion as to which of the acts from the Len May Starfinder Club, held at The Green Man, Great Portland Street, was selected to appear on the show due to conflicting articles in The Stage (Television Today) newspaper dated 4 March 1976.
The Tenor, Len May, had appeared on New Faces himself back in series three (show 3.12) but now was hosting regular audition nights, which attracted New Faces producer Les Cocks as well as BBC representatives looking for acts for their shows.
On the front page of the Television Today section of the newspaper was a list of acts that were scheduled to appear on the show. This list included the Jamaican born singer, Grace Kennedy, from the Len May stables.
An act, singing star Lorraine West, not mentioned in the line-up was featured on page 6 in an advert by the Len May Starfinder Club that clearly stated that she was appearing on New Faces on 6 March 1976.
Trying to make some sense of the conflicting evidence it should be considered that as Grace Kennedy made an Opportunity Knocks appearance in November 1976 and again in March 1977 it would be unlikely that she would have appeared on both shows, therefore I would suggest that the Len May act selected to appear was Lorraine West.
The duo Girlie performed one of their own songs called Before the Night is Over. Girlie were 22 year-old Linda Phelps, from Westbury-sub-Mendip and her singing partner Cathy Caine, from Batley. Linda and Cathy met while playing with the Ivy Benson band and they decided to form their own act in 1972.
The group, based in Dewsbury, had been touring extensively around northern clubs and has also played shows in Scotland, Wales and Ireland before their appearance on the show. Linda’s parents and brother were in the studio audience when the show was recorded on Tuesday 2 March 1976.
In January 1977 Girlie played a series of shows at Webbington Country Club alongside another former New Faces act, Sparrow.
Singer Stephen Bent apparently performed his own song I’m Going To Spain on the show, although information is purely anecdotal rather than evidence based. It was released on the Bradley’s record label which was owned by ATV and with his connection to the TV series Crossroads it may have been another spin-off single spawned from the show.
The listeners of Kenny Everett’s Capital Radio show in 1977 voted the song at number 18 in the bottom 30 chart of the worst songs ever recorded.
Stephen had already brushed shoulders with some big name stars even before he appeared on New Faces. In October 1969 he appeared in the play A Man For All Seasons at Crewe alongside Richard Beckinsale and Lynda Bellingham. He also appeared in a number of TV shows from 1970 and had performed at the New London Theatre in the production of Grease which starred Richard Gere in the lead role.
After New Faces and throughout the 1980s he furthered his acting career with parts in a number of soaps including Coronation Street, Eastenders, The Bill and a role in Emmerdale (playing Derek Benrose). Stephen returned to the stage in the 1990s and also continued to work in film and television.
Archive: A copy is held by the BFI – Work – N-3629996