17 Apr 76 – Series Four (18)

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Four-piece group The Sun. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Show eighteen introduced two new judges to the professional panel. Making their judging debut and ‘keeping ’em peeled’ for top new talent were Police Five host Shaw Taylor and TV producer John Hamp. The two other judges, showing them the ropes, were Martin Jackson and George Elrick who had both made a number of previous appearances on the panel.

Shaw Taylor’s appearance was not planned. Many TV listings show Jimmy Henney as appearing but he had injured his leg and was in hospital, which was announced by Derek Hobson on the All Winners Show on the 27 March 1976.

Jack Parnell had agreed to stand in for Jimmy, but he was given the wrong date and didn’t turn up at the studios for the recording of the show. Shaw Taylor happened to be in the very next studio ready to record Police Five, so he was drafted in at short notice to fill the gap in the studio panel.

The seven new acts performing were;

  • Savannah (four-piece country & western group) from Somerset
  • Tommy Harper (comedian) from Bradford
  • Sun (four-piece folk group) from Llandudno
  • Duo Mikenos (vocal / guitar) from Clwyd, North Wales
  • Simone (vocalist) from Exeter
  • George C. Smith (vocal / guitar) from Liverpool
  • Bodean (five-piece group) from London
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It was not the last viewers would see of Exeter singer Simone . Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Exeter housewife and mother, Simone (real name Maggie Reeday), was the winner, after her performance of the Gladys Knight song Part Time Love was a hit with the professional panel, securing her a place in the next All Winners show just four weeks later in the series. She would also be invited back for an appearance on the opening show of series five where she impressed again making it through to the series five Grand Final.

Simone was one of a number of New Faces acts to appear in the slapstick spin-off show, Make ‘Em Laugh, which featured sketches and musical items.  Also appearing on the show were singers Eve Adam, Trevor Chance and Lee Harding as well as comedians Al Dean, Jim Davidson, Michael Barrymore and Johnny Hammond. As of 2020 Maggie still performs in and around the Exeter region.

The Viewers Panel chose the group Bodean as their winner and they would appear again in the next viewers winners show on 5 June 1976.

Bodean
Chatham group Bodean. Image: Saturday Woman single sleeve, DJM Records.

Bodean were a fairly new band, from the Chatham area, who had only been performing together for just six months, having initially started in an experimental capacity.

They soon secured a weekly Thursday residency at the Dun Cow, Old Kent Road, London.  The owner of the Dun Cow, Ken Scott, suggested that Bodean applied to appear on New FacesWhen the programme team visited the venue to see them perform, they instantly booked them to appear.

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George C Smith released an album under the name Georgie Cash. Image: Local Boy From the Mersey LP Cover

Country and Western singer George C. Smith, from Bromborough, and singers Duo Mikenos from Broughton near Chester were flying the flag for Merseyside on the show.

George C. Smith, previously known as Georgie Cash, wrote most of his own material and he chose to perform his single Mother I Love You on the show. It was taken from his LP The Country World of George C. Smith which had already sold a respectable 250,000 copies by the time of his appearance.

Duo Mikenos, were Ken White (originally from Dundee) and Mick Skidmore (from Pontefract) and their Greek-sounding name was a mixture of their two forenames. They both graduated from groups and session musicians into cabaret artists and launched themselves as a duo in May 1971, landing a successful summer season on the Isle of Man.

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Duo Mikenos sang one of their own songs, Mrs. Cassidy. Image: More or Less LP cover

Both Ken and Mick relocated to Merseyside when they married sisters Lee and Vicky Jones, and moved in next door to each other in Broughton near Chester.  The Jones’ sisters father, Ted, not only managed the duo for a time but also helped them write the music for their LP More or Less, released 18 months earlier.  One of their songs Whiskey Man was recorded by another Liverpool band, the Hillsiders. 

They chose to perform a track from their latest LP on the show, but they did not impress panellist and Daily Mail TV critic, Martin Jackson.  Referring to the act name, he said ‘they sound like something on the menu at a kebab house,’ and compared their original song Mrs Cassidy with Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson, even though they were a completely different rhythm. He stopped short of calling them ‘a pair of thieves’ but he certainly implied it.  By contrast, musician and recording executive, George Elrick had high hopes of a great future for the duo.

It did them little harm as shortly after their appearance on the show Duo Mikenos were performing to upwards of 2,000 people a night receiving deafening applause and cheers from a packed Spanish Show bar at Butlin’s Pwllheli holiday centre in North Wales. 

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Llandudno group Sun performed one of their own songs. Image: © Trinity Mirror.

Llandudno folk group Sun had been together almost five years and had turned professional at the start of 1976 and were selected from their initial audition that was held in Bristol a few weeks earlier.

They were George Vale, aged 23, from Llandudno and John, Ray and Pete Hodgkinson, from Penrhyn Bay aged 28, 25 and 23 respectively. At the time of the show they had already released one maxi-single on the Sweet Folk and Country label, featuring two of their own compositions.  The song they performed was one of their own compositions entitled Winds of Change, with music written by Pete and the lyrics by George.

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