29 May 1976 – Series Four (24)

Vocalist Darren Stuart tried his best to blend into the scenery. Image: ATV Broadcast

Show twenty four introduced a new face to the professional panel.  Joining Clifford Davis, Mickie Most and George Elrick was award-winning producer David Bell.  He had been voted light entertainment producer of the year three times for his shows with stars such as Stanley Baxter and Benny Hill.

  • Passion Alley (four-piece group) from Surrey
  • Janet Jones (vocal / guitar) from Keighley
  • Bruce Allan (comedy mime) from Halifax
  • Flooky (vocal / instrumental duo) from North Wales
  • Darren Stuart (vocalist) from Newcastle
  • Mike Terry (pianist) from Leeds
  • Incas (three-piece group) from Banbury

Eighteen year-old, Edinburgh born but Newcastle based singer Darren Stuart was the winner with the judges panel and he would appear again in the fourth All Winners Show of the series on 3 July 1976.  Darren’s appearance helped kick start what would become a career spanning over 20 years. The viewer’s panel, featuring Robert Whitehead, a social worker from Northwich, also agreed with the judges and voted their winner as Darren Stuart.

Yorkshire’s Liberace, pianist Mike Terry. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

32 year-old Leeds pianist Mike Terry made his professional debut way back in August 1963 and had earned himself a reputation as Yorkshire’s Liberace. He released his first album, Roll Up The Carpet, in 1969 and was a brilliant player and a comic in his own right with a commanding personality.

At the age of fifteen he entered a local Honky Tonk piano contest and won. His prize was a Honky Tonk piano, once used by his idol, West Indian pianist, Winifred Atwell.

Mike finally met Winifred Atwell when she played a season at London’s Pigalle Restaurant and for the next five years he received her personal coaching and advice in keyboard theory and technique. He also helped the Grumbleweeds to create an all-time box-office record for Peter Webster’s The Laugh Inn at the South Pier, Blackpool.

After he announced he was leaving Britain for Australian shores in 1981 but it seems that he had a change of heart and throughout the 80s and 90s he regularly performed his flamboyant piano act across the UK at clubs and holiday venues.

He also made numerous appearances with Dorothy Squires in her West End concerts and various shows through the 80s and into the 90s.  He played at the March 1990 show that Dorothy Squires performed at the Brighton Dome a full six years after her last concert in Wimbledon in February 1984, which also featured a performance by Mike.

In his later career he released the albums, Hurt and The Plush Piano and performed tributes to both Winifred Atwell and Dorothy Squires.  He also performed for holidaymakers in Benidorm, Spain before retiring and returning to the UK.

He suffered from ill-health in his later years and died in November 2017 at Pinderfields hospital near Wakefield.

Three-piece group Incas. Image: ATV Broadcast

Three-piece group Incas performed their lively new single Superman which, as the clip available on You Tube shows, was filmed with some special camera lens that gave viewers the impression that there were far more than just three of them in the group.

Comedy mime Bruce Allen had returned to the UK in 1971 after nearly three years in Australia. Unable to break into TV in the UK he had gone to Australia for just a six week season and he had established himself as one of the countries best known small screen personalities, performing over 140 hours of live television, which prolonged his stay.  As well as being a script writer and assistant producer one of his roles on Australian TV was as compere for a thirty two edition of the series Spotlight, a programme which was very similar New Faces. 

He used his many hours of TV experience in 1972 when he appeared on the impressions show Who Do You Do? with Freddie Starr and Peter Goodwright.  Prior to his New Faces  appearance Bruce had been seen on rival show Opportunity Knocks which helped him let people know that he was back in the UK and available for work.  His act often involved miming to a special pre-recorded tape which allowed him to use his expressive face to deliver an act which required precise timing.  After his appearance on New Faces Bruce was added to the line-up of presenters for the children’s TV show Play School.

Clwyd, North Wales act Flooky. Image: ATV Broadcast

North Wales act Flooky were a three piece group with slick presentation and a real touch of class but their act was not quite enough to win over the judges on this occasion.

Their professional approach, however did make them a pleasure to watch, and they went down well with the young holiday makers at the Abergele Holiday Camp in 1977.

Show Footage

Incas – Superman

Archive: A copy is held by the BFI – Work – 570088

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