16 Oct 76 – Series Five (6)

Multi-instrumentalist from Manchester, Nobby Neilson. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The judges panel for show six saw yet another new face join some of the regulars. Radio One disc jockey Tony Blackburn joined Mickie Most, Jimmy Henney and Alan A. Freeman to watch seven new acts, who were;

  • Kathy Nugent (vocalist) from Ireland
  • Brenda and Gray (guitar / vocal duo) from Jersey
  • Nobby Neilson (multi-instrumentalist) from Manchester
  • Maddison (male vocalist) from Lancashire
  • Mike ‘Stand’ Douglas (comedian) from Warrington
  • One Night Affair (six-piece group) from Birmingham
  • Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees (comedian) from Cannock

The winner of the show was Mike ‘Stand’ Douglas. Mike was born in Portadown, Northern Ireland and was the son of a magician and his brother, Charlie Daze, was also a comedian.

The ‘Stand’ part of his name referred to his unusual technique of talking to his microphone stand during his act, a part of his act that became something of a trademark for him. In fact, back in 1972, when Brian Durkin Associates took over Mike’s management he considered changing his name to Mike Raphone, but they feared that most would not get the gag, so he decided against it.

Show winner Mike (Stand) Douglas with his trophy.
Image: Brian Durkin Associates Ltd Publicity Photo

Mike had a style that resembled Ken Dodd and delivered his gags with a ferocious attack and non-stop banter. Mike also had a fine musical ear and had been known to deliver a wonderful vocal at the piano.

Mike won the National Club Acts Comedian of the Year award in 1977, the same year that Chris North and Jill won the speciality act and Greengage won the group award, making it a good year for acts who had appeared on New Faces.

The National Club Act award lead to John Hamp booking Mike for an appearance on The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, but it was a bitter experience for Mike who was unhappy with Bernard Manning’s introduction and felt the editing of the show cut out some of the best parts of his act both of which had repercussions on his career.

By 1985 Mike had been one half of the Cash and Carrie double act for five years and they were due to appear on the Granada TV show The Fame Game, a show on which John Hamp was the executive producer. Unfortunatley Granada couldn’t find room for a double act and insisted Mike would have to perform as a solo act, as Mike Cash. Mike was successful but claimed that the promise he was given of future television work by Granada never materialised, however, John Hamp refuted the allegation and pointed out that Mike had appeared in five of the seven shows in The Comedians series as a direct result of his appearances on The Fame Game.

Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees scored 103 points.
Image: The Stage Media Company Limited

It was a show for comedians as Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees also impressed the judges. With a distinctive head of curly hair and his flamboyant striped outfit his comedy performance scored 103 points and secured him a return New Faces visit on 18 December 1976.

Ian grew up in Cannock, where Deep Purple singer Glenn Hughes gave him his schoolboy nickname of ‘Sludge’ after his muddy goalkeeping antics.

In the 1960s Ian sang vocals for a number of local Cannock based groups including The Telstars, Finders Keepers and The Montanas. Ian had also made two appearances on rival talent show Opportunity Knocks when he was singing lead vocals with the group Light Fantastic, but Ian had started to perform as a comedian and began securing solo comedy gigs at working men’s clubs. He won the Midland Comedy Entertainer of the Year in 1977 and appeared in shows with Diana Dors and Tony Bennett.

In the years after his appearance on New Faces, Ian became a regular on Saturday morning kids TV show Tiswas and also appeared on The Comedians. Ian continued to perform his brand of seaside postcard humour on the comedy circuit in holiday camps and working men’s clubs for many years after his comedy TV debut and in later years he was in demand on the after dinner speaker circuit. He often recalled his runners-up finish on New Faces in his act, “The winner went to Las Vegas, I went to Walsall Wood working men’s club.”

Irish vocalist Kathy Nugent pictured in 1989 as she waited to perform Memory from Cats at National Concert Hall in Dublin. Image: Independent News and Media PLC created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD

Twelve months before her appearance on New Faces Irish vocalist Kathy Nugent was the runner-up in the Castlebar Song Contest and as a result was asked to represent Ireland at the Bulgarian Song Festival in June 1976. Kathy had previously appeared on stage in a Christmas pantomine at the Gaiety and also in Jesus Christ Superstar as well taking a leading role in Jacques Brel in Alive and Well and Living in Paris.

Following her appearance on New Faces Kathy delighted audiences with her marvellous singing voice in her appearance as Robin Hood in the 1977/78 Babes in the Wood at the Dublin Olympia.

Over the last 45 years Kathy has performed in some of the greatest concert halls alongside some of the finest concert orchestras, including a performance with the RTE Concert Orchestra for their Andrew Lloyd Webber Summer Sounds series of 1989 when she performed Memory from the musical Cats . Kathy has also worked with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra and played in venues such as the Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall and Cork Opera House.

Leeds born Derek Maddison appeared under just his surname. Image: The Stage Media Company Limited

24 year-old Leeds born Derek Maddison was a former member of the New Zealand group the Harbour Lites, who were famed for performing the Maori Haka in the middle of their act, before going solo in 1973 and performing under the name of Maddison.

Maddison was a good looking singer, in the style of Engelbert Humperdinck and Tony Christie, with a remarkably cheerful disposition and had become known for picking his numbers from a wide range and indulging in a spot of showy singing without the benefit of microphone.

In July 1974 Maddison recieved a £5,000 windfall to invest in his career from some Wolverhampton businessmen who had spotted the Yorkshire-born artist in cabaret at the Penthouse and offered to back him.

Derek Maddison’s first record, A Better Place, was written by Kenny Lynch and Hollies member Tony Hicks and was released just a few months before his New Faces appearance.

In 1995 Derek appeared on ITV’s Stars In Their Eyes show where he performed as Pat Boone and as recently as 2019 he was performing his own Neil Diamond tribute show.

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