18 Dec 1976 – Series Five (15) – Near Misses 2

Winners Koffee ‘n’ Kreme were listed on the scoreboard as Koffy ‘n’ Kreme. Image: Mick Cooper

On the judges panel for the second Near Misses show of the series were George Elrick, Clifford Davis, Danny La Rue and Tony Hatch.

Show host Derek Hobson was probably wishing he’d had his own near miss the day after this show was recorded. A radar device picked up the 29 year-old host as he was speeding along the A40 at 87mph on 15 December and his case was referred to the Oxford magistrates for hearing in February 1977.

The seven high scoring acts, each recording a score of at least a hundred points on their previous appearance, and returning for a second chance of securing a place in the Series Five Gala Final in April 1977 were;

  • Penny Farthing (four-piece group) – Cannock – show 5.7
  • Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees (comedian) – Wolverhampton – show 5.6
  • Koffee and Kreme (vocal duo) – Portsmouth – show 5.11
  • Jamie Stone (pianist / vocalist) – Ireland – show 5.7
  • Kerry Meadows (vocalist) – Leeds – show 5.5
  • Jaime Adams (comedy guitar / vocal) – Shropshire – show 5.11
  • Fairfield Welles (five-piece group) – Manchester – show 4.31
Lance Ellington and Bette Hannah were Koffee ‘n’ Kreme.
Image: ATV Broadcast

The clear winners of the show, dropping just nine points, were Koffee ‘n Kreme who were oddly listed as Koffy & Kreme on the scoreboard. Both Clifford Davis and Danny La Rue awarded them the maximum possible score of one hundred points.

The Portsmouth based duo had missed out on winning their previous show by just a single point. The Monday after their first show aired they were flooded with offers, one of which secured them a record contract. For their second appearance they performed the Brotherhood of Man ballad, Love Me Like I Love You.

George Elrick was the first judge to comment. He pointed out that he’d been on the panel when the duo were on their first show and thought that their choice of a ballad had put the tune slightly out of Lance’s range in the middle falsetto part of the song, but he added, ‘nevertheless, they’re a great act and they must make the grade,’ however he thought they were better with their uptempo song. Tony Hatch said that had the old marking system been used on their previous show, he felt they would have won as they would have scored higher marks for Star Quality than Entertainment Value. He add he thought they ‘had an enourmous future’ and they were going to make it.

Danny La Rue simply said they were ‘a knockout’ and were ‘one of the best boy and girl acts I’ve seen in my whole career’ and were ‘top of the bill.’ Clifford Davis could add no more, but did say maybe that Danny La Rue should book them for one of his summer seasons.

Cannock group Penny Farthing sang one of their own songs. Image: ATV Broadcast

The act that opened the show were Penny Farthing who were Barry Reed (drums), Chris Anslow (vocals), Terry Heath (guitar) and Terry ‘Ocky’ Corns (bass). The Cannock group performed thier own song called We Need Love.

Following their performance Derek Hobson explained they did not yet have a recording contract and Tony Hatch bluntly stated he thought the reason was that ‘they’re not actually a great group, they lack a lot in musicianship but they make up for it a certain amount of simplicity and it’s an ultra simple song.’

Danny La Rue refused to compare the lead singer to Gerry Marsden, as suggested by Derek Hobson. Danny thought ‘they sang very, very well’ and they were a pleasant change as he could understand the words and they were a ‘nice, attractive group.’ Clifford Davis didn’t think they were very exciting, referring to them as ‘rather run-of-the-mill’ but he thought the lead singer had personality and ‘if anything he was better than the rest of the group.’ George Elrick liked ‘the Al Garnett shirts’ but agreed with Tony Hatch saying they were ‘just another group, they need something a little bit different.’

Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees opened his act inside a large box. Image: ATV Broadcast

Derek Hobson introduced the next act simply as a ‘Lunatic’ before comedian Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees appeared out of a large box before announcing ‘I just fell off a jam jar,’ a reference to his multicoloured suit and large bushy hair.

His quick fire gags included one about a man who had rushed off to get his wrists pierced as he’d had a pair of cufflinks for Christmas and his trademark news headlines which including one about a man who went into a church and threw bottles of Domestos over the vicar announcing ‘he’d been charged with bleach of the priest.’

Danny La Rue said ‘Sludge’ was ‘very original, very funny’ and liked his ‘cheeky jokes’ calling him ‘one of the funniest men he’d seen for a long time.’ Clifford Davis said ‘what I liked about this fellow was he hasn’t got any smut, it was all clean stuff.’

George Elrick enjoyed his lovely routine and outfit and said ‘I think he’ll make the grade, he’s great.’ Tony Hatch added ‘he’s a naturally funny man’ and suggested he could be a chat show host or even take over Derek Hobson’s job as host of the show.

Jamie Stone sang his own song, Alice In Your Wonderland. Image: ATV Broadcast

Following the eventual winners, Koffee ‘n’ Kreme, was Jamie Stone who played piano and performed a new song called Alice In Your Wonderland.

Tony Hatch said that Jamie had ‘great talent’ adding ‘with this kind of talent and these kind of songs, he’s got to come through with the big one that’s going to make it for him.’ Danny La Rue again heard all the words adding Jamie was ‘charming’ and had ‘great talent.’

Clifford Davis described his singing style as a ‘slightly strangled sound’ to cries of ‘unfair, unfair’ from Tony Hatch. Clifford defended his comment saying that style was very popular with acts like superstars Rod Stewart and David Essex, but ‘it didn’t mean anything to me.’ George Elrick said ‘he’s a brilliant musician’ and that he had listened to the panel from his last appearance because his previous song wasn’t very commercial but he thought this new song was very commercial.

Leeds vocalist Kerry Meadows.
Image: ATV Broadcast

The next act was vocalist Kerry Meadows, who performed her rendition of the Johnny Mathis single When A Child Is Born. Kerry was dressed in a full length yellow dress and performed on a series of raised platforms stood between by a pair of fake trees and with a large star backdrop.

Clifford Davis kicked off the judges comments by saying ‘I’m glad Johnny Mathis has got a hit with it, but I can’t see anybody else getting a hit with it, perhaps it’s the way he sings it,’ adding ‘personally, it’s not my cup of tea.’ George Elrick thought Kerry lost out with the spoken lyrics in the middle of the song, saying she was slightly out of time with them.

Tony Hatch didn’t think the song was the right choice as the spoken lyric doesn’t work as well for a female singer as it does for a male singer, saying ‘it doesn’t carry the same weight of sincerity.’ Danny La Rue concluded by saying that ‘she looks lovely’ but thought there were better numbers for her, however, he added ‘she’d be very good on the stage’ and advised that you didn’t need to make records to be successful.

Comedy singer songwriter Jaime Adams sang Santa Missed Us.
Image: ATV Broadcast

Jaime Adams was the next act to perform and was another act that wrote her own material, performing her comedy song Santa Missed Us. The performance featured the Johnny Patrick Orchestra, who added some deliberately out of tune and quirky backing music to her guitar and Black Country accent, which was very clear in the lyrics, which began;

You ought to be at our house, when Christmas time comes round
There’s no coal in the fire grate, and the snow is on the ground
Me old man’s at the boozer, ’til a quarter after four
and me Mother’s scrounging pennies from the singers at the door
Santa’s missed us, same as every Christmas, but we’ll have a party just the same

Santa Missed Us by Jaime Adams.

Danny La Rue compared Jaime to poet Pam Ayres (although not by name), however he loved the satire and prefered Jaime’s act. Clifford Davis called her ‘a female Lonnie Donegan’ adding ‘it’s very hard for a girl to be funny’ which Danny La Rue took great exception to leading to the pair bickered throughout the rest of Clifford’s comments.

George Elrick thought ‘had this song been recorded and put out for Christmas it could have been a hit’ adding ‘she’s a very clever girl Jaime.’ He also liked the out of tune orchestration, joking ‘which of course isn’t very difficult for Johnny Patrick.’

Final act of the show were Manchester group Fairfield Welles. Image: ATV Broadcast

The final act on the show were Fairfield Welles who were another act to sing an original song, performing their track Miracle. The Manchester group gave a powerful performance that prompted Tony Hatch to say he thought ‘this group has promise’ adding ‘they’ve got a lot of the ingredients that can make success.’ Danny La Rue spotted that a few of the members of the group were related, which was confirmed by the group, and said they were ‘a young, fresh and very attractive group.’

Clifford Davis said he ‘couldn’t understand a word they were singing’ before quickly passing over to George Elrick who confirmed that he did understand what they were doing, saying ‘they have promise and they should keep at it.’

The judges scored each act out of one hundred marks and the final scoreboard looked like this;

George ElrickClifford DavisDanny La RueTony HatchTotal
1Koffee ‘n’ Kreme9410010097391
2Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees90859890363
3=Jaime Adams100809081351
3=Jamie Stone95809086351
5Penny Farthing80808574319
6Kerry Meadows80758070305
7Fairfield Welles92607577304
The winners Koffee ‘n’ Kreme dropped just nine points.

This show is one of the few where a recording still exists and you can watch the whole show in the inserted video below.

18 Dec 1975 New Faces Near Misses show, won by Koffee ‘n’ Kreme. Video: Phillip Corns

Archive: A copy is held by the BFI – Work – 571897

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