24 Sep 77 – Series Six (3)

The group that opened the show were The Artful Dodgers.
Image: ATV Broadcast

Continuing the promise of more new faces on the judging panel, Albert Stevenson added comedian Don Maclean and Daily Express TV journalist Rosalie Horner to the panel for this third show in the new series. They joined experienced panel member Mickie Most and Radio One’s Tony Blackburn, making his third appearance on the panel having appeared twice in series five.

Rosalie Horner had appeared as a contestant on the original television show of New Faces in her native Australia, before moving to the UK, so she was well qualified to provide her expert view on the performances.

The seven new acts performing on the show were;

  • The Artful Dodgers (five-piece group) from London
  • Bobbie Jo West (vocalist) from London
  • The Sheratons (puppeteers) from Warley, West Mids.
  • Hard Pad (three-piece group) from Kidderminster
  • Bazz Harris (comedian) from Bradford
  • Jonathan Lavelle (vocalist) from Stockport
  • Union Jack (comedy duo) from Liverpool
Liverpool comedy duo Union Jack were the winners of the show.
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The winners of the show, with 112 points from a possible 120, were the Liverpool comedy duo Union Jack, who booked themselves a return appearance on the first All Winners Show of the series. You can see them being congratulated on their show win in the first thirty seconds of this You Tube video, which then goes on to show their All Winners Show performance.

The duo were Lennie Lloyd and Mike Woolley who had formed Union Jack, around two years before their New Faces appearance, with the intention of forming a new comedy showgroup.

Lennie and Mike had both been in different groups for a number of years, Lennie was the lead singer with the Liverpool group Mercury and Mike had been with the Numbskulls and his first band was Evolution, who have their name on the Liverpool Cavern Wall of Fame. When Mike and Lennie started performing shows together they were really well received by audiences so they decided to continue as a duo. Both were accomplished guitarists and along with musical numbers their act also featured impressions and comedy routines.

Lennie formerly worked at at a children’s hospital and Mike was a steeplejack before they gave up their jobs to become full-time professional entertainers, working all over the country. Earlier in 1977 they were the first Liverpool act to entertain workers on Shetland Islands oil rigs, when they were flown out by private aircraft and their popularity resulted in return bookings.

Following their success on the show their agent, Ricky McCabe, was kept busy fielding calls from a number of concert promoters, with one offer coming from an agent offering a three week Canadian tour. It was also reported that Tony Blackburn had spoken to his contacts to try to line-up a recording contract for the duo. The only problem was the duo had already committed to a number of bookings for the remainder on 1977, so any new work had to wait until the following year.

One half of Union Jack, Fogwell Flax in 1994.
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

After a couple of successful years, supporting acts as varied as Lulu and Max Bygraves, the duo parted company with Mike continuing performing and songwriting for a number of various bands and as a solo artist before taking a job as a props and design supervisor for Granada Television. He still performs part-time but has now worked for Liverpool Magistrates Court since 2002. Following the split Lennie reinvented himself as comedy impressionist Fogwell Flax and in December 1980 he won the BBC talent show Search For A Star, setting a record in his heat by being the first act to score the maximum points possible. His win came just after he’d completed a UK tour as the support act for The Dooleys, with his humour appealing to the groups young audience.

In 1981 Foggie was back at the ATV Studios in Birmingham as a semi-regular co-presenter of crazy kids television show Tiswas and also made guest appearances on quiz shows 3-2-1, The Generation Game and Punchlines. Foggie’s win on Search For A Star gave him his one-off TV special, A Foggy Outlook, which aired in June 1982 and featured musical support from Hazel O’Connor and Madness, however, the show failed to establish him with the light entertainment television executives.

In 1984 Foggie worked on the first series of the satirical puppet show Spitting Image, also made at Birmingham’s ATV Studios, where he provided the voice for Queen Elizabeth II. Foggie’s appeared in many, many pantomimes all over the country and still performs today impersonating many famous vocalists, including Michael Bolton, Neil Diamond, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney and Bryan Ferry as well as performing a full tribute show to the music of Sting and The Police.

Runner-up, Bazz Harris.
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Runner-up on the show was pint-sized comedian Bazz Harris, who stood at just 4ft 10in. tall. He did, however, record a score in triple figures so would get a second chance in the first Near Misses show of the series on 19 November 1977.

Bazz had previously appeared on television back in 1973 when he was in the cast of Who Do You Do? with Freddie Starr, Johnny Moore, Peter Goodwright and New Faces series four judge Janet Brown.

Bazz’s zany, and well timed approach to comedy, often likened to Lou Costello or Ronnie Corbett, created a big impression with the judges and caused a lot of showbusiness booking agents to make enquiries.

Opening the show were a new group, The Artful Dodgers, who had been together for just five months. They sang one of their own songs, Oh La La La Me. Their look was carefully crafted with all five members wearing red trousers and the drummer wearing a white Dodgers baseball jacket. Completing the group, and performing arranged on platforms at different levels, were the two guitarists and a bass player and they were fronted by an energetic and lively vocalist. Their routine and the opening of this show is available on You Tube, however, this is the only performance footage of this show currently available.

Their routine was carefully choreographed with the group starting with their backs to the audience and finishing the routine in exactly the same way. The middle eight of song saw the drummer take a solo musical role with the three guitarists providing backing handclaps. Judge and record producer Mickie Most seemed quite impressed, saying ‘I quite enjoyed that. Image and sound are the two things that rock groups have to get together, and they certainly have image. Lots of energy.’ Mickie was however concerned that they were short of practice but felt that with hard work they could become a tighter musical group and go on to be a success. In 1978 they did release a single, Here We Go, but then they did, and split up.

The Artful Dodgers performed their own song Oh La La La Me.
Image: ATV Broadcast

Three of group, John Jay (bass), Paul Robinson (guitar) and Lindsay Simon James Honey (drums), joined a former Bay City Roller, Ian Mitchell, in The Ian Mitchell Band. The group never really found success in the UK, but did successfully tour Japan and released a LPs, Lonely Nites in 1979 and Goin’ Crazy in 1980. When the group spilt Lindsay Honey, along with Ian Mitchell, joined Bachelor Of Hearts with Lindsay switching from drums to keyboards.

During his time with The Ian Mitchell Band and Bachelor of Hearts Lindsay Honey, real name Simon James Honey, took a job working as a stripper and ‘model’ and in August 1979 he appeared in his first pornographic movie. He has later claimed his experiences with groupies in crowded dressing rooms while on tour, living the rock star life, removed any problems he may have had with nerves when needing to ‘perform’ in public or for the camera.

In the 1980s Lindsay worked as a photographer for Escort Magazine, doing photo shoots with his partner Linzi Drew. Together they later set up a mail order business selling adult movies and 1992 were both tried and convicted, under the Obscene Publications Act, for possessing and publishing obscene material for gain. Lindsay was sentenced to nine months in prison while his partner served a lesser sentence of four months. In 1996 the couple had a son who they also called Lindzi. He is now better known to many as actor, television presenter and star of TV shows Outnumbered and Cuckoo, Tyger Drew-Honey.

Since Lindsay’s movie debut in 1979 he has gone on to star in and direct of 150 adult movies and in 2006, under his new stage name of Ben Dover, he won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Adult Film Awards. He was also named in Hustler magazine’s Top 50 most influential people in porn.

Ultra violet puppeteers The Sheratons received positive comments from the judges.
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The ultraviolet light puppeteers Roger Michael (later known as Roger Darrock) and Stephen Howe of The Sheratons first met on a flight to Japan after both answering a job advert in The Stage for male assistants to perform with Faust the Magician in his big illusion shows in the Far East.

The puppeteers created a unique challenge for the ATV technicians, who didn’t have a suitable camera available that worked with their act’s low light performance conditions. While the fluorescent colours were perfectly picked up the the ultraviolet lights they didn’t actually emit a bright light. To overcome the issue The Sheratons recorded their act in Studio Two in both full light and ultra-violet light conditions and the technicians at ATV then blacked out the non-UV images electronically, which back in 1977 would have used a cutting-edge post-production technique.

The duo received some positive comments from the four judges. Rosalie Horner said they were ‘witty, different’ and Tony Blackburn thought they were ‘clever’ and ‘well presented.’ Comedian Don Maclean said their act was ‘very entertaining,’ adding, ‘they will never stop working’ and Mickie Most completed the comments by saying they were ‘novel, enjoyed it.’

The Sheratons stage act involved an astonishing number of characters in glorious fluorescent colours, which included animals, butterflies and The Beatles, backed by music, which was presumably provided by the Johnny Patrick Orchestra on the show. In April 1978 they appeared at the London Lyceum as a support act for French entertainer Marie Louise on an international flavoured show, however, their act could be enjoyed by a multi-national audience due to its mime and music themed nature.

Darrock & Howe as the Ugly Sisters. Image: Kindly supplied by Roger Darrock

In January 1979 The Sheratons performed their puppetry for two pantomime’s, Dick Whittington at H.M. Theatre Aberdeen and Sinbad The Sailor at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh. The summer of 1985 saw them entertaining young and the young at heart at the Rockley Sands Caravan Holiday Estate in Poole.

Over the years The Sheratons evolved their act, performing on cruise ships, theatres and cabaret and supported acts such as Gloria Gaynor, David Essex, The Three Degrees, David Copperfield, Bob Monkhouse and Freddie Starr, so it seems that Don Maclean was indeed correct.

From 1993 onwards the duo performed in pantomime as Darrock & Howe playing the role of the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella for a variety of producers including Paul Holman, Duggie Chapman, Stephen Stroud, Mark Andrews as well as Qdos, who also have a New Faces connection with their chairman Nick Thomas being the man behind Tommer Puppets.

In 2013, The Sheratons retired their puppet act and sold their ‘performers’ to a holiday park for use in their entertainment shows. Sadly the following December, in the middle of the run of Cinderella at the Albert Halls, Bolton, Stephen Howe died in his sleep bringing to an end the stage partnership he and Roger Darrock had shared for the previous 38 years.

Bobbie Jo West still from the show.
Image: Mary Rosanne Smith (Bobbie Jo West)

London vocalist Bobbie Jo West performed the Roberta Flack hit Killing Me Softly on the show, a song that she had featured in her stage show. Bobbie Jo started performing at just nine years old under her real name of Rosanne. She had also performed under the name Anne Michelle, which she chose as it was the name of the little girl she hoped one day to have, however, she now refers to her daughter as Shelly.

Rosanne previously worked in South Africa where she recorded a cover of Bobbie Gentry’s hit Ode to Billy Joe. On returning home to see her mum on her birthday she was taken ill and had to cancel her return to Durban. Commenting ‘that’s Billy Joe gone West,’ she had a lightbulb moment and the name Bobbie Jo West was created.

In December 1972 Bobbie Jo made her West End debut at London’s Original Edwardian Late Night Restaurant, The Boulogne. She was one of the four principals in a show called Splendide that also featured nine dancers and showgirls and performed two shows each evening at 10:45pm and 1:30am. A review in The Stage heaps praise on Bobbie Jo’s performance, ‘Leading lady Bobbie Jo West has been working as a single act, chiefly abroad, but she has the personality to carry off production numbers and the figure to wear those distinctive Daniel dress creations.’

After New Faces she returned to performing as Anne Michelle and then finally back to Rosanne and was known in Spain as the White Lady. Rosanne was featured on a news documentaries about the affect the miners strike was having on miners clubs during difficult times.

Vocalist Jonathan Lavelle.
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

In November 1986, nearly ten years after his appearance on this show, vocalist Jonathan Lavelle appeared with vocalist Chris Marlowe in the northern jazz promoters Ernie and Don Garside’s new 21-piece big band, the Mark Gillbanks Orchestra. They performed a regular Thursday night show at the Southern Hotel, Chorlton, Manchester. The show claimed to have the best jazz repertoire in Europe, using original scores written for the Maynard Ferguson, Count Basie, Louie Bellson and Woody Herman bands.

In July 1994 Jonathan was one of three singers in the Sunday season show at the Scarborough Opera House. The show, There Goes that Song Again, was a musical tribute to American songwriter Sammy Cahn and also featured Patti Gold and Morgan Lee James and was written and produced by Stuart Atkins.

Show Footage

The Artful Dodgers – Oh La La La Me

Credits: Mary Rosanne Smith (Bobbie Jo West) for the extra information and the images provided for this show.
Roger Darrock (formerly Roger Michael of The Sheratons) for the information about the technical challenges and also the career update and photographs of The Sheratons and The Ugly Sisters.

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