3 Dec 1977 – Series Six (13)

Show Winner Cherry Roland
Image: The Stage Media Company Limited

Bandleader Ray Ellington, father of a former New Faces winner Lance (Koffee ‘n’ Kreme), was back on the judges panel for the thirteenth show of the series. Joining him were Tony Hatch, Rosalie Horner and Peter Prichard.

The seven new acts looking to impress the judges were;

  • Cathal Dunne (vocalist / pianist) from Dublin
  • Cherry Roland (vocalist) from North East
  • Libra Brothers (vocal trio) from Sheffield
  • Dry Ice (four-piece Group) from Leicester
  • Oliver Spencer (comedian / impressionist) from Sutton Coldfield
  • The Champions (six-piece Group) from Dublin
  • Frank Lee (comedian) from Hertfordshire
Cherry Roland (1974). Image: The Stage Media Company Limited

The winner of the show was vocalist Cherry Roland. Cherry’s entertainment career started when she was still at school and took off in 1962 when she was cast in the Milton Subotsky movie Just For Fun, which was billed as the biggest teen-musical on earth, and co-starred Mark Wynter.

The movie, released in 1963, featured a number of pop acts of the time and included Bobby Vee, Johnny Tillotson, Joe Brown, Jet Harris, Tony Meehan, Brian Poole, The Springfields and The Vernons Girls. The music for the movie was written by New Faces judge Tony Hatch, who was on the panel for this show.

Cherry released a number of singles in the 1960s before forming a band called The Cherry Roland Explosion, which met with some success in Germany. In 1971 Cherry decided on a solo career and made several tours across the continent and cruised around the world, including performances on the QEII.

In 1974 Cherry released the single Here Is Where The Love Is on the Decca record label and in 1977 was a Variety Club award winner. In 1980 Cherry was on the bill at the Best of West Midlands Burgon Hughes Showcase at La Reserve in Sutton Coldfield sporting a deep tan from her time in South Africa where she received five gold discs.

Irish singer Cathal Dunne.
Image: Daily Mirror, Reach PLC. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

26 year old Cathal Dunne, nephew of the former Prime Minister of Ireland, Jack Lynch, received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University College of Cork. He had his first top ten hit in Ireland in 1976 with the song Danny.

Six months before his New Faces appearance, Irish singer pianist Cathal had won the Castlebar Song Content in Ireland, with his own song Shalom, and was the star of the RTE TV show Me And My Music. Around the same time Cathal had also released his latest single Lucky Child on the EMI record label.

In 1979 Cathal won the Irish National Song Contest with his song Happy Man, earning the right to represent his country at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, where he finished in fifth place, beating the United Kingdom’s Black Lace but losing to the winning act Milk And Honey with their song Hallelujah. The song Happy Man sold 250,000 copies and hit the number one spot in Europe and Ireland.

Following his Eurovision appearance Cathal disbanded his Stateside band, and decided to add five new backing musicians, named Formula. Cathal spent the 1979 carnival season in Killarney, then in September with his new band headed off to Sweden on a four-week tour.

Over the years Cathal he has performed with Bob Hope, Al Martino, Tony Orlando and for several American Presidents. These days Cathal has dropped the T and now goes by the name Cahal Dunne. He emigrated to the United States after playing some shows in Michigan in 1982 and now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2022 Cahal has tours of Florida and Ireland scheduled

Comedian Oliver Spencer
Image: The Stage Media Company Limited

Sutton Coldfield comedian and impressionist Oliver Spencer had previously been a drummer and a vocalist with a number of Birmingham based groups. In 1959, playing drums under the name Roger Spencer, he was one of the founding members of Billy King and the Nightriders. When Billy King left in 1962 he was replaced by Mike Sheridan and the group renamed as Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders.

New guitarist Roy Wood joined the group in 1964, but left at the end of 1965 to form The Move. In 1966, now performing as The Nightriders, a new guitarist, keyboard and vocalist named Jeff Lynne joined the group. They changed their name again, first to The Idyll Race and finally deciding on The Idle Race and performed together for the next four years as a four piece group with original member Dave Pritchard and Greg Masters completing the line-up. In 1967 they performed at the Cedar Club, Birmingham with Ben E King and have also been the support act for The Who. Their lack of chart success for despite critical acclaim remains a mystery, especially as the band were no strangers to radio and TV appearances. They even appointed DJ Kenny Everett as honourary fan club president and he claimed ‘the Idle Race are second only to The Beatles.’

In early 1970 Roy Wood offered Jeff Lynne a place in the group The Move, which he accepted, replacing the departing future New Faces theme tune singer Carl Wayne. The duo later formed the Electric Light Orchestra. Meanwhile Roger quit The Idle Race in 1971 and moved into TV production and briefly joining comedy cabaret band, Sight and Sound, who made two appearances in the earlier series of New Faces, although it’s unclear if Roger was in the line-up. Following a spell with the group Roger became the comedian Oliver ‘Ollie’ Spencer and was the compere for the Gene Pitney UK tour. Some of the impressions included in his act were Peters and Lee and The Muppets. Oliver also appeared on seven consecutive shows on The Comedians, appearing on every show which was a mark of his success during that series.

Oliver made a number of appearance on ATV’s Saturday morning show Tiswas in early 1979 and was the long-running warm-up man for the show, which starred Lenny Henry and also featured Jim Davidson. One of the characters Oliver played on the show was Barbara Woodshed (based on dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse) who once performed on the show with New Faces finalists Showaddywaddy. His son, Ollie Spencer Jnr. also made many a number of appearances on Tiswas and at the age of eleven he was a contestant on the Central TV New Faces revival on a show filmed at the Birmingham Hippodrome in 1986.

In June 1979 he was performing in cabaret at the Oasis Playtime Club, Lichfield supported by another New Faces contestant, Ora Pasco. The Lichfield venue seemed to draw upon former New Faces acts with comedy showgroups Yakity Yak and Sight ‘n’ Sound also appearing at the venue during the same month.

Sheffield trio the Libra Brothers were Frank Cawthrow, Charlie Foster and Gordon Scholey. Even before this appearance on the show the Libra Brothers had been signed up for a BBC TV Northern club-style variety show that had been recorded in October 1977 and was due to be shown in early 1978. The unnamed show also featured a number of former New Faces stars including Paul Shane, Mike Dennett and Chic and magic act The Duvals.

Despite not winning the show the dynamic male vocal trio the Libra Brothers clearly impressed someone as they were signed up by Dickie Hurran for his summer Showtime show at Blackpool’s North Pier. Also on the bill in the same show were series three winner Marti Caine and magician Paul Daniels.

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