17 Dec 1977 – Series Six (15)

Sheffield group Jady Jay Trio.
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

On the panel to offer his expert opinion for his tenth show appearance, over the last two series, was musician and songwriter Les Reed. Les was joined experienced judges Mickie Most, Jack Parnell and Jimmy Henney, who between them had collectively appeared on over 100 shows.

The judges assessed and scored seven acts including a comedian, an impressionist and five musical acts. They were;

  • Jady Jay Trio (vocalists) from Sheffield
  • George King (impressionist) from Eccles
  • Barnaby Rudge (four-piece group) from London
  • Roy Phoenix (vocalist) from Bristol
  • Brian Carroll (comedian) from Yorkshire
  • Christie ‘G’ (vocalist) from Sheffield
  • Foxglove (four-piece group) from St. Helens
The winning act was vocalist Christie G.
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The winner of the show was Sheffield based vocalist Christie G, real name Linda Littlewood, who was originally from Doncaster. She adopted the stage name of Christie G when she was eighteen years-old and singing with a group called Christie’s People. In 1973 Christie made an appearance on rival talent show Opportunity Knocks, but as four years had passed since her previous network television appearance the show’s rules allowed her to appear on New Faces.

Back in October 1974 Christie was making an impression at the Mansfield Brewery Clubland Talent Show in Mexborough, which also featured polished magicians The Duvals, who appeared on New Faces in series three (show 3.15) at the end of 1974.

Two months before her appearance on this show Christie G was one of a number of acts with a New Faces connection to appear in Johnny Pellar’s Spectacular ’77 show at the Aquarius Nightclub in Chesterfield. The other New Faces discoveries on the bill were Ron Delta, Spencer K Gibbins, Colin ‘Fingers’ Henry, The Libra Bros, Mother Nature’s Children, Turnstyle and show compare Pat McClusky. The evening also featured an appearance by series three winner Marti Caine, although she did not perform. The show was also attended by chiefs from ATV, BBC, Pontin’s and Butlin’s plus a number of record companies.

Just short of twelve months after appearing on this show Christie was selected to top the bill at the first of the 1978 Clubland Awards Presentation Shows. Headlining the show at the Crookes Working Men’s Club, Christie G was joined by comedian Paul Shane and talented trio Canned Rock who had also both previously been seen on New Faces. At the end of the year Christie secured her first key role in pantomime when she played the lead in Aladdin at the Wakefield Theatre Club. Christie was back in panto again at the end of 1979 when she played Robin Hood in the Sheffield Fiesta Club production of Babes in the Wood.

In November 1980 Christie was back on a talent show when she was a contestant on the first programme of the new London Weekend Television Search For A Star series, hosted by Steve Jones. On the same show was the young ventriloquist Jimmy Tamley, who seven years later would win the Grand Final of New Faces ’87, the Central TV revival of the original series. Christie was invited to perform on the series final, which saw comedy show group The Nobodies (show 4.8 joint winners), finish in third place and was won by comedian Fogwell Flax, who had been a New Faces winner on show 6.3 with the duo Union Jack.

Sheffield comedian Brian Carroll clearly impressed television viewers with his performance on this show as he returned to the New Faces studios for another appearance on the Viewer’s Request show in March 1978.

Back in September 1973 Brian was in the supporting cast of The Wolf by Ferenc Molnar at the Oxford Playhouse, which starred Judi Dench, Leo McKern and Edward Woodward. In 1976 he joined the cast of No Sex, Please We’re British which was playing at London’s The Strand and was represented by the Nottingham based Paul Kaye Agency, who also managed a number of other first-class acts.

Following his appearance on the show Brian’s droll sense of humour and fondness for dialect stories saw him being tipped to become one of the country’s leading comedians and in 1979 it seemed he had got his break when he joined a number of former New Faces acts in the line-up for ITV’s new series of The Comedians. In 1982 Brian was back in theatre as he appeared in Hamlet at London’s Young Vic and in June 1983 Brian was cast as the narrator in the Nottingham production of The Rocky Horror Show, which he delivered with chilling mystery.

In December 1984 Brian Carroll was tragically killed in a road accident, cutting short a promising career at the age of just 38. A tribute to Brian was held in April 1985 in An Evening of Music, Poetry and Prose at The Paris Studio London.

Newly formed four-piece group Foxglove finished in third place after they performed their own composition Hang on to Love. The group members Colin, Peter, Les and Cozy were fully professional musicians and between them played over twenty instruments. They were managed by Liverpool DJ Norman Thomas who’s phone didn’t stop ringing with offers of recordings and other work after their appearance on the show. Norman put much of the interest down the the groups ‘clean-cut look’ and the fact that the four talented lads ‘seem to be enjoying themselves.’

The judges also had some encouraging words for the group. Mickie Most thought ‘their music was for young people, by young people’ and added ‘this band is full of energy and youth.’ Les Reed thought Foxglove were a ‘good visual group,’ who were ‘very reminiscent of the New Faces.’

Impressionist George King with his Grand Jubilee winners trophy.
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Impressionist George King was known in clubs for mixing his excellent impressions with clever comedy and highly entertaining ad-libbing. He also had the ability to quickly firmly rebuke any hecklers without being overly insulting. Just a few months before his appearance on this show George won the Grand Jubilee Talent Contest at Macclesfield’s Music Hall where his impressions of audience members, performed at will, were quite outstanding.

Just over twelve months after appearing on the show George was the host for the Bernard Manning comedy show at the New Cresta, Solihull where adverts advised the audience they ‘should not bring your maiden aunt.’ Later the same year George was performing as support for The Nolan Sisters in Startime ’79 on the Pier at Cleethorpes. In the supporting cast for the show were the Tommer Puppets, who won show 3.22 back in series three of New Faces. The three acts would be reunited four years later in a ten show run at the Royal Opera House in Scarborough, but Nick Thomas (Tommer Puppets) was now producing the show and magician Wayne Dobson joined the performing line-up.

In 1979 George and Brian Carroll, his fellow contestant on this show, were just two of a large number of former New Faces acts to star in the latest series of ITV’s The Comedians. Other comedians that featured in the same series were Bob Curtiss (show 2.10), Mike Kelly (show 4.26), Johnny Carroll (show 2.11), Roy Walker (show 5.7), Mick Miller (show 3.42), Lee Wilson (show 5.2), and Stan Boardman discovered on rival show Opportunity Knocks.

In January 1987 George signed a twelve month residency as the compare at Blackpool’s Viking Hotel, Talk of the Coast cabaret lounge. In addition to hosting the year-round star nights at the venue and presenting his own comedy spots George hosted the resort’s biggest talent contest Star Trail, which offered £2,500 in prize money. The star names that appeared in his first twelve months at the venue included The Black Abbots, Frank Ifield, Freddie and the Dreamers, Charlie Williams, Black Onyx, The Ivy League and Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown (show 6.14).

By the early 1990s, George had dropped most of his earlier impressions, keeping the occasional Arthur Askey or Bernard Manning, replacing them with topical memories and a more wandering routine which left no member of the audience safe from being encouraged to join in the fun, but one that never stepped the wrong side of decency. In 1991 George was back in Blackpool, once again, hosting Talk of the Coast’s spring and summer shows, where he also married Blackpool dancer Deborah Spencer, who was appearing in Cinderella in the seaside town.

In 1993 George teamed up with ‘Crush a grape’ comedian Stu Francis to form the Blackpool based Francis King Entertainments, who quickly secured the sole booking contract at a new 500 capacity cabaret venue on Blackpool’s North Promenade. They soon secured other contracts with Viking and Choice Hotels which they ran for several years until George departed Blackpool for Tenerife in 1996. After six years as a compare at the Viking Talk of the Coast George wanted to move back to performing comedy and in addition to his contract in Tenerife, he also worked on P&O Cruises and in venues in Majorca.

The vocal group Jady Jay Trio had been performing for at least two years before their appearance on the show. Records show that in 1975 they performed at the Cambusnethan Miner’s Welfare Social Club, near Glasgow and performed the evening after comedian Paul Shane (show 3.23) had entertained the audience. Twelve months after they appeared on this show they were one of a number of acts who performed for a capacity audience at the opening night of the new £160,000 Brudnell Social Club in Leeds.

Comedy show group Barnaby Rudge were being championed by Ron Turnbull in The Stage as early as January 1972, when he urged readers to make a note of their name. In July 1974 they made a welcome return to the North East of the country where they had built a good following over a number of years in the clubs. In February 1975 Barnaby Rudge were the resident group at the newly opened, purpose built banquet hall, at Scarborough’s Castle Hotel.

The only information I could find about Bristol vocalist Roy Phoenix following his appearance on the show detailed his 1986 move from Bristol Club Snuffy’s to take up the role as compare at the Millionaire Club, also in Bristol, where he would have introduced acts such as The Dooleys, Iris Williams, Vince Hill, Brother Lees and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

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