TV Cream

TV: N is for...

New Faces

SHODDINESS INCARNATE made bearable by the gantry of gripe that was the “celebrity panel”, dispatching pith and petulance in short order courtesy from the likes of TONY HATCH, TED RAY, ED STEWART, MICKIE MOST and NOEL EDMONDS. Winners who managed to notch up those all important Presentation, Content and Star Quality points included VICTORIA WOOD, LENNY HENRY, GARY WILMOT and… others. DEREK “THAT’S MY DOG” HOBSON shovelled the fledglings off for the adverts. Revived in mid-80s with MARTI CAINE as ringmistress and NINA MYSKOW barking from the gallery.

Here’s a selection of those wonderful act names:

Fair Cop, a Peterlee folk group

Bollards, a Bristol comedy trio

Monopoly, a five-piece group from North London.

Hooker, a four-piece group from Birmingham

Shaneda, a four piece group from Bodmin

Harmony and Slyde, a vocal/instrumental duo from Exeter

Curley, a sIx-piece group from Markfield, Leicester

Piggleswick, a four-piece group from Oxon

Brother Kip, a seven-piece soul group from Letchworth, Herts

Distinction, four girl singers from Merseyside

Mardi-Gras, a five-piece group from Hessle, near Hull

Why Not, four-piece group from Stoke-on-Trent

Teapot Brown, a five-piece group from London

Soul Direction, a five-piece group from Birmingham

Railout, a six-piece group from Dudley, West Midlands

Peter Collins and Style, a four-piece group from Norwich

Heritage, a five-piece group from Grays, Essex



  1. Glenn A

    October 17, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Britain’s Got Talent for the seventies, although Cowell is tame compared to Tony Hatch, one of the most disliked people of his day for his cutting( truthful) comments on some of the acts. Lynsey de Paul was an occasional panelist, come to think of it anything that had something to do with music in those days featured the former Miss Monckton Rubin.

  2. Arthur Nibble

    October 17, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Wasn’t there another feared panellist called Clifford Davis, who looked and sounded as threatening as the Grim Reaper?

    I remember the panellists actually advising one really good ‘Georgie Fame and The Flames’ -style group to change their name otherwise they’d get nowhere. They were called Soft Pedal. Wonder what happened to them?

  3. Glenn A

    October 17, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I vaguely remember him and also they had Arthur Askey in earlier versions who looked like he was ready to drop and referred to every act as ” lovely”. Mickey Most was my favourite as he was balanced and didn’t go out to deliberately rubbish acts and was more constructive than the Hatchet man. Would I be right in thinking a contestant punched Tony Hatch after he gave them 0 points?

    • George White

      March 1, 2024 at 8:52 am

      Are you thinking of Ken Worthington, TV’s ‘clarinet man’ who came last in 73?

  4. Lee James Turnock

    May 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t think Hatch ever got thumped, but he did have to be escorted to safety on at least one occasion. A Northampton band called ‘Spearmint’ (last seen doing a live show in the Grosvenor shopping centre in the late 90s) and a Leicester band called ‘Loco’ were also among the hopefuls featured.

  5. Louis Barfe

    May 27, 2010 at 1:56 am

    There was a splendid documentary made about New Faces, circa 1974, which was shown at the last Kaleidoscope shebeen in Stourbridge, having been recovered from the producer’s private recording. It showed the auditions – then a novelty, now a staple of TV talent shows, including a frankly baffling act involving an old bloke and a stuffed parrot.

  6. Glenn A

    December 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Would I be right in thinking Lynsey de Paul was a judge at one stage? Actually in the mid seventies LDP seemed to be on everything.

  7. Gid Taylor

    April 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Hi, I was a member of the duo ‘ Two a penny’ on New Faces in December 1974 with Marti Caine.
    Just trying to think of the panel that day. Mickie Most, Ted Ray, Martin Jackson , and?

  8. Jon Perrin

    March 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Hello My father Andy Perrin was on the new faces show in i think 1974 with local Birmingham band called Ground Pepper with a song called Dracula Mania and Athur Askey quoted “Ground Pepper…. not a group to be sneezed at”… Does anybody know if the footage still exsits or is there anybody on here who knows any of the other members.. Steve Thompson and his sister Sue on guitars and Rob Sowton on bass guitar.
    thanks Jon Perrin

  9. Lisa Murphy

    March 24, 2014 at 9:42 am

    My dad was the lead singer in soft pedal. They dispanded around 1982. Shame really, the only time I hear my dad singing is on karaoke on holiday, mostly a bee gees song. He still has it.

  10. steven holmes

    October 9, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Hi. I belive my dad was on the first show. Either as Jason and gee or the maccord brothers a singing duo. Believe the tapes for 1973 are missing. Excpt ep14.

  11. Terry Steward

    February 4, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    The Grays Band “Heritage” all Still Play in Bands in the Grays/Basildon and surrounding Areas,,Gary Parish Drummer,Is in a Band Called “The Beagles” Bassist Len Flack is in “Chinawhite” Keysman Wayne Baker Often plays in “Captured” 2Nd Guitarist & 2nd Vocals Ken Butler is in The Rubettes,,John Head lead Singer is Still singing up north somewhere,,they had a reunion a while back,With Lead Guitarist Paul,Although i know little of him,,I have played in various Bands With Len,Ken and Wayne

  12. harvey wood

    June 14, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I was on new faces in 1975 does anyone have any copies or information please thanks

  13. Glenn Fraser

    July 11, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    I was on the same show in 1974 the documentary was complete following an act called Francis Mallon (followed him on – all time low score aswell)!
    Also on when Les Dennis eon viewers votes – are there any copies of any of these around or foes anyone know who to contact to get copies.

  14. gor llewin

    January 31, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    i distinctly remember an incident when one of the judges, tony hatch I think, gave an ‘impressionist’ first ‘no points’ then ‘even less’.
    NOW I always thought this act was on to something, for he was combining TWO characters in one, and among others we had benny hill’s ‘fred scuttle’ as lee major’s ‘bionic man’. in fact, very innovative and I wonder if the new age types have built on this basic idea.

  15. geoff smith soul direction

    May 27, 2019 at 2:12 am

    i can remember to this day iin the make up chair being done ,next to mickey most,who asked how i was doing,i said to him i was exshausted! i d done 4 gigs on the trot that week i was really knacked 😧 it was a shame one of his bands were on the same night ,guess who won we came 2/3rd i think,.

  16. Richardpd

    January 1, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    At one time there was a documentary which traced some former contestants from this show & some of the other talent shows.

    One was a very 1970s teacher (NHS specs, long hair…) who did a nice turn as a folk singer. He was offered a 3 album deal but was dropped after his single flopped.

    The theme tune was by Carl Wayne of The Move.

    Marti Caine’s life could easily be a Play For Today, going from housing estate housewife in Sheffield to minor star for a few years to dying too early from cancer.

  17. Glenn Aylett

    January 1, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    @ Richardpd, there was a glam act who appeared on New Faces called Arrows who had a couple of moderate hits and the show discovered Lenny Henry. Five years later, Lenny became popular through another ATV show, Tiswas, and never looked back.

  18. Richardpd

    January 1, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    Arrows recorded the original version of I Love Rock & Roll. The also managed to get a short lived music show on TV.

    I remember there was a documentary a few years ago about Lenny Henry’s raise to fame which started with his New Faces audition.

    • Glenn Aylett

      January 2, 2022 at 12:19 pm

      @ Richardpd, his Frank Spencer impersonation won over the panel and the audience. Then Lenworth Henry had a very tough apprenticeship playing working men’s clubs, where the audiences and club stewards were sometimes racist and hostile, and being conned by an agent. However, Tiswas and Three Of A Kind beckoned in the early eighties and Lenny became a big star.

  19. Richardpd

    January 2, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Another early TV appearance for Lenny Henry was as Sonny in The Fosters, which was an adaptation of Good Times.

  20. Droogie

    January 6, 2022 at 1:21 pm

    Highly recommend Lenny Henry’s excellent autobiography Who Am I Again? which covers his early New Faces years.. Crackerjack comedian Don McClean who takes Lenny under his wing comes out of it well, but the real surprise is how much Lenny praises Keith Harris. They do a season together at some seaside resort, and Harris gives Lenny massive support and invaluable advice on stagecraft.

    • Richardpd

      January 6, 2022 at 10:37 pm

      I’ll have to look out for it, sounds like a good read.

      For a few years Keith Harris was a fairly hot property getting good TV ratings & being able fill theatres for live shows. Sadly he wasn’t so savvy business wise & made some bad deals that left him short of money once the appeal of Orville & Cuddles started to slip towards the end of the 1980s & the TV shows went from being on prime time to CBBC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top