TV Cream

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Opportunity Knocks

FANFARE FOR the common man, woman, child, four-piece close-harmony crooners, assorted domestic pets and muscle-bound mincers. The personal fiefdom of HUGHIE GREEN, who in-between trying to save the nation from socialist revolution and conceiving PAULA YATES, considered it his duty to scour the country’s highways and byways in order to serve up a generation of variety entertainment bar none. Instead what he found was PAM “OI WISH OI’D LOOKED ARFTER ME TEETH!” AYRES, LITTLE AND LARGE, FREDDIE “PARROT FACE” DAVIES, LENA ZAVARONI, MARY HOPKIN, TOM O’CONNOR and PETERS AND LEE. Ever-present Clapometer would “register” audience approval, then viewers were invited to write in (no expense spared here) to nominate their favourite from among each week’s most popular artistes. Winner would be “revealed” the following week, when they’d go up against the latest batch of jesters, and so on. SU POLLARD was beaten by a singing dog, so at least the country had some sense. Revived by BOB MONKHOUSE in 1987 as BOB SAYS OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS or Bob Knox as he preferred to call it, the world’s first ever phone-in talent show with proper candidate lists in Radio Times and everything.



  1. Arthur Nibble

    July 30, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    A live ‘Knocks’ edition from Butlin’s in Bognor Regis was one of the first colour ITV test transmissions – I remember we had to re-tune one of the clunky buttons on our set to receive the programme.

  2. Morgo

    March 5, 2010 at 11:29 am

    MY CLAIM TO FAME! I actually appeared on Op Knocks (as we old hands call it). I was a soprano in St. Kevin’s Boys Choir, Kirkby backing Audrey Graham in the End of Season (Christmas?) winner’s show. We weren’t contestants but our Choirmaster knew someone from Granada – it may even have been Roy Mayoh and we got the gig singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. The programme was taped in a studio in Didsbury and we were allowed to wander freely around the set during reheasals. They were generally a nice crew the technicians and cameramen letting us look through the big old pedestal cameras and explaining what was what in the studio. I bought an autograph book especially for the occasion and alongside ‘The Great Stromboli (& Sylvia)’ I got the signature of one of the most poular winners of that season, a one Mr. Les Dawson. Even Hughie Green seemed a nice chap, encouraging us in the rehearsals and the take. All this was in (I think) 1967. A friend’s Dad took a photo of the TV when it was broadcast and some years ago he e-mailed a copy and there I am in glorious, fuzzy, 405-line monochrome! Nevergot the showbiz bug though….

  3. Glenn A

    March 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    For any fans or non fans of Hughie Green, you must check out the Trevor Eve dramatisation as he manages to look like and sound like him. Also there is a nice little scene where Green tries to get a job for Paula Yates circa 1976 at Thames and there is a very convincing mock up of what the children’s department at Thames would have looked like then with photos of Sooty and the Rainbow puppets. Definitely one for TV Cream fans.

  4. Glenn A

    August 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    My grandparents were huge fans of Hughie Green, being so fanatical they used to buy LPs of some roadshow he did with the winners and one where he did a show at Butlins they attended in 1974. I did listen to his LP where he tries to do the Happy Wanderer with a mock German accent. My cousin, who had got the punk thing in 1977, not surprisingly referred to it as a load of old crap. Erm, bad move, Dawn, a bit like celebrating the death of Elvis in front of an Elvis convention.

  5. Christine Hazell

    June 6, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Does anyone have a picture of St Kevin’s School Choir when they appeared on Opportunity Knocks Winners Show in 1967. My brother was a member of the choir and I would love it if I could get a copy of the photo.

  6. Peter Longman

    January 22, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I was one of the choir group at the time, and we sang at 2 opportunity knocks christmas shows. The first we sang carols and the second land of hope and glory as Hughie Green was delivering a speech about how great Britain was. Also on the show was Tony Holland, the muscleman…good times. Around this time the choir was really quite well known and we went to the Golden Rose Festival in Montreaux Switzerland, singing against The world famous Vienna Boys Choir, and also singing at the Eistedford in Wales, not bad for a choir from Kirkby, Bob Berg was the choir master and was extremely charismatic.

  7. Philip mcGovern

    September 15, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Peter, I have no real idea how these things work but I stumbled across “st Kevin’s Choir” and came across your notes.

    Bob Berg was truly inspirational and left many with open doors to a musical experience.

    Did you further your singing and are you in touch with others from the choir? Right now I am away from home but somewhere in a box I am sure I have a grainy black n white pic of the Christmas Opportunity Knocks

    To be continued……..


  8. Peter Longman

    March 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Philip, good to hear from you, it’s really strange how these things work out, and also strange how the moment you have some time to yourself memories come flooding back which were previously kept well under lock and key.
    After leaving school at 16, I lost touch with many members of the choir as things changed. But over the years I have seen Gerry Tunstall often, a really good bloke.
    Singing wise, I’m afraid I left it at the school, mainly because there just wasn’t the opportunity to take it any further.
    What about yourself…all good ?

  9. Alan Matthews

    July 28, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    I was also a boy soprano in St Kevin’so boys choir on Op Knocks.. couple of things I remember.. Also on the bill the year we sang Land of Hope and Glory was Freddie Starr, fronting a group as Freddie Starr and The Delmonts . I also remember we were given lunch in the canteen and Hughie Green came in and sat with us while we were scoffing our fish and chips.

  10. Applemask

    September 22, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    Everyone always forgets that one series presented by Les Dawson, right on the heels of his last run on Blankety Blank. The great man was ubiquitous for about forty minutes there. People probably forget “Les Says Opportunity Knocks” (it wasn’t called that) because it wasn’t particularly memorable, was about six episodes shorter and failed to persuade either Les or the BBC to carry on.

  11. Tom Ronson

    October 24, 2022 at 4:49 am

    I think the most astonishing thing about Hughie Green (leaving aside the fact that he was a barking right winger, a drunk, a womanizer, and a thoroughly nasty piece of work) was that he had a perfect comedy face, but absolutely no capacity for comedy performance whatsoever, as witnessed by his abysmal cameo in 1977’s What’s Up Superdoc, one of the biggest blots on British cinema’s admittedly tatty copybook. Thames Television, of course, sacked him for his unpalatably strong views. They should have got John Bluthal in to replace him, because he did the best Hughie Green impression in the business (and was infinitely more likeable).
    Oh yes – the BBC Four docu-drama with Trevor Eve as Hughie is tremendous fun, if only because it’s so mean-spirited and determined to dig up every last bit of dirt it can find – complete with sex scenes that seem to have been spliced in from something like Confessions of a Pop Performer. And I mean that most sincerely, folks!

  12. George White

    October 24, 2022 at 11:08 am

    Have you seen there’s an interview with him from around that time where he states that the reason he did this filthy sexcom was words to the effect that we all need a laugh, and he seems convinced it’s family-friendly.

    RE:the acts, there’s this wonderful documentary from BBC North from 1976 about Punch, a sub-sub-Creme Brulee act who desperately want to be Smokie. Some of them are in their thirties, the others merely looking like they’re in their thirties, who think that Opp Knocks is their way out of clubland hell.

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