February 1974 – Series Two Auditions

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With the second series of New Faces due to start in April 1974, once agin Les Cocks took to the road to find over 100 acts that would fill the 13 week schedule from April 6 to the July 6 final.

ATV took out a full page advert in The Stage on 24 January 1974 that read;

ATV need nearly 100 new acts of all kinds for their 13 week “New Faces” television series. “New Faces” will give new talent a chance on television throughout the country.

If you think you are good enough to hit the big-time, this is your chance. Come to the auditions being held by producer, Les Cocks at;

Date Venue/City
Thu 31 Jan – Fri 1 Feb 1974 La Dolce Vita, Birmingham
Mon 4 – Tue 5 Feb 1974 Bailey’s Club, Oldham
Thu 7 – Fri 8 Feb 1974 City Varieties Theatre, Leeds
Mon 11 – Tue 12 Feb 1974 Robin Adair, Newcastle
Wed 13 – Thu 14 Feb 1974 Kingston Hall, Glasgow
Mon 18 – Tue 19 Feb 1974 New Tito’s Club, Cardiff
Thu 21 – Fri 22 Feb 1974 Top Rank Suite, Bristol
Mon 25 – Tue 26 Feb 1974 Victoria Palace, London
Wed 27 Mar 1974 Novotel, Longford, Coventry

All auditions ran from 9:30am to 5:30pm, which the exception of the 7 Feb in Leeds which finished at 1:00pm and both London dates that finished at 4:45pm.

The Leeds auditions, held at the famed City Varieties Theatre, were descended on by dozens of artistes without an appointment time. The city’s main thoroughfare, Briggate, was rammed with vehicles of all types containing artistes’ gear, all unloading at the same time. Many artistes failed to impress during their short three or four minute audition period but were a huge winner with the Traffic Wardens who issued many of them with a parking ticket.

Around the week of the auditions in Birmingham a couple of former New Faces contestants also performed at La Dolce Vita club. Third placed Jackie Carlton entertained on Tuesday 28 January 1974 and George Whatsisname (Bernie Thompson) performed with the Brotherhood of Man the following week on 4 February 1974.

OldhamAuditions1974
New Faces hopeful audition acts at Bailey’s Club in Oldham 1974. Back Row: (L to R) Jimmy Lister, Paddy Cassidy. Reg Coates. Dave Bennett. Seated: Roy Mack, Joey Simca, Jackie Carlton. Evelyn Doyle, and standing extreme right Frank “Foo-Foo Lammar. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited.

Jackie Carlton also made a supporting appearance at a packed Bailey’s Club in Oldham on Tue 5 February 1974. In his column in The Stage, Arthur Waite described the auditions as ‘like being plunged into the middle of a football match.‘ Arthur also reported that the previous day was so busy that some acts had been held over to perform for Les Cocks and his team on the second day of the Oldham auditions.

One act who impressed Arthur Waite with his all too brief appearance on the day was a young impressionist by the name of Jon Harvey and he was heavily tipped to feature on a future show of the forthcoming series. Arthur is clearly a good judge of talent as that impressionist, by then going by the name of Aiden J. Harvey did appear on the show and go on to great success.

The majority of first day auditions at Cardiff were singers, but in attendance on the second day was the comedian Ricky Lomas, who we would get to see on the television series. Les Cocks confirmed that he had seen over 100 acts on the first day alone, so to make it through from the auditions was a huge achievement.

AuditionsMay1974
ATV Birmingham Auditions Advert . Sports Argus 18 May 1974. Image: Trinity Mirror. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. All rights reserved.

The acts at the auditions in Coventry were arranged by Q Artistes and were by invitation only. Les Cocks and other distinguished guests were present and considered the acts on show for the forthcoming series.

It appeared that the show did not find the desired number of acts from the original auditions and some additional Birmingham based auditions were held in mid-May 1974 when the series still had four heats left to record. It was later confirmed that the acts selected from these audition sessions would be featured in the third series that was confirmed to start autumn 1974.

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