8 Jun 1974 – Series Two (10)

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Singer Nicola Christie. Image: ATV After All I’ve Been Through

Heat ten of the second series featured four regulars judges as Tony Hatch, Clifford Davis, Mickie Most and Arthur Askey gave their critical opinion on a further seven new acts;

  • Pyramid (Comedy/Instrumental Trio)
  • Nicola Christie (vocalist)
  • Glen and Lisa Fraser (Scottish piper and dancer) – Scored 92
  • Francis Mallon (Folk Singer) – Scored 65
  • David Sidaway (Violinist)
  • Bob Curtiss (comedian/impressionist) – Scored 90
  • Imagination (five-piece group) – Scored 78

Pyramid were a comedy group from Gateshead in the style of The Grumbleweeds who performed with a ventriloquist dummy and opened with a growling version of Wandering Star.

David Sidaway was a solo violinist who a medley of tunes accompanied by piano including Blue Spanish Eyes.

Winner of this heat and booking a place in the Grand Final of series two, with her version of Bread’s Make It With You, was vocalist Nicola Christie, who was told by panelist Mickie Most that she had “great teeth” and Arthur Askey said, “she looks gorgeous and she sang beautifully.”  Tony Hatch commented that “Nicola is a competent professional but somehow an exciting singer, I think she needs to develop more individual style.”

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Birmingham folk singer Francis Mallon.  Image: ATV After All I’ve Been Through

Birmingham folk singer Francis Mallon, a music and drama teacher at Birmingham’s Hodge Hill Mixed Comprehensive School, sang a song called After All I’ve Been Through, which was released as a single on the Gull Records label, on 11 October 1974. This was also the title of a documentary programme that ATV produced about the New Faces auditions which tracked the progress of Francis through the auditions all the way to this particular heat as well featuring some acts who would be seen on heat eleven of the show.

After his appearance Francis had one brief moment in the limelight as he joined fellow New Faces contestant David F. Eastman (S02, E12) to perform, as the star guests, in front of 800 attendees at the EMI Midlands Final of the Miss Cinema 1974 competition held at The Coventry Garage Ltd on 31 August 1974. The competition was hosted by New Faces compare Derek Hobson and was won by 20-year old Birmingham model, Juliana Tongue.

Hoping that his big chance would take him out of the classroom and into the pop charts, Francis was left sadly disappointed. The experts on the panel who were their to judge the acts were not kind. After the programme, which was regularly bringing work, if not fame and fortune to many performers, Francis was not overwhelmed with offers. Shortly after the show, he joined a quirky band, run by Nik Toczek, called “Stereo Graffiti” who performed their punk poetry/rock with blues feel sound at the Edinburgh fringe in 1976.

In 1977 Francis returned to his work in schools in an Educational Psychologist role for the next 33 years. Along with his day job, Francis still found time to pursue his role in entertainment, he performed in a rock ‘n’ roll band, several drama and musical companies, made an appearance with the Ambrosian Singers in a production of Verdi’s Aida (which was the first opera at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham) as well as performing solo and in an acoustic folk/roots group. Since 2010 he has retired from education and returned to entertainment and is a performing member of the Birmingham Crescent Theatre Company and is the Assistant Branch Secretary of the Birmingham Variety Branch of Equity.

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Highland Dancers Glen and Lisa Fraser, aged just 14 and 12. With thanks to Trinity Mirror. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. All rights reserved.

Highland dance act Glen Fraser, 14, and his sister Lisa, just 12, were left a little disappointed too as the judging panel decided they had been beaten into second place by vocalist Nicola Christie.

Once the viewer’s votes rolled in the youngest performers to appear on the show were popular winners and they were booked to return and appear in a ‘all-winners show’ at the start of series three, the following September.

Glen had only been playing the pipes for about two years and, around the same time he started, Lisa switched from tap to highland dancing. Their act was a little different to normal highland dance performances as Lisa worked out her own dance routines to popular tunes that were specially arranged for the pipes by Glen.

They had previously took local talent show prizes and secured regular bookings in working men’s clubs in their area, which also helped them raise hundreds of pounds for charity.

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Comedian Bob Curtiss. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Comedian Bob Curtiss had a successful career after his appearance on this show. He performed at many UK cabaret clubs and functions and on various cruises in the Mediterranean, Australia as well as on parts of World cruises. In addition he used his natural storytelling, mainly specialising in domestic stories, and his concise delivery coupled with superb timing to also have a successful career in after-dinner speaking engagements.

He featured on TV’s The Comedians, alongside another New Faces contestant Roy Walker, as well as TV series such as The Bill, Rumpole of the Bailey, and Born and Bred. He also appeared in many TV adverts including Flora, Skol, Woolwich Building Society and Qualcast (“Lot less bovver”).

Bob also appeared in the short film Resting Rough alongside Pierce Brosnan, in one of his very first movie appearances, and in movies The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978), with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore and Fever Pitch (1997) which was based on the Nick Hornby novel and starred Colin Firth.

Special thanks to Francis Mallon for the additional information provided for this page

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