It is 37 years since I won New Faces.It was the first time anyone had seen me on TV unless you count the Billy Cotton Band Show when I was 12 and in the Gang Show! New Faces was my big break.I knew I’d do well.The problem was getting passed the audition.I was living in Millwall -land. East St off the Old Kent Rd. My dancer girlfriend Val had gone nuts the night before and during a row had ripped up my suit trousers. In a panic I wore the suit top and a pair of white jeans.As I stood in the wings of the Victoria Palace theatre waiting my turn I could hear my heart beating. A man shouted “Next” and I was ushered on by a stage manager. The theatre was empty apart from 4 people sitting halfway back in the stalls. I told the first gag and heard them laugh.I relaxed and let em have it. When I finished I wobbled back to the wings shaking.The stage manager told me they wanted to see me. My top lip stuck to my teeth and my throat went dry.Was this my moment? I was shown to the stage steps and walked up the isle to meet Les Cocks the producer. He shook my hand and said “I like your act” he then added, “Do you always wear that outfit?” shit I thought, Val has buggered up my big chance. “No “,I splutterd.”I’ve got lots of stuff” he then said something that changed me and my families’ life. “CAN YOU DO MARCH THE NINTH?” I did, and won. The show was shown on the 13th.The rest is history.
A while ago I went to see Les. he was having a party in Langhans. He wanted to say goodbye as he had dementia and would not know any of us in the months to come. What a thing to do.I thanked him for allowing my Mum never to have to work again and said goodbye. When he died I sat in the chapel and thought of that handshake. Les Cocks….Thanks mate