BRYAN YORKE (Haslingden)


The Entertainment business started for me in 1964, when this guy kept coming to our office where I worked, and would regularly book a minibus from us for the transport of his beat group which at that time where called “The Matadors, or was it The Hangmen

At that time I was working in the Office of Mark Barnes & Sons (Coach Proprietors and Haulage Contractors based at 313 Blackburn Road, Haslingden.  After a while I got friendly with this guy John Entwistle, the lead guitarist and joint vocals and we used to talk about the group. 

He did happen to mention that they where after bookings and needed a Manager/Agent, so I volunteered my services and this was to be the start of yet another fantastic journey.

I eventually got them bookings throughout Lancashire, Yorkshire and especially the Manchester area. But at the onset I can still clearly remember in them days (1964) having to use a red phone box at the bottom of  the road where I lived (Hud Hey Road, Haslingden) to try and get bookings for the band, dashing in and out of the box between other people who where wanting to use the phone.

Not many people had phones of their own them days, and I had to collect loads of pennies and threepenny bits to use this phone – remember folks press button A to speak and then you would hear the pennies drop down into the box below the phone and then you were connected,  and press button B if you got the wrong number and wanted your money back.

It was a happy time with The Swinging Hangmen, but sadly they broke up in 1965.

From Swinging Hangmen Agent to a group Agency … and Bryan Yorke Enterprises was born

They might have gone but I was by now hooked on this business and wanted more…and so, I decided to go as a Agent for groups and can remember the first group I did the bookings for, it was a group from Rawtenstall called the Pagans.  Not too clear but I think they were a 5 piece who was managed by the mother of the lead singer Geoff Lord, she had a clothes shop on Bank Street, Rawtenstall and the group practiced above the shop. They were a good average 60s beat group, who where probably at their best performing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or the lighter stuff of the day.

I remember we entered them in a freebie competition at the Burnley Locarno (Mecca) where they had this weekly knock-out competition, to result in winning the final and securing a recording contract with Phillips.  The Pagans won that competition above lots of other competitive groups at that time.  They may have been good, but not that good.  We fixed it that they won.  We hired 3 coaches and filled them with young voters from the Rawtenstall area, this meant a guaranteed 150 votes in front of everyone else.  They won OK, but I am still waiting for that contract!!!  So Mecca – you still owe me one!

I remember a group who also entered this competition and came second in that same competition called The Raging Storms – a local band from Burnley – they where the group that should have won it, they were strong and tight and really good on the R&B stuff .  I was later to become their agent also and found them plenty of work without problem.  I used to put them on in the Manchester areas where they would get repeat bookings and always in demand. One day Alan Arnison asked me if he could take over the group under his wing has he could offer them loads of prestige work. Although a little saddened at the time, I sort of reluctantly handed them over, but at the same time could not hold them back, if he could put them in the right places that was to me far more important.

Probably the most prestigious venue in East Lancashire at that time was The Nelson Imperial Ballroom (Nelson Imp), I remember it with its unusual sort of domed roof on the style of a aeroplane hanger, this was owned by Bob Caine and managed by Derek Greenwood (the father of one of my best mates), here the cream of acts including the Rolling Stones had been top billers – I was given the opportunities many time to put the odd support band in there – there was usually about 3 or 4 bands on the bill on Saturday evenings. It eventually got ravished by fire and was never rebuilt.

Just down the road from me was another great venue called the Astoria Ballroom, in Rawtenstall. This was owned and managed by John Myerscough who then got his header bands from a agent in Southport called  Lewis Buckley, and the support bands John booked himself. Regular top of the billers where The Who & Yardbirds (whom seem to be regular favourites) and there where many others: Sounds Incorporated, Honeycombs, Rockin Berries, Small Faces, Unit 4 plus 2, Brian Auger Trinity, Merseybeats, Maurauders, The Moody Blues (31.12.64 for the fee of £85), David John & The Mood,  and lots lots more – but he never got the Beatles or the Stones.  Support bands included: Wynder K Frog (Mick Weaver) – never away from the place- Darwen Nr. Blackburn, Avalons (Colne), Warriors (Accrington and Jon Anderson of Yes fame – and the drummer of this band went on to play with Bob Dylan), The Electones (Blackburn), The Dappers (Accrington – Lead singer Tommy Franks, still performing as artiste on Clubs 2007), The Swinging Hangmen (Haslingden), The Imps, The Breakers

Occasionally John would let me put the odd support band in.  The Astoria sadly was knocked down to make way for a close by dual carriageway, although there now a beautiful little park area on that very spot where Clapton,  and many others got their trade together (the park and plaque is quite close to the new Asda Supermarket store built next door. John Myerscough went living in Southport where I believe he bought out Lewis Buckley Entertainments, that very agency that supplied his header names in the earlier days, And he carried on that Agency.

There was plenty going on with Folk and Blues also ...        

They were great days with folk and blues artiste also, putting blues acts on at the Manor House-Thornton In Craven, Nr. Barnoldswick and also at the Blue Scene Folk Club held at Nelson Nr. Burnley – Harry Boardman did loads of gigs for me,  also Harry Ogden (who would often do a double with Harry B at the same gig), Gary & Very Aspey, Bob Williamson, John Haworth’s Oldham Tinkers, and there was a brilliant guy which Ian Hamilton sent me one day and I’m sure he was called Mike Stevens (now Meic Stevens from Wales) at that time he lived in Bolton – what a perfermer this guy was. Sometimes I would be stuck for folk acts and all I had to do was ring up Harry Boardman at Middleton and he would suggest somebody or fix somebody up for meVictor Brox’s Blues Train  did several gigs at the time including some University one nighters. A great local band whom I worked with then were from Hall Carr, Rawtenstall and called the Forresters Concertina Band who later changed their name to the Rawtenstall Concertina Band and later made a single on Virgin records- they were led by Lea Nicholson who then went on his own and became a recording artiste making several LPs and single records and is still very active in the business from Cambridge where he now lives.  Jacqui & Bridie also made the trip up from Liverpool for us.

Langley Labour Club, Martindale Crescent, Middleton used to run star nights on a Thursday and I got the job of supplying the named acts and we would get Dave Berry & The Cruisers (who just came from over the hill at Sheffield), Ivans Meads (Sins of a Family), The Fortunes (again from Sheffield) The Toggery Five, etc etc etc.  I do clearly remember booking the Bo Street Runners who had a top ten single out at that time and I think I got them from Harold Davidson Agency in London.  We signed contracts for this band and arranged bandcall for 7pm, and the Concert Secretary of the Club rang me at 8pm – where’s this “bl..dy group? Anyway little do’s and big do’s they eventually arrived at the gig at 9pm. They where immediately dismissed and told in no uncertain terms to bugger off!!  It apparently turned out that they where only part time and had jobs during the day and did not in fact set off from London until about 5.30pm.  Can you imagine now knowing that I was responsible for bringing up to Lancashire the great Mick Fleetwood (eventually Fleetwood Mac) who never got to play because they sent packing……

I used to book some great bands, some I would get from Ian Hamilton whom I used to deal with when he worked with Danny Betash (Kennedy Street) and also again when he went on his own later (Ian Hamilton Organisation).  One fabulous group springs to mind, and they where Frankenstein’s Monsters who doubled on the second spot as Roy Stuart & The Sheffields.  I also think I got Ivans Meads and the Fortunes from Ian.

Another great band I used several times was Keith Fairhurst’s band The Chosen Few who eventually changed their name because I think another band had the same name, so they changed it to the Hush  and I believe eventually made a record.  One of the last gigs they did for me was the Rossendale Labour Gala in the early to mid 60s where they played from a elevated position on top of this old flat wagon in the middle of a sports field (Newhallhey-Rawtenstall), I remember the Prime minister Harold Wilson was guest of honour at this gig.  They where a great band but we seem to loose touch with Keith.

The Majestic Ballroom at Barnoldswick had a good Sat or Sun noon show with beat groups, it was owned by Boris Hartley, who now and again would come to Haslingden and pick me up and I would go with him to the Rochdale, Oldham Clubs, where we would call on his mates whom also owned Clubs down in them areas.

A great crowd puller who eventually came under our wing was Vidors Skiffle Group who later became Billy Kerr & The Dynamites (from Haslingden) who later called themselves The Dynamites,  James Turner Four and finally the Second Time Around – this group spanned from the 50s right up until the 80s with odd changes but in the main Ronnie Green (rhythm & vocals), Gerard Navin (lead & vocals) John Tillotson (Bass & vocals), Noel Smith (drums) other earlier members included: Billy Kerr (vocals), James Turner (vocals), John Turner (drums), Ralph Clarke (in the 50s on washboard and teabox string bass)

Other local bands from this area (East Lancs) where: Mark Day & The Knights Lennie & The Teenbeats(Great Harwood) – This group was fronted with Lennie Herbert whom also played a big part not only with the Band but also promoting bands at the Mercer Hall, Great Harwood which I do remember on one occasion included Nero & The Gladiators. Other local bands included, Lionel Morten Four (later Four Pennies), The Vampires (which included Ken Shaw ( Later Argent fame and session musician) also Trevor Edwards (Haslingden),  The Fourways (with Mick Sullivan and Mick Barratt whom later joined the Pagans), The Avalons (Colne), The Electones (Blackburn),  The Levellers (Colne),  Mike Sax & The Vikings (later changing their name to Mike Sax & The Idols and finally The Idols – which later included Terry Bannister drummer from the late Swinging Hangmen- Rossendale), The Warriors (Accrington – Jon Anderson/Yes fame), The Dappers (Accrington – managed by Norman McFarland from Haslingden), The Vikings (later Nosmo Kings – Great Harwood), The Strangers (later Kris Ryan & The Questions) -Burnley), The Mustangs, The Boneshakers (Darwen), The Beethovens (Darwen), The Atlantics, The Victors, Kris Ryan & The Questions (Blackburn & Burnley), Dr. Pill & The Purple Hearts, Curt’s Creatures. The Soundcasters (Accrington).

Other local East Lancs gigs that had bands on them days and which I would occasionally book were: Majestic Ballroom-Accrington (Mon & Sat), The Majestic Ballroom, Baroldswick (Sun noon), The Arts on  Knowlemere St Accrington (Bands on Sundays), Cavern Club- Milnshaw Ln – Accrington (run by a ex Bolton Wanderers FC player and had on John Lee Hooker),  Empire Picture House in the centre of Burnley (booked by the Manager Lew Askew whom before that was the Manager of the Burnley Casino on York St) Burnley Mecca (then called Locarno, then called Cats Whiskers), Bank Hall Miners Club- Burnley (Tuesdays). Haslingden Ambulance Hall (Thursdays), The Regency Club, Waterfoot (Saturdays), Bacup Irish Club (I remember Dr Pill & The Purple Hearts & Curts Creatures appeared regular here). The Seven Stars at Heywood (here they had the Band on for a full weeks booking).

Pictured above - Bryan's Theatrical Registration Certificate, which you used to have to have in the mid sixties to be a Agent.  You got these by having to put a advert in the "Stage" magazine for two separate weeks and if no one objected to the County Council about you being a proposed Agent, you would then be granted one of these certificates by the County Council before you could actually operate

Agents in the 60s ...

During the 60s there did not seem to be too many agents around as I can remember, in  North West area the only guys I recall where: Kennedy Street Enterprises (Danny Betesh, Ian Hamilton, Stuart Littlewood) Paddy McKiernan (McKiernan Immpressarios), Ace Artiste (Madame Ace at Broughton), Sonny Ross, Alan Arnison at Stockport (now lives in Spain), Ian Hamilton Associates (in his own right and later moved to Australia) Ronnie Cross (TDC Enterprises of Chorlton Cum Hardy). Alan Lewis Enterprises (Four Pennies & The Peddlars), ourselves of course Bryan Yorke Enterprises, Don Read at Bolton (Beachcomber Club) and Norman Teal in Blackpool (Roy Castle’s ex showbiz partner). Billy Forrest down in Stoke (sorted lots of Bands for Germany etc). Mike Hughes (over in Liverpool – the man for the Comics, nowadays London Theatre owner), Bert Lomas at Heswall, Garth Cawood in Leeds. Most of the Northern headliners them days came from Kennedy Street or other large London Agents in particular Harold Davison. There must have been many more Agents around, but these are the ones I can remember.

Again in the late 60s I used to have to try and find the bluest comedians I could for Norman Smith who had The Embassy Club, Burnley (now called Circulation) and originally it was a double with his other Club The Black Knight Club, which was in Waterfoot-Rossendale. Norman them days also owned bookies shops and lived in Bury.  Regular star nights were held with one of Manchester’s greatest comics -  Al Showman’s – “Cinderella” and “Chamber of Horrors”, and these shows had about 5 strong blue comics and about 12 strippers.  At the Embassy there where two giants as bouncers who were brothers – Duggie & Jack. (Duggie & Jack also did the bouncing at the Majestic Ballroom-Accrington (on Mondays).

Another good old pro who was about them days was Vic Rawlings who was the organist at the Starlight Club, Plane Street,  Blackburn and he was also the booker for Brian Tattersall’s Clubs, - The Cabaret at Rosegrove-Burnley, New 77 Brierfield, Nr Colne and the Starlight in Blackburn. Now and again he would let me put the odd act or two in at his Clubs.

By the end of the 60s it all started to change and I sort of drifted like most agents around at that time into a CABARET/CLUB AGENT  (late 60s, 70s early 80s)

From the late 60s and through the 70s, early eighties I continued in the business, yet in the main the set up had changed more to variety and cabaret. I suppose it was a natural progression at that time and the money was there because you got a bigger pick of the cherry because of the vast versatility and quantity of cabaret/club acts and venues that where around them days.

Looking back an area which held on to its groups nights far longer than anywhere else was Cumbria. We used to send lots of groups from Lancashire and Yorkshire up to Whitehaven and Workington areas, there was always a shortage of bands up there and I think was more or less set at something like £25-30 a shot.  This was great money at the time, but yet it was still hard to find bands wanting to travel such long distances.  We did manage to get most of the Groups ourselves, however we did need a helping hand from time to time and Mark Jordan (Agent)  over in Bradford way who got some of the bands for us at the time.

Other Northern Agents in the 70s ...

By the 70s most of  Manchester’s Agents had changed from the good old 60s beat group days and a lot of the new Agents had arrived, a more sort of Cabaret/Clubland affair agent.  These agents included: Stuart Littlewood Associates (Stuart now having left Kennedy Street and running a Agency in his own right) Stuart Marti of Urmston, Brian Mills of Salford, Dave Lee of Whitefield, Barry Lomas, Brian Durkin Associates with Brian Durkin and Roy Hastings. Barry Lomas, Frank Birchall at Wigan, Bill Leyland  (L.E. Agency at Wigan), Dave who left LE and joined Hughie Mather in Newton Le Willows. Neil Johnson & Charles Fox in Warrington, Roy Mozley. Tony Yorke (managed Brian Rossi),  Fred Screeton (Greengage & Dustin Gee), Steve Draper in Darwen, Harry Pope in Blackpool, The Royale Agency in Chester, Tony Birmingham running Mike Hughes old office in the Liver Buildings, Liverpool, Dave Warwick of  Dave Anthony Promotions at Warrington. Ricky McCabe and Tony West over at Liverpool, Bob Deplidge at Beverley (North East)  There must have been lots of others and please forgive me if I have omitted anyone.

Most of us at that time where members of the Agents Association and the Northern meetings where usually held at Belle Vue and later at the Manchester City Football Club, Maine Road, and also I remember them once being held at a large pub somewhere in the Wythenshawe part of Manchester.. here agents from all over the North of England would assemble and discuss general topics, our Northern controller at that time was Stuart Littlewood  (Stuart Littlewood Assoc) and also Peter McLeod (from McLeod/Holden of Hull) had something to do with it,  and usually there was “agent celebrity visits” with people like Cyril Berlin from London Management and also Gordon Blackie (from London) who was our Secretary at that time.   I can still vividly remember at one of the meetings at Belle Vue and there was this guy running about in the wings in a sort of crazy fashion with a striped sort of tee shirt and striped top hat.  We were all wondering who it was and Cyril Berlin said “Its that new guy who has just joined the Rolling Stones”  -- none other than the great Ronnie Wood….

From the Bury area – and probably one of the greatest mime acts to every come out of Manchester or for that matter the North of England, besides of course the great Jimmy Gordon was Dave Oliver – he was a absolute gentleman and professional in every sense of the word.  I can remember going back to the 60s when I first met Dave whilst we as a group were performing at the Devonshire Sporting Club and he was really good then, but It was the 70s before I ran into him again, he was doing a summer season at the Layton Institute, Blackpool, and by then he had also started doing regular gigs for me and would reserve several weeks a year for me to book out for him.  It was a honour to have this guy on the books.  Another great mime act who worked for us regular for some years was Jimmy Conway from St. Helens.

Workingmens Clubs regular had star nights and I would regularly book the Karl Denver Trio (Wimoweh Lion Sleeps Tonight) for headliners– I used to book them through the big guy in the band whom played rhythm guitar Kevin Neill (who is currently with the Batchelors) – another gentleman of the good old days.

Drag acts were a massive pull in the early 70s especially in some of the low budget venues and I can remember regularly booking: Bunny Lewis, Barry Louise, Bobby Dawn, Dizzie Trent, all from the Manchester areas plus lots of others.

The Comedians - Granada Television –  Early 70s

In 1972 Johnny Hamp produced “The Comedians” for Granada Television and the show featured in the main Northern stand up comics together with interval set pieces from Wythenshawe’s Sheps Banjo Band.  The show was very successful and made a lot of the comics household star names.  Many of these comedians worked through our Office at one time or another.  I remember Bernard Manning whom did lots of gigs for us and I think I used to get him from Stuart Littlewood. Also Colin Crompton, George Roper – worked direct through us on many gigs, Tom O’Conner ex schoolteacher who we used to get through manager Billy Uke Scott from Southport.  Freddie ‘parrot face’ Davis, Ken Goodwin, Eddie Flanagan, Steve Faye, Dave Evans, we got  from Mike Hughes in Liverpool, also we used to use Charlie Williams from Yorkshire along with Duggie Brown, cant remember whom I got them off, we used to also work with Stanley & Michael Joseph at ATS (Leeds) or Les Morgan or Johnny Peller in Sheffield, it could have been any one of these notable agents.  I had previously had the pleasure to meet Charlie Williams many moons before the Comedians was ever thought of, when he would be playing football for Doncaster Rovers he would come to Accrington Stanley’s Peel Park and I was nowt but a lad collecting the football players autographs.

The only Rolls Royce I have ever travelled in was registered BM1 – Bernard Manning’s.  Bernard would regularly do star nights for me in various Workingmens Clubs and this particular night he was doing Padiham Unity WMC Nr Burnley, I was at the Club and had no wheels to get home, so I plucked up courage asked him if he would give me a lift back to Haslingden on his way back to his hallowed Embassy Club.  He agreed and gave me a lift back to road-end which lies about 1 mile South of Haslingden (my intended destination but at this point it was probably easier for him to get back on the Motorway from here without having to double back on himself), he then told the chauffeur to stop the car and said “now f**k off Yorky” you can walk the rest, and that was Bernard….. Another time I remember we had him doing the Christmas Party for the Royal Ordnance Factory and this was at the King Georges Hall, Blackburn along with the Northern Dance Orchestra.  As usual he went down a absolute bomb even at such a late hour as 10pm (a mean! Who in their right mind would put a comedian on at such a late hour, but the trouble was, and always were with Bernard, how did you follow that, it was almost impossible trying to get a comic who was strong enough to follow him and didn’t we always have trouble with this one.

This gig brought back other memories also, at that time I was agent for the Northern Dance Orchestra alias NDO, alias New Dance Orchestra and they where a great 36 pieces orchestra with lots of personalities like Brian Silvester and Harry Burgess, and the leader was Leslie Douglas from Cleveleys, They used to do lots of stuff for us especially Rotarys, Lions, Parent/Teacher evenings and Works do’s, anyway on this particular night we had them doing this gig at the King Georges Hall, Blackburn for the Royal Ordnance Factory Annual Dinner.  About 3 weeks before the gig I received a phone call from (as it was then) Radio Blackburn (now Radio Lancashire) and this guy was asking me all sorts of questions, but in a very aggressive sort of tone, “Do you know you are not supposed to offer the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra on private gigs”, they don’t do moonlighting etc etc and he was accusing me of allsorts of antics.  Strictly at that time I was not aware that the Royal Ordnance Factory had put “BBC” on their tickets, they where told strictly at the time of booking that they could use NDO but certainly not BBC, which they had obviously done behind our back.  Anyway getting back to the tale. This guy is giving me some stick, and I give him some also, but at the time didn’t know that the conversation was live over the Radio, well didn’t I feel such a fool.                                     

New Faces – ITV Central Television – Mid 1970s

When New Faces started on the television, me and Steve Draper teamed up initially and put auditions on at the Spinning Jenny, Oswaldtwistle Nr. Accrington and invited Les Cocks (Producer), who came along with John Pullen (Director) and selected some acts cant remember but they did include: Jimmy Crow (Comedian) and the Jolly Brothers plus others.

Later on I was to start arranging auditions directly with ATV which we held regularly at the  Irlam & Cadishead Royal British Legion  (one one day) and then we used Keighley Variety Club in Yorkshire (the following day).  The producer of the show at this time had changed to Albert Stevenson, yet the Director was still John Pullen.
We would probably show almost 100 acts during a day and what fabulous backing they had at the Irlam & Cadishead, we always used their resident guys which did include George Galway (James’s Brother – The Man with the Golden Flute). 
Albert once asked me if I could get George to go on New Faces and he readily accepted. After the show we got lots of follow up bookings for him from Ireland, they where all in local Town Halls where George turned our to be a celebrity, great gigs.

We had scores of acts on new faces from these auditions, I cant remember everybody, but some of the acts that where picked and did appear where: Gerry Aiden (Brian Murphy) Comedian from Warrington (he used to do gigs for me years earlier in the 60s also and also later ran an agency from the Warrington area) Steve Allen (Comedy/multi instrumentalist) though we changed his name for this one to Marti Stuart (this name came from his friend and agent Stuart Marti Ents of Urmston). Mr Leslie Rae (a comedy mime act from Frank Birchall Agency) Aiden J. Harvey (Immpressionist), Yorkshire Groups which did include -  Black Lace and Gingham. But there where scores more which I just cant remember…

Once while at Irlam, Albert Stevenson whispered over to me and said, have you seen the two guys stood over at the bar, both these guys had large sombraro’s on! Well the small one is P.J. Proby, we have seen him at our Auditions before.  I remember not long before this he had been on Hughie Green’s Opportunity Knocks under the title of Mr. X

Spin offs from the New Faces, brought in loads of private work, including some very prestigious clients like Jack Solomons (Boxing promotor) at the World Sporting Club, Grosvenor House Hotel in London, Harry and Jack Levine (Boxing Promotors) 20th Century Sporting Club, Honda UK Ltd, Showboat on the Thames at London plus lots and lots of other very prestige work.

In them early days of New Faces, I can remember seeing this cockney comic and boy he was great he was called Jim Davison, so I immediately contanted his manager at that time who came from Surrey and arrange under contract to book several weeks with this guy for appearances in Lancashire – he did a bomb once Lancastrians could get used to his cockney twang….

Probably during that lively 60s 70s period one of the greatest Northern agents for comics had to be Mike Hughes who was based at the Royal Liver Buildings in Liverpool. I used to get loads of acts from him and Mike just did recognize quality.  Bonk Shaw (who later came under my wing) Hayes & Benny (who later came under my wing), and Joe Kenyon from Widnes who also ended up working for us.

Sadly I don’t have my diaries these days to reference or for that matter any paperwork on the old Agency days, but just from memory, there where literally thousands of top professional acts we used to use on a regular basis, and a selection of these acts where working for us under sole representation 365 days a year and some of them just casually now and again.  Some I can remember:
Pat O’Hare (Saddleworth, Oldham), Claude Powell (Doncaster), Freddie Corless (Liverpool & Manchester), Johnny Meadows (St. Helens), Johnny Duffy (Blackpool), Chuck Layburn or Wayne McKenna (Keighley), Robbie Dolan (Sheffield), Ricki Allan & Paula Bentley (Merthyr Tydfil), The Spencer Brothers (Eccles & Blackpool)  who were Dave and Graham (Graham went on to be Barnaby the Comedian  - Winner of the New Faces.. Barry Wyndham (Comic from Chorley), Roy Stuart (Bolton, originally Sheffield), Spencer King (Stoke On Trent), Debbie & Tony Royale, Blind Margo from Liverpool. W. Hickory Smith (Warrington), Mike Donohoe (Ormskirk), Johnny “Goon” Tweed (Manchester), Ivor Davis (Comedian from Manchester), Mike Rose & The Colours, Reg Coates Experience, Joe Kenyon (Comedian from Widnes), the late Bonk Shaw (Comedian – Liverpool) Hayes & Benny (Comics from St Helens – first appeared with them in the early 60s at Levenshulme Sporting Club), Eddie Flanagan, Steve Faye, The Nolan Family (from Blackpool – later hit the big time), Ramon (Southport), Jimmy Crow (Comedian – Accrington), Paul Ridgeway (Parbold), Jimmy Cricket (Comedian) and his sisters the O’Brien Sisters. Lee Brooklyn (Comedian from Cleveleys), Jack Diamond (Comedian from Manchester and later Cleveleys), Al Showman (Comedian – Manchester), Harper comedians- Oldham area, Brian Rossi (Blackpool), Ken Lomax (Burnley), Ray Merrell (Herts), Brian Massey (Comedy – Blackpool), Jeannie Weir (Harrogate & Scotland), Shiela Steele (Bradford), Howard Jones (Keighley ex Joe Loss), Johnny Spillers, Mel Williams (Blackpool), Joe Kenyon (Comedian from Widnes), Hayes & Benny (Widnes), Bonk Shaw

This has been but a small sampling of what actually went on -There are probably still hundreds of tales I could tell, and some more will probably come back to me as I now bring my pen to close. 

But what we had then was something really special, which we did not realize we had when we had it.  Great while it lasted.

Bryan Yorke.


My dad was Jimmy Gordon, known as a really clever mime act from Manchester. He was famous for his whip in Mule Train.

Do you remember he won Opportunity Knocks, hosted by Hughie Green of course. Great days, geat memories and what a great article.

Many thanks for our dads mention ... Martin, Susan and Sandra and all the grandchildren,and of course much love to our late mum Rosemary who had to put up with endless hours of dad putting his bits of tape together with sellotape.  How he'd love today's technology but I guess it wouldn't be the same. I remember he used to give me treats for recording adverts for him.

Heard some great stories from my dad and I'm sure they must have been the best days ever.

Martin Diaper 

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