1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 LATEST
A special year. It was 50 years ago that the Harmonachords became the Bachelors and the rest as they say, is history. John Stokes claims he was 12 when he sang on the first hit 'Charmaine' but I know he was at least thirteen and a half. It never ceases to amaze Dave and I that John still enjoys performing as much as he ever did after all these years and I think that enthusiasm comes across on stage.
As much as we enjoy all our shows it would a bit much to reminisce about them all so as usual I will select the favourite ones that I found extra special. For example, the cruise on the Oriana that we did in February.
We flew from Manchester to Istanbul where believe it or not we were snowed in. the wings had to be defrosted before we could take 0ff which was a bit scary to say the least. It was about 9 o'clock when we landed in Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City as it is now called and it was good to see the city by night on our way from the airport.
We then had dinner in a nearby restaurant and finished up in a bar across the street from our hotel - which turned out to be owned by a guy from Salt Hill Galway who wouldn’t let us pay for a single drink. He then pulled up all the Bachelors hits on his laptop and told us he would have 'No Arms Can Ever Hold You' as his love song at his forthcoming wedding.
Next morning we boarded the Oriana at Phu My and sailed to Nha Tran the following day. Thankfully I had been to Nha Tran before because this time I didn’t get to spend much time ashore as we had to rehearse for the show that night (yes we do work). First and second shows went really well - and that was us finished. Next day we were at sea, and the following day we arrived in Hong Kong - a truly fantastic city. The ship docked in the morning and since our flight home to Manchester wasn’t until night time, we got to spend the whole day in that fabulous place.
St Patrick’s Day saw us at Warner’s in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, one of our favourite haunts, and as usual we had a great night.
After 'Danny boy' there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
This year we started working for a new promoter, Beyond Eternity Promotions. firstname.lastname@example.org. we did three dates for Dave Gill and I must say we really enjoyed them. For the first time ever we did the whole theatre show ourselves which obviously meant we could do more material. Our friend Clive Allan provided the backing which made the show very compact. It’s an experience we will repeat now and again as we also like working on variety bills. The venues we performed at were as follows, The Blackfriars Theatre in Boston, The Ashcroft Theatre, Fairfield Halls in Surrey and the Fisher Theatre in the lovely little town of Bungay. Apart from the audiences we would also like to thank the staff at each of these venues for being first class.
On April 23rd we flew to Madeira to join the Arcadia on its way back to Southampton after a world cruise. Not much sightseeing this time as we only made one stop at Vigo in Spain and we had to rehearse for the show that night. We were on the ship for only four nights but were still asked to appear twice on two separate nights which we didn’t mind as both shows are completely different. Don't ask us why but this was one of the best receptions we have ever had from the passengers, as Leon the cruise director said, 'they loved you’, which is always nice to hear. We stayed Friday night in Southampton as the next day we were performing at Norton Grange in the Isle of Wight, a place we never tire of. It’s a beautiful part of the world.
On behalf of John and Dave, I would like to thank Tony Horsefield our road manager for driving all the way from Manchester with our equipment and back again. Top Man.
Talking about Manchester. On May 4th we appeared for the third time at New Moston British Legion. It was good to work again with our good friends Carnaby Street. They have had a change in personnel but they are still the best 60's tribute band around. It is a hard time for pubs and social clubs for various reasons so it was great to see the Legion packed. Remember if you don’t use it you lose it. We are nearly halfway through the year and have more one nighters and cruises to look forward to so keep looking in the Latest News link..
And now to your questions, the most common being when are we going back to Australia. Well Australia is in recession the same as us with clubs and theatres closing down. Against that you have the huge expenses of staging a long tour. Having said that - the venues like Bankstown and others that are open still want us back, so with that in mind we are thinking of arranging a farewell tour for next year - if need be on a smaller scale. I hope that answers the question. Speaking about Bankstown Sports Club may I say that Dave, John and I were saddened to hear of the death of former president Kevin McCormick. To me he was Bankstown Sports Club. It was the first club we ever worked in Australia back in 2000 and nowhere were we made more welcome. There is no need for me to say what he meant to the club as everyone in Sydney knows he was the rock on which it was built. As for John stokes, the late Kevin, Neill and myself he was and will be remembered as a great friend who has left us with so many memories of our lunches together at the club at sea and at Brighton. Not to mention drinks in the boardroom. Even Dave Pearson who only met Kevin once took to him straight away as he was great man who was instantly likeable. He will be greatly missed in fact Australia won't be the same without him. Kevin McCormick RIP.
One of our biggest fans is June Dale who is always nagging me about keeping the site up to date, so to prove I am here’s what we did last week!
Thursday July 12th we appeared at The Palace Theatre in Redditch for Vernon, Jeff and all our friends at The David Whitfield Commemorative Society. What a lovely theatre, and how nice to work with probably the best backing around -Martin St James on keyboards and Phil on drums
We also had the magic of Freddie Wilkinson, plus a great Vocal comedy entertainer Mike Lodge all the way from Hull. John, Dave and I did the whole second half and received a standing ovation, which was very gratifying as appreciation is something we never take for granted.
Looking forward to our next show for the D.W.C.S. which will be at The Palace Theatre Mansfield on the 5th of September.
As already stated earlier on the site we always try and do what we can for good causes so when Dave said his brother in law wanted to put on a show at Glossop and District Golf Club on July 13th we were more than happy to oblige.
The show was for the benefit of a very brave fifteen year old young lady called Hannah Holmes. She suffers from a very rare condition called Picks Disease for which at the moment, unfortunately, there is no known cure
We all thought she looked great dancing in her party dress, and it was obvious her parents Janet and Richard were very proud.
Everyone in the club gave very generously and although I don’t know the amount raised I do know it couldn’t go to a better cause.
I just wanted to write to thank you for the fantastic entertainment you gave us at the 'Hope for Hannah' Ball. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it!
The evening was a great success, and we raised close to £3,000. We are hoping to put the money raised, towards facilitating a treatment (cyclodextrin infusion), which is, as I write, being trialled in America. We have succeeded in securing the usage of cyclodextrin, on compassionate grounds, for use in patients who reside in Europe, but unfortunately, it is still unavailable to patients from the United Kingdom, due to much stricter regulations.
Let us hope that the generosity, of all involved on the evening, will enable the progress we are hoping for, to be made!
Thank you very much for your support, it is very much appreciated.
Janet Holmes (mum to Hannah)
Of all the shows we do, and as much as we enjoy them all, it’s always a pleasure to work on the shows that are produced by JK PRODUCTIONS. They are dedicated to keeping the memory of David Whitfield alive with their Commemorative Society - and do an excellent job.
We had already worked for Jeff and Vernon earlier in the year at Redditch and this time it was back to The Palace Theatre Mansfield where we had received a great reception the year before.
On the 5th of September it was business as usual - what a fabulous audience, some of them had been coming to see us for fifteen years, people like Irene who despite being handicapped travelled all the way from West Bromwich.
What makes these shows so special?
To finish I would just like to thank local radio presenter John B Tannen for plugging the show on Radio Mansfield 103.2. I’m told his interview with John led to an upsurge in ticket sales, so said theatre manager Andrew Tucker who we would also like to thank, along with all his excellent staff at The Palace Theatre.
Jonathan, Dave and John Stokes would like to thank the D.W.C.S. for voting them Act of the Year and presenting them with the David Whitfield Award - which they will hold for a year.
It’s always hard to pick our favourite Warner’s Holiday complex but Holm Lacey is well up the list. Situated in the beautiful county of Herefordshire it really is a magnificent stately home with a Downton Abbey feel to it.
The whole setup is fantastic, great resident band both musically and vocally, a standard of entertainment that was prevalent not only in the cabaret room but in the lounges as well, a good mixture of experience and youthful enthusiasm.
We arrived there on Sunday September 22nd only to find we had a flat tyre which I’m happy to say was changed for us by one of the staff who, like The Lone Ranger, left before we could thank him.
The show went really well, with an audience that were with us from the word go. They looked like they enjoyed every minute of it which they demonstrated by giving us a standing ovation - and there is no better way of saying “job well done”.
Lastly we would like to thank Compere and Entertainments Manager David James for asking for us back to Holm Lacey. It was David who asked us to stand in for Joe Longthorne when he was at ETM at Allviston Hall in Cheshire, and it’s always a pleasure to work with him.
Cruising time again
John, Dave and I set of for Cartagena on the east coast of Spain to pick up The Arcadia.
We arrived on the 20th of November at the Hotel Los Habaneros, opposite the University headquarters, and had a very pleasant night giving the town the once-over. The guy on reception was very helpful and suggested a restaurant called La Taranta in the main street - which turned out to be excellent - and after a stroll around the town it was time for bed.
The next morning we awoke to a lovely day, made even better by the awful weather back in England. A taxi then took us to the ship and once we were settled in our cabins it was time for sightseeing.
Cartagena is steeped in history, and for anyone going there I would recommend a trip to the Roman Theatre or a Boat trip around its coast. It’s a fabulous place with lots to see.
The Arcadia left port at 5.30. P&O calls it the “Great British sail away” and it is very atmospheric. Irish songs, Scottish, Welsh and even English songs - in fact a good description would be Last Night of the Proms at Sea. It all took place at the back of the Ship by the pool with Cruise Director Christine Noble and her entertainment personnel giving a great performance. To top it all we had the excellent soprano Christine Wardle sing the best of British, finishing with” Land of Hope and Glory”.
A lot of flag-waving, a lot of fun and very appropriate as it was my birthday (Never mind how old).
Our next stop was Gibraltar, a place The Bachelors have stopped off at many times before: it really has a Britain abroad feel to it. The currency is Sterling; familiar shops i.e. M&S, Morrison’s and more important, betting shops where John and Dave say I can watch my horses lose, just like in England.
It was now time to go to work as we had two shows to do, and I’m happy to say the whole night went extremely well as the response was terrific.
Of course the one difference between appearing at a Theatre as opposed to a cruise ship is that you meet your audience at breakfast. We have never had so many people come to us to say how much they enjoyed our show which is always great to hear in fact it’s the reason we keep doing it and hopefully will continue to do so.
Finally we would like to say a word or two about the talented people we consider ourselves lucky to work with.
It was nice to see our old friend comedian Adrian Walsh who incidentally is working better than ever. Adrian and I go back a long time as we both came to England from Northern Ireland about the same time and have remained friends ever since. He is a very inventive comedian and more important a very nice guy.
The guest speaker was ex footballer Gordon Smith who played for Glasgow Rangers and Manchester City to name but two. His talk gave a great insight into football so it’s no surprise to see him as a TV pundit on” Match of the day”.
There are so many talented singers and musicians in the various bars and lounges apart from the terrific production shows it would be impossible to name them all, suffice to say they are all very good or they wouldn’t be working for P&O.
John Dave and I would like to give a special thank you to our backing The Arcadia Orchestra under the direction of Simon Lambert. (Simply the best.)
Our next trip abroad was to the Isle of Wight to The Warner’s Holiday Hotel at Bembridge. We have been there so many times it is hard for me to say anything new, except to thank all the entertainment staff for making us feel very welcome. The three of us enjoyed watching them rehearsing their Christmas songs but with the current weather I have to admit I’ve gone off the song “Let it snow, let it snow let it snow".
Audience fantastic as usual and we look forward to returning in 2013.
Friday December 7th - and it was time for our last cruise of the year so we packed our bags and flew out to Tortola in The British Virgin Islands to board once again, The Arcadia. Which was becoming like a second home?
We always arrive the night before we are due to embark and it was great to wake up in the morning look out into the sunshine and see the magnificent ship moored in the Harbour, it really is quite a sight. As usual we boarded about 11.00am checked into our cabins and spent the rest of the day walking around the town until it was time for another” Great British Sail Away” I should point out that this was our second time in Tortola, so we had already done the coach round the Island with all its beautiful scenery. A fabulous Island, in fact I think about it when I watch the TV programme “Death in Paradise.
We would now be at sea for 10 days with only one stop in Madeira and then on to Southampton, still we quite enjoy our days at sea as they can be very relaxing and there are plenty on board activities to pass the time away.
As I have explained before, if we are on a short cruise we appear on one night only doing the same show twice as there are two dinning sittings. However, on this one we appeared on two nights with two completely different shows all of which were extremely well received, in fact for the first time ever we ran out of CDs & DVDs
We find it difficult to talk about encores and standing ovations as we don’t want to sound like we are blowing our own trumpet and we also appreciate that a lot of our success is due to the people we work with. So thanks to all the great musicians who have backed us, front of house and back stage managers who made sure we could be seen and heard with their terrific sound and lighting.
We had our final sail away at about 10.30 pm and as it was dark the Island was all lit up, so we left it getting ready for Christmas as we all enjoyed our deck party.
We did our second shows as we crossed The Bay Of Biscay and yes the sea was rough but the Arcadia took it in its stride and so did we - with a bit of swaying from side to side we finished on a high.
We now come to the end of what has been a great year for THE BACHELORS with John Stokes and John, Dave and I (Jonathan) would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and to thank you for all your help and support and remember you can always contact through our secretary Margaret McCormick
Lastly we would like to pay tribute to some dear friends that sadly passed away this year and who will be greatly missed,
FRANK CARSON. Born 06/11/1926 Died 22/02/2012
I first worked with Frank in Saint Marys Hall Belfast in 1960 when I was first starting out and I even remember our fees. I was on ten shillings (50p) and he was on £5.00, so you see he was a star even then.
John first met Frank when he first came to Dublin, he even remembers him as part of double act working theatres like the Gaiety and they remained great friends until his passing
Dave only met Frank a few times but the late Kevin Neil was a lifelong pal in fact they were great golfing buddies, no one got to the club house bar quicker than they did.
After appearing on TV programs like “Opportunity Knocks” and” The Comedians “he went from being a local Belfast comic to a nationwide celebrity who to his credit never forgot his roots or his friends
Frank would stay at John Stokes house whenever he was in Manchester, keeping him up all night with his jokes and stories even daylight couldn’t stop him. He was a funny man on stage and just as funny of.
It has already been documented on the web site i.e. 1996 & 1967 how helpful he was at the outset of “THE BACHELORS with John Stokes career so all that’s left to say is ”Frank - it certainly was the way you told them, you were a cracker all the way”.
MAX BYGRAVES. Born 16/10/1922. Died. 31/08/2012
I have always been a huge fan of Max Bygraves as opposed to John and Kevin actually who knew him personally because they had been pals since the sixties, so I must admit to being a bit star struck when they introduced him to me in Australia. It was April the 2nd 2004 and we were working “Twin Towns “in the Gold Coast. Max was staying in the hotel with his wife Blossom and kindly agreed to come out with us for dinner which turned out to be an evening to remember and I know John feels the same. He was great company, full of terrific stories and anecdotes as the wine flowed into the early hours.
Since then Blossom has passed away and now Max himself and I must say that I thought the press could have been kinder to him. Most of the write-ups concentrated on his personal life while to an extent ignoring the happiness he brought to millions of people as the great entertainer he was.
BILL TARMEY. Born 04/04/1941 Died 09/11/2012
I personally have known Bill since I first came to live in Manchester, first as compere and later as a television, extra mainly working at Granada. I even remember him getting the part of Jack Duckworth and how pleased we all were for him. Typically of Bill he thought it wouldn’t last, “boy how wrong can you be” he made the part his own and the rest as they say is history. The only real connection to the Bachelors I suppose is that back in 1996 we worked together at a charity show in Christ the king working men’s club in Newton Heath, which was just one of the many charity shows Bill did over the years. He was unaltered by fame, he still kept in touch with his old friends and always time for others. That was Bill Tarmey.
That concludes 2012. For 2013 go to “latest” on this site.
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 LATEST