Here we go. THE BACHELORS with John Stokes are now into our 18th year and enjoying performing as much as ever. There’s so much to look forward to already it looks like a very exciting year.
The year had hardly begun when on the 19th of January we found ourselves back at Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel, one of Warner’s finest holiday centres in beautiful North Wales, Great Staff, great audience, great night and once again sold out of CDs, this is getting to be a habit.
As the year goes along I will tell you about the cruises, venues and places that John, Dave and I find interesting and hope you, our readers, will too. And don’t forget we always appreciate your feedback.
It is now the beginning of June, nearly halfway through the year and hasn’t the weather been dreadful, unless you’re a duck. To make matters worse every time we were offered a cruise to the sunshine we had to turn it down due to prior commitments. Sometimes it just works out that way.
It’s hard to write for a web site and make it interesting when the year mainly consists of returning to the same venues I have described in previous accounts.
Don’t get me wrong we love going back to the same venues as we get to renew friendships we have accumulated over the years.
A good example would be The Warner’s Hotels with their friendly staff, great musicians and fantastic audiences. Indeed some people have been coming to see us since we first started THE BACHELORS SHOW that they have become personal friends who keep in touch through our secretary Margaret.
The lady in the photograph is a very remarkable person called Georgina, whom we met on THE ARCADIA last year she came to every one of our shows, even seeing the same one twice and loved every minute of it.
She is a very brave woman who suffers from Huntington’s disease. It’s a disease that affects the brain and will keep her in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. Georgina, apart from having H.D., is also an ambassador for it and has her own personal web site. If anyone would like to know, more simply click on to www.freewebs.com/photomart_uk/
P.S. Nice photograph, Martin.
Speaking of old friends it was good to work for Brian Walker again. Brian along with his partner Malcolm Stent put on a terrific afternoon show at the Theatre Royal Coventry on Valentine’s Day. It’s what we call a proper show. The great backing from the Martin St James Sound, the top supporting acts we have to follow -and then THE BACHELORS SHOW. It was a day to remember and we look forward to repeating the experience at The Garrick Theatre in Litchfield on July 24th
Over the last few years Warner’s Hotels have booked us at one of their venues on the nearest Saturday to Saint Patrick's Day and last year we were at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. I should explain we all now live in Manchester - and that’s a long way - so it was a great pleasure this year to do Alviston Hall which is only down the road for us.
It’s nice when things work out that way, and on the subject of the Isle of Wight we are back at Norton Grange in Yarmouth on August 3rd.
We still try to find time for our charity work so it was nice to be able to appear at The John Fisher Parish Hall in Kearsley on March 26th for our pal Jim Nicholas. He has raised so much money for Children’s Hospices in Manchester - he should have had an OBE by now.
Our next charity show will be at Saint Bernadette’s in Whitefield near Bury on June 28th.
May 11th saw us back at Warner’s majestic Thorseby Hall, a venue we hadn’t been to for quite a while. When it was refurbished a few years back we had the honour of doing the opening night and since it was our first time back without Kevin memories came flooding back. Another fantastic night to remember and many thanks to all the entertainment personal for their very warm hospitality.
We don’t often get to work in Manchester which, as I said, is where we live, so it’s nice to be appearing at The V.A.S.A. club in Blackley on Saturday July 6th. Sharing the bill will be CARNABY STREET (60s tribute band) and TV comic MIKE LANCASTER.
Another date, or should I say dates, worth mentioning are August 10th and December 26th. The reason being that they are at Holme Lacy, one of Warner’s top hotels, and it will mean that we have been asked to appear there three times in a year. High praise indeed.
“In the midst of life we are in death” - and how true it is. The world of show business was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of that great comic Norman Collier. He has to have been one of the funniest people we ever worked with. John has known him a lot longer than Dave or I, as they have been good friends going back to the beginning of the 60s. We appeared together many times on Water Rats shows along with a lot of Duggie Chapman’s productions - and he really was special.
Our lasting memory of him will be when he was on stage in a theatre doing his act. Backstage the wings would be packed with the other stars on the bill killing themselves laughing at routines they had all seen many times before. That’s how good he was; in fact you could say he brought a new meaning to the phrase “being chicken.”
June 2nd 2013.
Steve Garner from BBC Radio 4 sent a text to our road manager Tony informing him that Graham Walker from the Grumbleweeds had just died and would he pass the sad news on to us.
Once again memories came flooding back. I first met the Grumbleweeds back in the seventies when I was their support act. We would work clubs like Fagin’s in Manchester, and Wigan and Bolton Casinos. They were five of them then and I can recall sitting in the dressing room singing Beatle songs. Later when I joined THE BACHELORS I got to work with Graham and Robin many times and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, what a great act.
I remember we did a week together at The Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton for Brian Goddard. After one of the shows Brian took the whole cast out for dinner and I was sat beside Graham and Eli Woods with Jimmy Casey and Lizzie Wiggins opposite. I couldn’t eat for laughing.
I once saw Graham on TV -I think the programme was “Heartbeat” - and he was really good. I always thought he should have done more acting, like Bobby Ball and Duggie Brown have managed to do.
Farewell to a great character who never lost his sense of humour throughout a difficult illness, as this photograph clearly shows. It was taken recently when he turned up at The Wooden Hut Club dressed as the Grim Reaper.
They say bad things come in threes, and I have to mention another great character that recently passed away, namely Paul Shane. We only worked with him once, but he definitely made a lasting impression on me.
Although he will be forever known as Ted Bovis from the hit TV show “Hi-di-Hi” he was also a great comic in his own right - as he demonstrated at The Water Rats Show in The Opera House Blackpool. We all stayed at Cliffs Hotel that night - or should I say that morning - as that’s when we went to bed. When you are drinking in the company of Jimmy Perry, Wynn Calvin, Stan Stennet, Alan Randal and Paul Shane - who was as funny of stage as on - you savour the moment, and I will cherish the memory.
It is now the middle of August and I am looking back on some memorable moments to share with you, incidentally I would like to thank all the people who wrote to Margaret saying how interesting they found the web site, it makes my one finger typing seem worth while.
John and I have now been working together for nearly twenty years and John has come up with a new idea as to how we should be billed which I completely agree with. Different promoters have in the past used a variety of names, i.e. THE NEW BACHELORS, John Stokes BACHELORS, THE BACHELORS with John Stokes or simply THE BACHELORS.
As an original member John, Dave Pearson and I perform the hits as people remember them but we do them as part of a show, it’s a show that has evolved over our many years together and one with the broad appeal necessary to please all the different types of audiences we now encounter, especially on the cruise ships.
What I am leading up to is that from this day forth we will now be known as “THE BACHELORS SHOW” as displayed here on our new poster.
June 28th saw us fulfil our promise to do a charity show at Saint Bernadette’s Catholic Club in Whitefield. it was in aid of Cameo–Aid which is all about building schools for African children. It was a great night which everyone enjoyed, but don’t take my word for it here is an email from the organizer.
Dear John and Jonathan,
Your excellent performance on Friday night was very professional and highly appreciated. As you rolled out the songs, for many people the years rolled back to different times and places. As the song says, “memories are made of this”. Friday night’s performance will be retained, by many, among the happy memories of their lives. My appreciation to you both to Dave Pearson and to your backing team for a wonderful show.
We’ll meet again…
One of our most loyal fans is a lady called June Dale. She organizes get-togethers every Wednesday afternoon for not so senior citizens at a club in Blackly Manchester called The VASA.. June has been nagging me for years for us to do a show there and on Saturday July 6th she got her wish. The show was sell-out thanks in no small way to Dave’s friends, forty of whom travelled all the way from Wythenshawe by coach. This is the second time they have done this and to thank them we are doing a concert at their local, Wythenshawe Royal British Legion on Friday October 11th With regard to the VASA it was a terrific show from start to finish. Great comedy from MIKE LANCASTER followed by Manchester’s leading sixties tribute band CARNABY STREET. I can’t remember the name of the top of the bill but they weren’t bad. Lastly I would just like to thank our friend DAVE PRENTICE who stood in as compere at the last minute and did a great job.
As I am always at pains to point out I don’t mention all the venues we do or it would all become too repetitive as in “heard it all before” but this one I think you’ll find interesting.
July 24th our old friend Brian Walker had us back doing one of his MIDDAY VARIETY SHOWS, this time at The Garrick Theatre in Litchfield. As usual the host and compere was Brian's partner (business) the excellent MALCOLM STENT who introduced the very lovely MAGGIE O'HARA along with one of the original MONARCHS a great act called David Conway if I said he played Harmonica that would an understatement, he was terrific. Now we get to the interesting part. It turned out David last worked with John Stokes when they did a season together at THE LONDON PALLADIUM along with LENA HORNE. When they started reminiscing the room turned black and white.
With Dave’s permission I have printed some extracts from the programme and while doing so I noticed on the bill was a comedian called DES O'CONNER. I wonder what ever happened to him!
It is always nice to see old friends turning up, especially when they are promoters like Derrick Grant and Mike who popped in to catch the show “As good as ever“ was the verdict, which is always nice to here. We have worked for them many times in the past and I’m sure we will in the future.
Speaking of people we have worked for, it was really nice of Jeff, Vernon and Helen from The David Whitfield Commemorative Association to travel all the way from Hull to see us. You might recall last year we were presented with the DWCA award which we kept for a year so it was really nice when they presented us with individual awards. All in all a memorable day.
This month has been busy with Warner’s providing their usual quota of dates, we seem to be back and forth to The Isle of Wight a lot, Norton Grange and Bembridge becoming like home from home. I think we are becoming a victim of our own success as Warner is increasingly sold out which means they have to book us into other hotels.
We were at Holm Lacey on August 10th a great place which I have previously described on the site and I only mention it because we are booked to return there on December 26th.
This is their most expensive holiday in the year and we are delighted they have chosen us THE BACHELORS SHOW to perform there.
The rest of 2013 was spent returning to venues I have previously described but one new venue was Wythenshawe British Legion on the 11th of October. Dave Pearson lives in Wythenshawe so he filled the place with his family and his legion of fans. He was the star that night, John and I had to take a back seat.
Our last show of the year was Holme Lacy, one of the Jewels in Warner’s crown, which we did on Boxing Day. There is not much more I can say about this venue without repeating myself except to say that the staff are first-class the audience were terrific and it was a great way to end the year.
John, Dave and I think it right and fitting that each year we should acknowledge and indeed pay our own tribute to people we have had the pleasure of working with and who are sadly no longer with us.
The 4th of July saw us saying goodbye to Bernie Nolan who died tragically at the age of 53. She had a remarkable career in her short years both as a singer and an excellent actress. This is all well documented on other sites but my own memory is when I was a solo act in the late 70s I spent a week working with the whole family in Hull. Colleen was six and I remember she sang "Ben".
A talented family and it was obvious the girls were going to make it big and they did with Bernie belting out “I’m in the mood for dancing”.
I only met Joan Regan twice, the last time being at the Southwark Pensioners Festival on the 10th of August 2004. John had worked with her many times and introduced us. What struck me about her was how well she looked - even on stage she looked just the way I remembered her from the old TV shows. I told her that when The Bachelors recorded her song “If I give my heart to you” I sang a wrong word, I sang "stars" instead of "light". She just laughed and said “I do it all the time darling”.
A lovely lady, and if you should look her up on Wikipedia you’ll find out what an interesting life she had. Joan died on the 12th of September 2013, aged 85.
Here is an amazing coincidence, Joan Regan along with us are members of The David Whitfield Commemorative Association which is run by Jeff and Helen Kemp along with its founder Vernon Brand. I have talked about these people many times on the site and the great work they do keeping David’s memory alive. We had no idea Vernon was so ill so it came as a great shock to be told he had passed away. David Whitfield was very lucky to have such a fan and the coincidence was he died on the same day as his favourite girl singer September 12th. Vernon was 74.
That concludes 2013