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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Manager Gordon Mills had managed to get Tom Jones his own ATV series in September 1966 and now it was time for Jones' in-house rival to head his own show.

Humperdinck had the greatest stroke of luck when on the 5th February 1967 singer Dickie Valentine had to drop out of the Sunday Night at the London Palladium show due to illness. Decca suggested this new singer who had a new single, a cover of a country hit Release Me. The record had already come in at 39 in the chart two weeks before the Palladium appearance, then up to 23 a week before the show, then up to 12 as a response to the show. The day after the broadcast all copies that were in the shops had run out and Decca received orders for another 80,000. It's a common misconception that Release Me was the only record that kept The Beatles Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever off of the number one spot in Britain. Petula Clark's This Is My Song was the number one while the Beatles single only came in at number five. The following week Engelbert took the number one and the Fabs had to settle for second spot once enough copies of Engelbert's disc satisfied back orders.

Engelbert was no new discovery either. As far back as February 1959 Gerry Dorsey (his real name is Arnold George Dorsey) had appeared several times on Oh Boy! and was a regular on Granada's The Song Parade from 1959 to 1960, then on Thank Your Lucky Stars in 1961, The 625 Show for the BBC in 1963, Thank Your Lucky Stars again in 1964 before his luck and record contract ran out. He had also regularly auditioned for Opportunity Knocks from 1964 onwards.

The show would be produced by ATV regular Colin Clews, with Jack Parnell and his orchestra as the musical backing, The Peter Gordeno Dancers and The Mike Sammes Singers were also on hand. As was the norm in those days different ITV regions showed it on different days, with Anglia showing it the following Sunday, while Rediffusion showed it two days' before ATV etc.

On the 24th November 1967 he played host to Dickie Valentine, whose bad luck back in February provided Engelbert with the boost his career needed.

Engelbert was replaced by The Frank Ifield Show once it's run was over, but Humperdinck would be back, however he would have to wait over a year until January 1969.



3rd November 1967 - 8th December 1967