TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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FIRSTIMERS

Granada
22nd May 1967 - 4th April 1968

Produced by Johnny Hamp Firstimers was a locally-shown showcase for singers and groups new to television. Each act would get to perform one song per show which would be broadcast between 4.50 to 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday, following the news headlines. The show would also have an occasional omnibus edition, featuring some of the more popular acts, hosted by Chris Kelly.

After the first 60 acts had been seen they would compete for the Granada Firstimers Trophy, and it was hoped that one of the many artists whose careers Granada had helped launch would be around to appear on the twenty strong judging panel of journalists, agents, producers and show business personalities. There were three cash prizes of £150, £100 and £50.

Auditions were held three evenings a week, where each act was allowed to perform two songs. However there was one recurring problem as producer Johnny Hamp explained to The Stage "It's depressing how many girls sing Puppet On A String". On one occasion a yodeller had a sore throat, so played the harmonica instead.

The show was intended to run for one three-month series leading up to the final, but it was extended to encompass three finals. It was also the intention to launch a Granada Records label in autumn 1967 and with Firstimers acts taking three of the first six releases. It was also hoped that a Firstimer act will appear on the front of the Granada edition of TV Times in autumn 1967.

The most successful act the show had was The Amen Corner, and Hamp kept a photo of them on his desk. However a proto Jethro Tull had appeared in the first week of the show.

A list provided by Mark Dixon on the Missing Episodes board suggests the show had a leaning towards psych and pop with many fascinating appearances gone for good. No shows are thought to exist.