A weekly pub-based variety show with singers and comics performing to a crowd of
extras and locals from Wembley, where the show was recorded. Inspired by Rediffusion’s
Time Gentlemen Please it was initially hosted by comic Ray Martine. A team of regular
singers was assembled for the first thirteen week series including Kathy Kirby, Clinton
Ford, Tommy Bruce and Vince Hill. Martine was a well-known London pub comic, but
had new material provided by writers including Barry Cryer, Dick Vosburgh and Marty
The show was usually shot at Rediffusion's studio at Wembley, but the 22nd June 1964
show saw the team go outside onto the River Thames for a one-off summer special,
while later in the year they pitched up at West Ham's Stadium for a night of greyhound
racing. By 1965 Kirby, Ford and Hill had gone, replaced by Susan Maughan and Al Saxon,
but one notable show from this era unusually featured The Joe Cocker Group, while
other acts from the pop/rock world would appear.
August 1965 saw Ray Martine leave the series and it was later re-launched as The
New Stars and Garters with Dodie West and Gary Miller as new regular hosts along
with “Proprietress Jill Browne, assisted by her Man-About-Pubs William Rushton” and
occasional guest Lonnie Donegan.
The format would later inspire The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club at Granada
in the early seventies.