In autumn 1966, their Management secured a two-year contract with ‘Howard and Wyndam’ to tour all their theatres with ‘The Bachelors Show.’ Producer Dick Hurran was drafted in and the result was spectacular. The new show played for 14 packed performances a week at the Manchester Opera House in the middle of winter for over two months! It was a triumph.
The Bachelors appeared in the first half of the show no less than five times, concluding with a big production number which saw the whole cast, including six chorus singers and 16 dancers on stage! The audience were on their feet begging for more and they got it. The boys had their ‘Top of the Bill’ 40 minute set in the 2nd half, with the orchestra arranged on the stage behind them.
In January 1967, The Bachelors were released from their Manchester show (Max Bygraves stood in) to attend and perform at the world-famous San Remo song festival in northern Italy. They were the only English-speaking act to sing in Italian.
One of their their songs ‘Proposta’ came third in the competition beating (among others) Neil Diamond, The Hollies and Sonny and Cher. They had recorded several numbers in Italian in preparation for this venture and more details can be found in the ‘recording’ section.
‘The Bachelors Show’ was big on comedy and many up-and-coming acts got a massive ‘leg up’ to stardom on the back of the group’s popularity. Over the next 17 years the following acts went on to become huge names; Mike Yarwood, Freddie (Parrot Face) Davies; Les Dawson; Norman Collier; Frank Carson; Freddie Starr; Michael Barrymore, Ray Fell, Mike Newman, Mike Burton and Bobby Davro.
The show played seasons in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Nottingham, Coventry, Bristol, Scarborough and in 1969 they stopped off for the summer at London’s prestigious Victoria Palace where the popular TV funny man, Dick Emery supported them as ‘guest star.’
On top of all this they were booked to appear for weekly or monthly stints at all the prestigious UK theatre clubs such as the ‘Talk Of The Town’ in London (1971 and 1977), ‘The Golden Garter’ in Manchester, and the ‘Wakefield Theatre Club.’ They were first act to perform at the famous ‘Batley Variety Club’ where, a few months earlier, they attended a ceremony and laid the foundation stone for the building of that venue.
Long summer seasons continued apace, with two more in Scarborough and one each in Blackpool, Eastbourne, Paignton and Bournemouth
All this ‘live’ activity made them accessible to their thousands of fans. The stage door was always crowded with people brandishing programmes and records for signing. It is to their eternal credit that I never saw or heard of them refusing an autograph for anyone. The group always greeted fans with a genuine smile and took time to answer my many questions about recording plans.