Rising Stars



Lennie Bennett (1979)

Arthur Askey and Jenny Lee Wright (1980)

Frankie Vaughan and Jenny Lee Wright (1980 final)


BBC1, 14 October 1979 - 30 December 1980 (15 programmes in two series)


A Sunday evening talent contest, with performers in various categories securing marks out of 10 from each of ten UK regions.

The 1979 series was filmed at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool just a couple of days before transmission. Arthur Askey was taken ill just before the end of the 1980 series; Jenny Lee Wright hosted the last heat on her own, and was joined by Frankie Vaughan for the final.

Acts discovered on the show include Geoffrey Durham as The Great Soprendo (who came second last in his heat) and Gary Wilmot. Future doyenne of British backing singers Tessa Niles (then Webb) made the 1979 final as half of the singing duo Sam.


  • 1979: Jacqui Scott
  • 1980: Peter John Mitchell


Lennie Bennett hosted the first series as a personal favour to Barney Colehan, who had given Bennett his break on The Good Old Days ten years earlier.

You can read about Tessa Niles' experience on the show in her autobiography Backtrack, although you'll have to make allowance for the fact that she identifies it as (the admittedly contemporaneous and fairly similar) Search for a Star. Confused the heck out of us, that did.


To correct something on this page or post an addition, please complete this form and press "Send":
If you are asking us a question, please read our contact us page and FAQ first.

Name: E-mail:   
A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in