1 9 6 3 – 1 9 6 6 (UK)
Traditional pub entertainment brought directly into your living room by this variety series hosted by Ray Martine – a quick-witted East End comic from the Deuragon Arms, Hackney, who also played West End supper clubs – with resident singers Clinton Ford and Kathy Kirby.
The saloon bar of a real Isle of Dogs pub called the Waterman’s Arms was recreated by Associated-Rediffusion in their Studio 5 at Wembley. Only non-alcoholic drinks were served to the “locals” (some extras and some people brought in from the nearby Rising Sun public house), although free cigarettes were provided.
Series one was broadcast live, while subsequent series were recorded on tape but broadcast as live.
The repertory cast was a mixture of music-hall/variety performers of mixed renown, middle-of-the-road singers, one or two genuine pub singers and the Alan Braden Band (plus the trio to back them), with occasional big-name guests, including Susan Maughan, Vince Hill, Julie Rayne and Tommy Bruce.
This unsophisticated show was a ratings success and won Weekend magazine’s award for Best Light Entertainment Show of 1963.
Changes were made for the third series when Ray Martine’s contract was terminated and Jill Browne (from Emergency – Ward 10) and Willie Rushton replaced him, with the title changed slightly to The New Stars and Garters.
Kathy Kirby was also dropped, as was Clinton Ford (replaced by Al Saxon). The last three shows were presented by Kim Cordell.