Days golden opportunity knocked for Telford band

Ah, so close, and yet...

Telford group Fluff seemed on the brink of the big time 50 years ago.
Telford group Fluff seemed on the brink of the big time 50 years ago.

It was 50 years ago this month that a golden opportunity knocked for Shropshire pop group Fluff.

Time, 6.45, the show, Opportunity Knocks!, the host, Hughie Green, and the billing: "Five more acts new to television rival last week's winner for the viewer's vote. From Telford New Town, Shropshire, come the Fluff, a five-strong pop group due soon to celebrate their first anniversary as a group by releasing a new record Make Believe, already widely tipped as a potential hit."

Reflecting on those times, band member Gerry Ward, who lives these days near Hamburg, said: "What a start it was to the new year 50 years ago for the Fluff band.

"The new DJM single 'Make Believe' was released and was the Power Play on Radio Luxembourg, played every evening once an hour for two weeks. We were on two television shows, Opportunity Knocks! and Lift Off. Then there were the Terry Wogan and Jimmy Young shows and Radio One Club, all on BBC Radio One."

Their television appearance on Opportunity Knocks! was on January 12, and Star reviewer Gerry Anderson said the next day: "Already established as radio and recording artists, this was their television debut, and a very professional one it was too.

"As good as any group on Top of the Pops – and far better than most – they are perhaps not sufficiently outrageous to be a sensation, and that suggests they will last longer."

Band members were Chris Wallace from Donnington, David Archer, Gerry Ward, and Alan Millington, all from Dawley, and Mick Skinner from Trench.

The band, it seemed, were on their way. But despite all the exposure and airplay for the single, the breakthrough never came.

"Sadly, it didn’t become a hit," said Gerry.

"Make Believe" reached number 28 in the Radio Luxembourg chart and proved to be their most successful single.

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