Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Billy Fury (1959)


Main image of Billy Fury (1959)
ABC for ITV, tx. 30/5/1959
2 mins, black and white
DirectorRita Gillespie
Production CompanyABC Television
ProducerJack Good
Music PerformanceBilly Fury, Vernons Girls

Billy Fury sings 'Don't Knock Upon My Door', backed by the Vernons Girls

Show full synopsis

Broadcast on 30 May 1959, this edition of ITV's live pop programme Oh Boy! marked the TV debut of the nineteen-year-old Billy Fury, who performs 'Don't Knock Upon My Door', the B-side of his second single 'Margo', which had been released two days earlier.

Born Ronald Wycherley in Liverpool on 17 April 1940, he was given his stage name by impresario Larry Parnes, who signed him up after he visited Parnes's Essoldo Theatre in Birkenhead on 1 October 1958, originally with the aim of trying to persuade the more established Marty Wilde to perform his songs. Parnes was so impressed with his performance that he added him to the second half of that night's bill.

Fury's first single, 'Maybe Tomorrow', was released on 18 January 1959, reaching a respectable number 18 in the charts - in fact, it did better than 'Margo' (number 28) and all of his subsequent releases until 'Halfway to Paradise' hit number 4 in 1961. Much of the time, he performed his own songs - something highly unusual in the pre-Beatles era.

Less than a decade after this edition of Oh Boy! was broadcast, Fury would retire from live performance following a diagnosis of rheumatic fever, though he agreed to make a cameo appearance in That'll Be The Day (d. Claude Whatham, 1953) as Stormy Tempest, a rock'n'roll singer who becomes a role model for the young Jim Maclaine (David Essex). He never fully recovered his health, and died on 28 January 1983 at the age of 42.

As a footnote, the backing vocalists on the Oh Boy! performance were The Vernons Girls, who also hailed from Liverpool, their name coming from the famous football pools factory where they originally worked.

Michael Brooke

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
'I Dont Want You Anymore'
That'll Be The Day (1973)
Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas (1964)
Oh Boy! (1958-59)
Liverpool: Sounds of the City