The good, the bad and the weird from vintage talent show ‘Stars in their Eyes’

It's back, baby

If you grew up in the ’90s, the words “Tonight, Matthew…” will mean everything to you. Every Saturday night on ITV, host Matthew Kelly would invite shmucks like you and me to become bonafide superstars for one night only. Or, more accurately, for five minutes only. This was their five minutes of fame, and these shmucks were determined to take it.

The show is returning for a one-off special in aid of the charity Prevent Breast Cancer on June 2. It will be held at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and will, of course, be hosted by Matthew Kelly. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, then, and look back the most memorable Stars in their Eyes performances of the ’90s.

Mick Braithwaite as Liam Gallagher

The year is 1997, and Oasis are at their absolute peak, just before Britpop collapsed in the wake of ‘Be Here Now’Step this way, then, Mick Braithwaite from Lytham in Lancashire. Then 25, Mick worked in a local aerosol factory but dreamed of being a rock’n’roll star, so he took to the Stars… stage and belted out ‘Wonderwall’. Mick uploaded the clip below himself and has taken to the comments section to reveal that his transformation took 90 minutes to complete, which seems like a long time to put on a big coat and a pair of sunglasses – but when the results are this convincing, who are we to argue?


Comedian Harry Hill as Morrissey

Hill was drafted in to host a revived version of the show back in 2015, though it was axed after one series. The majesty of Matthew Kelly was missing, it seems. However, the comedian had previously appeared on the show in its heyday, crooning ‘This Charming Man’ as Morrissey, flinging around gladioli with reckless abandon. For his part, Morrissey later appeared on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, where he was shown the clip of Hill impersonating him. “I haven’t been like that for 20 years,” Moz complained.

Rachel Kerr as Aaliyah

Kelly introduces his next guest in frankly harrowing fashion, trying on some street slang that he ushers in with the dreaded phrase, “As they say in the night clubs…”, before delivering the following abominable volley of words: “If you’d rather be glue-stickin’ to a kickin’ 303 and vibin’ to the bomb while pumpin’ up the rim-shot on the 808 then, er, lovely!” He punctuates this grisly word-soup with an Ali G-style pose. Luckily Walsall resident Rachel Kerr offered a much more impressive performance of ‘Try Again’ by Aliyah, so it’s no wonder that she’s now a MOBO-award winning musician in her own right.

Lee Rose as James Dean Bradfield from Manic Street Preachers

Lee spent nine years asking to go on the show, at time variously auditioning as Jon Bon Jovi and Ugly Kid Joe. You get the impression that he cared more about the show than the Manics. In fact, he erroneously describes Richie Edwards as the lead guitarist of the band – he played rhythm guitar – and appears to make no attempt to actually sound like Bradfield. If you want to watch a man wearing baggy white trousers and pretending to play the guitar, though, Lee’s your guy. Admittedly, he does at least do that weird Bradfield move where he hops around on one leg. It turns out that the real Manics frontman watched the performance; he later bitterly relayed the underwhelming impersonation to a Glastonbury audience, where he described Lee as “some fuckin’ fella”.


Tracey Maskell as Kate Bush

What kind of lunacy would inspire you to attempt to sing like Kate Bush? Actually, though, Tracey Maskell totally smashes it. She sounds bizarrely like Kate Bush and even pulls off the dance moves throughout this astonishing performance of the 1978 classic ‘Wuthering Heights’. Adorably, this YouTube clip below was uploaded by her husband, who writes in the caption: “My wife, Tracey, on the UK TV show “Stars in their Eyes” impersonating Kate Bush.” Extremely wholesome – and a testament to the place that Stars In Their Eyes once held in the hearts of the nation. Welcome back, old friend.

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