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Malcolm Vaughan

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In October 1956, Malcolm Vaughan was due to appear on BBC TV’s Off The Record to promote his new release, “St. Therese Of The Roses”. The invitation was withdrawn a few days later after a BBC committee had determined that the record was unsuitable for broadcast because “the lyric is contrary both to Roman Catholic doctrine and to Protestant sentiment.” The resulting controversy helped to sell records, and with airplay on Radio Luxembourg the sugary wedding song climbed to No 3, stayed on the charts for five months and sold half a million copies.

Malcolm Vaughan was born Malcolm James Thomas, the son of a miner, in Abercynon, Glamorgan in March 1929. The family were to move to Troedyrhiw, near Merthyr Tydfil, where his grandfather was a cobbler. The young boy was soon singing in the local choir, and, in 1943, his aunt wrote to the actor, Emlyn Williams, about joining his wartime repertory company. Thomas appeared in a touring version of The Druid’s Rest which ended up in the West End. Richard Burton also made his stage début in this play. After this, Thomas had a singing role in another West End show, Jenny Jones.

Malcolm Thomas was still a boy soprano when he was 16 but his voice broke on stage while he was singing “Danny Boy” at the Glasgow Empire. Overcome with embarrassment, he returned home. He took jobs as they came along, appearing as an errand boy in the film Bedelia with Margaret Lockwood and being the voice of Dennis the Dachshund in a television production of Larry The Lamb. He was in the West End productions of two Thornton Wilder plays, Our Town and The Skin Of Our Teeth, which was directed by Laurence Olivier.

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