HERMAN should, by now, be a huge worldwide name. Known from Bangkok to Bognor, from Paris to Peru. He SHOULD have been inundated with film scripts and been leaping from film set, to play, to musical.
    But the sad truth is that he's not - because Britain doesn't want to know about Herman, the entertainer.
    If he sounds slightly bitter, then he's totally justified.
    For the fact is, he's been ignored, except as a maker of hit singles.
    "In America I've done TV where I wasn't expected to churn out 18 hit records. I've been allowed to expand, to dance with Danny Kaye, tell funny stories, be me and not just a voice.
    "I've always been an ambitious person, but I'd rather sit at home doing nothing than do something I don't want to do. I KNOW what I want and what's right for my career and that's that.
    "Here TV companies don't want to know. Three years ago I went to the BBC and said I'd just seen Adam Faith and Tom Courtenay in some plays and I knew I could do a play too. I heard no more.
    "And they book us to appear on a show because they want older people to watch - and not just the kids. Sadly that's where our appeal lies now. Even on ballroom dates, where - again - we have to churn out 18 hit records, the audience is well over 20 and that's all they want to hear.
    "It's a vicious circle. Because we've never had the chance to do anything else, people think singing is all we can do."
    What then of Herman's ambition and future
  plans?
    "Well, I know it sounds cruel to the group, and I like working with them for 15 weeks of the year, but there's another 36 weeks to be considered - and I'd like to do something on my own.
    "they realise, as I do, that as a group we have very little scope. We've had fantastic record success, but no other kind of success and people have got complacent about us. They pat us on the back and say 'Great lads - you keep on making those records. Don't bother to change.'
    "You know, before I married Mireille I never got any criticism. I thought everything we did was okay.
    "But now there is a new family to criticise me and I've realised that what they say is right.
    "It's not just money that's made me want to be successful - money doesn't really enter into it. I was offered a Broadway musical in America, but the only reason I turned it down was that it had obviously been written with me in mind and I didn't see me doing it.
    "Actually it was very successful. Everyone has their price and can be bought, but quite honestly, I'd rather do something for 10 a week that I really believed in, even if it ultimately flopped, than get 100 a week and know I was selling out.
    "Of course, the Hermits and I still enjoy playing together, but they understand that I have much more ambition than them. They still live in Manchester and own garages and things. I'm a 'Mr. Showbusiness' and they're not. I need to be successful. That's why I'm doing pantomime. People say it's old hat and going back 20 years to do something like 'Aladdin' with the group, but I enjoy working with people outside pop and with kids.
    "I know the right thing's going to come up and I'll do it - but I don't really see it happening in Britain because they've still got this set image of me."


Herman's Hermits headline 'Aladdin' at London's Streatham Odeon with Norman Vaughan from Christmas Eve, with two shows daily from Boxing Day.

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