The Benny Hill Show Wikia

Marian Davies, Maggie Stredder and Gloria George

The Ladybirds are a British female vocal harmony trio, known for their appearances on "The Benny Hill Show." Appearing as the musical companion to several early episode in the 1970s, their vocals continued to be used through the rest of the series long after they stopped making appearances.
The members of the Ladybirds were originally members of an earlier Sixties group known as the Vernon Girls. Breaking up in 1961, group member Maureen Kennedy carried on with Jean Ryder as a group called "The Two Tones," touring United States Air Force bases in Germany before returning to England to work as back-up singers to entertainer Max Bygraves on stage. After appearing on "The Val Doonican TV Special" in 1962, singer Marian Davies replaced Ryder, and singer Gloria George joined the group, now known as "The Ladybirds."
In August 1965, The Ladybirds signed to Decca Records and started out doing background vocals to singer Marc Bolan. In 1966, The Ladybirds were hired to provide vocal backing on "Top of the Pops" on BBC until they were replaced a week later by the Maggie Stredder Singers. They also appeared on a number of Twiggy's television show and worked as backing singers on the Mood Mosaic track,. "A Touch of Velvet – A Sting of Brass." They also sang backing vocals on Sandie Shaw's "Puppet on a String," later joining her in a live performance in Vienna, Austria, after the song won the Eurovision Song Contest.
In 1969, the Ladybirds were hired as vocalists on "The Benny Hill Show" doing vocals for opening segments as well as performing their own songs in the series. They became a majr starring act in the series doing their songs as well as acting in sketches, but Gloria George left the trio late in the run and was replaced by singer Penny Lister. In May 1973 after leaving Benny, they performed vocals on the John Entwhistle album, "Rigor Mortis Sets In." From the mid-70s until 1986, the Ladybirds included Maggie Stredder, Ann Simmons, another former Vernon's Girl, and Laura Lee. They also returned to Eurovision, backing Olivia Newton-John, the sister of Benny Hill cast member Rona Newton-John on "Long Live Love" in 1974.


The Ladybirds appeared on many light entertainment shows in the United Kingdom including "Cilla" in 1968, "Lulu's Back In Town," "The Les Dawson Show," "The Two Ronnies," "Morecambe and Wise," "Tommy Cooper," "Little and Large" and others. In 1977, they recorded songs for a low-budget cover album, including "Chanson D'Amour," "Yes Sir, I Can Boogie" and "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina." They also sang on several orchestral albums by Benny Hill's Thames TV musical director, Ronnie Aldrich.
In 2005, the Ladybirds appeared one more time on Mark Wirtz's Ear Theatre album, "Love is Eggshaped: The Soundtrack." By now, they consisted of Maggie Stredder, Kay Garner and Vicki Robinson. In recent times, Stredder, Sheila Bruce, and Penny Lister, re-appeared billed as "The Vernon's Girls." Stredder later launched a successful career as an after-dinner speaker, recalling her life in show business. Sadly, she passed away March 10, 2018 at the age of 82.