Gus Ferris was a talent agent responsible for bookings at the Old Band Club. In July 1988, he was let down at the last minute by Ingrid and Her Talking Doberman, and so he turned to his friend and colleague Alec Gilroy for the loan of one of his acts for that evening's performance. An old eccentric type, Gus baffled Rovers barmaid Gloria Todd with strange compliments and threw his money around by buying doubles for himself and Alec. Although they made a show of being friends, Alec was pleased to see a rival in lumber and told him his acts were all booked up. Gus left disappointed, however Alec phoned him later to tell him he had an act for him after all, one Jack Duckworth.
As Alec hoped, Jack's spot was a disaster; after singing two songs, he was booed off the stage and the owner Margery Smith threatened to set her Alsatian on him. The next day, an irate Gus arrived at the Rovers demanding an explanation from Alec for sending him a "dead-'ead" with a voice like a bag of crisps. Alec admitted that Jack was a pub man more used to a cellar style of ambience! Despite his anger, Gus didn't accuse Alec of foul play and left peacefully. Shortly thereafter, Alec got the call he was waiting for - from Margery Smith, asking to see him about using him for the club's acts in future.