The Royal Variety Performance is a gala evening held annually in the United Kingdom, which is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family, normally the reigning monarch. The performance showcases a variety of family entertainment, including comedy, singing, dance, circus and other speciality acts, with many of the performers being popular celebrities. The event is organised on behalf of the Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund, to which all proceeds are donated.
The performance is televised to the public and is considered by many to be a tradition of the Christmas season, being held late in November, or early in December. The responsibility of producing and broadcasting the performance is shared alternately between the BBC and ITV and it is becoming a tradition for the BBC to stage the performance in London’s West End and for ITV to stage it in regional theatres outside of London.
Dame Shirley Bassey performed at eight Royal Variety Performances. In the years: 1961, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1987, 1994, 2000 and the year 2005. They have been recorded on video with the exception of the ones from 1961 and 1965. The first one we have is the one from 1971. Today we start a new series of the Royal Variety Performances from 1971 till 2005. The Royal Variety Performances show Dame Shirley Bassey at her very best. Dame Shirley would have performed also on the Royal Variety Performance from 1997 but she refused because she had to sing to a backing tape instead of a full orchestra.
Dame Shirley in her dressing room before a performance
And a small preview of the Royal Variety Performance from 1971:
Is this an entrance or not……..!