Today we bring you the performance of Dame Shirley Bassey’s very first Royal Variety Performance in 1961. In 2014 at her 9th. Royal Variety Performance Dame Shirley Bassey said: “My very first performance on The Royal Variety Performance was in 1961 and with each show it just gets better and better. I’m excited and honoured to be a part of this year’s show and to share the stage with such great talent.”
Special thanks to Terry for the video and to Jill for the photo from 1961.
Also we have a video of a programme from 2006 called ‘The Very Best of the Royal Variety Performances.
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 nine Royal Variety Performances. In the years: 1961, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1987, 1994, 2000, 2005 and the year 2014. 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 Bassey’s 1994 Performance was the show’s first standing ovation in twenty years.