21st November, 2005
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE
Held in the presence of
HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH K.G.,KT.
Presented by: Granada for ITV Productions
Executive Producers: Mark Wells &
Producer: James Sunderland
Director: Russell Norman
Musical Director: Mike Dixon
Production Manager: Peter Hall
Choreographer: Gary Lloyd
Comperes: Michael Parkinson CBE & Sharon Osbourne
SEVENTY SIX TROMBONES led by BRADLEY WALSH
THE BLUE MAN GROUP
GUYS AND DOLLS – THE MUSICAL
THE SKATING WILLERS
NICOLA BENEDETTI, TOMASZ REICHELT
& THE CAESAR TWINS
ANDREA BOCELLI & BRYN TERFEL CBE
DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY
At The Stage Door
Report by Susan, Nov 2005
My friends and I travelled to Cardiff for the Royal Variety Performance, and enjoyed a lovely meal before settling down in our seats for the show. It was a fantastic evening and Dame Shirley’s performance was particularly memorable.
After the show we excitedly made our way to the stage door, where several people had already gathered in the hope of seeing Dame Shirley. It was a very cold evening and we did not expect the diva to linger, however, when she exited through the glass door with her manager Beaudoin Mills she was more than happy to stop, asking if she could lean on my programme to sign autographs.
Dame Shirley was wearing a long black coat and scarf and was very buoyant and chatty throughout. As she bowed her head to sign, someone took a photo. “Why did you take a picture of the top of my head?” she joked.
A young guy invited Shirley to dinner with he and his friend. “Aww, you’re kidding?” she replied, “After that show, can I eat? No!” The guy said he didn’t blame her, adding that he would have had butterflies too. “I couldn’t eat before and I can’t eat after”, said Shirley, “but thanks very much”.
She then signed my programme, “To Susan, Love Dame Shirley Bassey”, and my friends’ one “To John & Carole”, asking whether it was Carole with an ‘e’? “Yes”, Carole said, “not many people put the ‘e’ “. “I know”, joked the Dame, “that’s why I asked!”
I handed my camera to John and asked if he would take a photo of Carole & I with Dame Shirley. “Wait a minute”, said Shirley, “let me get my big bag out of the way”.
She moved her handbag away and then told John to “tell us when”! We stood posing, but there was a problem: John could not get the camera to work. “So much for digital!”, Shirley quipped. We all laughed as John tried frantically to take the photo, then at the fourth attempt he succeeded.
We thanked Shirley and assumed she would then get in her car, but she surprised us by asking, “What about you John? What about you? Yes, a photo with me, come on, even though you took a long time!”
John was sporting an Austrian hat. Carole asked whether he wanted to take it off for the photo, but Shirley piped up, much to John’s delight, “He can keep it on. It’s going to keep his head warm!”.
I quickly snapped the photo. “Oh! Wait a minute!”, said Shirley, “you’re very quick. I didn’t even look! Take it again, before I disappear into the fog” (emphasising the word ‘fog’ in true diva-esque style!).
We thanked the Dame, then as she was about to step into the car she turned round with a theatrical wave of her arm, saying “I’ll be back in Cardiff, dear old Cardiff. Bye bye. Thank you very much”. She blew a kiss and waved until the car was out of sight.
Needless to say, our favourite Dame had left us on a high. She proved, as we have known all along, that she really is a true megastar, both on and off stage.
Thanks to Susan for providing this report.