Today the third Royal Variety performance that Shirley Bassey was on from November 15th 1971. Unfortunately we have no video footage of the Royal Variety Performance from 1965.
Songs: Till Love Touches Your Life, Love Story (Where Do I Begin), Yesterday When I Was Young, For All We Know & Something.
She did a total of 9 Royal Variety Performances.
According to an article in the Daily Express from November 16th. 1971, Shirley had been on a grapefruit diet to fit into her dress. Stars like Tommy Cooper, Sacha Distel and Bruce Forsyth were searched by the security before they could get in. Only one entrance was open till the moment the Queen and princess Anne arrived. There was a thirty piece choir performing from Korea named “The little angels”. Usually one representative is introduced to the Queen but an exception was made for “The little angels” and they were all able to meet the Queen in person after the show. Everybody thought that “The little angels” and violist Stehane Grapelli were the highlights of the evening until the moment Shirley went on stage (The minute she walked in the joint). It was one of the best Royal Variety shows since years with in the audience lots of celebrities.
About the dress Shirley wears after the Royal Performance when meeting the Queen, made in 1950s by Douglas Darnell:
Description: A two-piece evening ensmble: A full-lenght sleeveless gown of ivory silk, the plunging neckline and the back of the bodice richly decorated with Swarovski blue zircon and clear crystals in a foliate design, labelled inside Modele Originel Darnell of London; and matching short jacket with three quater lenght sleeves fastening at the back, similarly decorated at the neckline and -a short-sleeved empire line stage gown of ivory satin, the scoop neck, bodice, sleeves and lower skirt richly embroidered with Swarovski Topaz and clear crystals, black beads and sequins, gold sequins and imitation pearls in Ottoman-style flowerheads.
The empire line gown was worn by Shirley Bassey when she met the Queen after a Royal Variety Performance in 1976.
The dress was sold at Christies Gown Auction in 2003. Final price: £2,800
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.