Sunday Night at the London Palladium
Sunday Night at the London Palladium is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 variety show
Variety show
A variety show, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is an entertainment made up of a variety of acts, especially musical performances and sketch comedy, and normally introduced by a compère or host. Other types of acts include magic, animal and circus acts, acrobatics, juggling...

 produced by ATV for the ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 network, originally running from 1955 to 1967, with a brief revival in 1973 and 1974. The London Palladium
London Palladium
The London Palladium is a 2,286 seat West End theatre located off Oxford Street in the City of Westminster. From the roster of stars who have played there and many televised performances, it is arguably the most famous theatre in London and the United Kingdom, especially for musical variety...

 is a theatre in London's West End
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...


The regular hosts of the Palladium show were Tommy Trinder
Tommy Trinder
Thomas Edward Trinder CBE known as Tommy Trinder, was an English stage, screen and radio comedian of the pre and post war years whose catchphrase was 'You lucky people'.-Life:...

 (1955–1958), Bruce Forsyth
Bruce Forsyth
Sir Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson, CBE , commonly known as Bruce Forsyth, or Brucie, is an English TV personality...

 (1958–1960 and 1961-64), Don Arrol (1960–61), Norman Vaughan
Norman Vaughan (comedian)
Norman Vaughan was an English comedian who led a long and successful career in the television and theatre, appearing occasionally in the cinema.-Early life:...

 (1962–1965, 1974), Jimmy Tarbuck
Jimmy Tarbuck
Jimmy Tarbuck OBE or Tarby is an English comedian. Growing up he was a schoolmate of John Lennon.His first television show was It's Tarbuck 65! on ITV in 1964. He has also hosted numerous quiz shows, including Winner Takes All, Full Swing, and Tarby's Frame Game...

 (1965–67) and Jim Dale
Jim Dale
Jim Dale, MBE is an English actor, voice artist, singer and songwriter. He is best known in the United Kingdom for his many appearances in the Carry On series of films and in the US for narrating the Harry Potter audiobook series, for which he received two Grammy Awards, and the ABC series Pushing...

 (1973-74). Other guest comperes were: Hughie Green
Hughie Green
Hughie Green was the host of numerous British television shows.-Early life:Hugh H. Green was born in London; his Scottish father was a former British Army Major who made his fortune supplying tinned fish to the Allied forces in World War I, while his mother Violet was the Surrey-born daughter of...

, Alfred Marks
Alfred Marks
Alfred Edward Marks OBE was a comic actor and comedian.-Biography:Marks was born as Ruchel Kutchinsky in Holborn, London. He left Bell Lane School at 14 and started in entertainment at the Windmill Theatre. He then served in the RAF as a Flight Sergeant in the Middle East where he arranged...

, Robert Morley
Robert Morley
Robert Adolph Wilton Morley, CBE was an English actor who, often in supporting roles, was usually cast as a pompous English gentleman representing the Establishment...

, Arthur Haynes
Arthur Haynes
Arthur Haynes was an English comedian and star of The Arthur Haynes Show, a comedy sketch series produced by ATV from 1957 until his death from a heart attack in 1966...

, Dickie Henderson
Dickie Henderson
Dickie Henderson, OBE was a London-born entertainer.-Early years:His father, Dick Henderson was a music hall comedian and singer famous for his short, rotund appearance, bowler hat and beautiful singing voice...

, Dave Allen
Dave Allen (comedian)
David Tynan O'Mahoney , better known as Dave Allen, was an Irish comedian, very popular in Great Britain, Australia, and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. He also became known in the United States through repeats of his shows on public television. His career had a major resurgence during the late...

, Des O'Connor
Des O'Connor
Des O'Connor, CBE is an English comedian and singer. A former talkshow host, he was the presenter of the long-running Channel 4 gameshow Countdown for two years...

, Bob Monkhouse
Bob Monkhouse
Robert Alan "Bob" Monkhouse, OBE was an English entertainer. He was a successful comedy writer, comedian and actor and was also well known on British television as a presenter and game show host...

 and Roger Moore
Roger Moore
Sir Roger George Moore KBE , is an English actor, perhaps best known for portraying British secret agent James Bond in seven films from 1973 to 1985. He also portrayed Simon Templar in the long-running British television series The Saint.-Early life:Moore was born in Stockwell, London...


The first ever show was compered by Tommy Trinder
Tommy Trinder
Thomas Edward Trinder CBE known as Tommy Trinder, was an English stage, screen and radio comedian of the pre and post war years whose catchphrase was 'You lucky people'.-Life:...

 with Gracie Fields
Gracie Fields
Dame Gracie Fields, DBE , was an English-born, later Italian-based actress, singer and comedienne and star of both cinema and music hall.-Early life:...

 and Guy Mitchell
Guy Mitchell
Guy Mitchell, born Albert George Cernik, was an American pop singer, successful in his homeland, the U.K. and Australia...

 being the night's big guests. The programme was one of ITV's most watched, reaching its biggest audience in January 1960 while Bruce Forsyth
Bruce Forsyth
Sir Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson, CBE , commonly known as Bruce Forsyth, or Brucie, is an English TV personality...

 was the host, in an edition featuring Cliff Richard
Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard, OBE is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor, and philanthropist who has sold over an estimated 250 million records worldwide....

 and The Shadows
The Shadows
The Shadows are a British pop group with a total of 69 UK hit-charted singles: 35 as 'The Shadows' and 34 as 'Cliff Richard and the Shadows', from the 1950s to the 2000s. Cliff Richard in casual conversation with the British rock press frequently refers to the Shadows by their nickname: 'The Shads'...

, watched by more than 20 million people.

However according to the book 'Television's Greatest Hits' written and researched by Paul Gambaccini
Paul Gambaccini
Paul Matthew Gambaccini is a radio and television presenter in the United Kingdom...

 and Rod Taylor the biggest viewing audience was 9.7 million in 1964 (although this would have been homes, rather than viewers, as this was the way British television viewing figures were recorded at the time). This was on Sunday 19 April when Bruce Forsyth introduced The Bachelors
The Bachelors
The Bachelors are a popular music group, originating from Dublin, Ireland.-Career:The founding members of the group were Conleth Cluskey , Declan Cluskey , and John Stokes...

, Hope and Keen
Hope and Keen
Mike Hope and Albie Keen were a British comedy double act. Cousins, the sons of British variety comedians Syd and Max Harrison, they first formed their act in 1956....

 and Frank Ifield
Frank Ifield
Francis Edward Ifield is an early Australian-English easy listening and country music singer. He achieved considerable success in the early 1960s, especially in the UK Singles Chart, where he had four Number 1 hits between 1962 and 1963....

 with the Pamela Devis Dancers.

After the Tiller girls and the lesser acts in the first part was the game show, Beat the Clock
Beat the Clock
Beat the Clock is a Goodson-Todman game show which has aired on American television in several versions since 1950.The original show, hosted by Bud Collyer, ran on CBS from 1950–1958 and ABC from 1958–1961. The show was revived in syndication as The New Beat the Clock from 1969–1974, with Jack Narz...

, the format of which was rather like Bruce Forsyth's later hit in The Generation Game
The Generation Game
The Generation Game was a British gameshow produced by the BBC in which four teams of two competed to win prizes...

. It featured words stuck to a magnetic board and people had to "arrange them into a well known phrase or saying" in 30 seconds as the second hand moved around a large clock face. Other times couples had to perform a trick or stunt, like even changing clothes (previously put on, on top of their ordinary clothes) with each other within a set time.

The second part of the show was were the big stars shone. It featured many top people over the years including Bill Haley
Bill Haley
Bill Haley was one of the first American rock and roll musicians. He is credited by many with first popularizing this form of music in the early 1950s with his group Bill Haley & His Comets and their hit song "Rock Around the Clock".-Early life and career:...

 rocking around the clock, Chubby Checker
Chubby Checker
Chubby Checker is an American singer-songwriter. He is widely known for popularizing the twist dance style, with his 1960 hit cover of Hank Ballard's R&B hit "The Twist"...

 who introduced the "new dance" The Twist to the country with a whole stage full of people dancing the Twist and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Samuel George "Sammy" Davis Jr. was an American entertainer and was also known for his impersonations of actors and other celebrities....

 met the girls in 1961. Other star guests included: Judy Garland
Judy Garland
Judy Garland was an American actress and singer. Through a career that spanned 45 of her 47 years and for her renowned contralto voice, she attained international stardom as an actress in musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist and on the concert stage...

, Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

, Johnny Ray
Johnny Ray
John Cornelius Ray is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who had a 10-year career from 1981 to 1990. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League and the California Angels of the American League...

, Liberace
Wladziu Valentino Liberace , best known simply as Liberace, was a famous American pianist and vocalist.In a career that spanned four decades of concerts, recordings, motion pictures, television and endorsements, Liberace became world-renowned...

, Petula Clark
Petula Clark
Petula Clark, CBE is an English singer, actress, and composer whose career has spanned seven decades.Clark's professional career began as an entertainer on BBC Radio during World War II...

, The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 and The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

. Italian mouse puppet Topo Gigio
Topo Gigio
Topo Gigio was the lead character of a children's puppet show on Italian and Spanish television in the early 1960s. The character, created by artist Maria Perego, debuted on Italian television in 1959 and has been customarily voiced by actor Giuseppe Mazzullo...

 came back a number of times.

The show always ended using the huge revolving stage where the Tiller Girls
Tiller Girls
The Tiller Girls were among the most popular dance troupes of the 1900s, first formed by John Tiller in Manchester, England, in 1890. Whilst on visits to the theatre, Tiller had noticed the overall effect of a chorus of dancers was often spoiled by lack of discipline. Tiller found that by linking...

, the compere and that nights guests stood on it as it slowly turned around to the familiar end tune of the show.

Perhaps the most famous episode took place during a strike by the British acting union Equity
British Actors' Equity Association
Equity is the trade union for actors, stage managers and models in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1930 by a group of West End performers....

, who refused to allow its performers to appear that week. Exempt from this, Bruce Forsyth and comedian Norman Wisdom
Norman Wisdom
Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom, OBE was an English actor, comedian and singer-songwriter best known for a series of comedy films produced between 1953 and 1966 featuring his hapless onscreen character Norman Pitkin...

 performed the entire show themselves, improvising wildly to the delight of the audience.

In 1967, TV mogul Lord Grade
Lew Grade
Lew Grade, Baron Grade , born Lev Winogradsky, was an influential Russian-born English impresario and media mogul.-Early years:...

 axed the show. The reasons for this remain obscure, but he was first to admit that and dropping the axing of soap opera Emergency Ward 10
Emergency Ward 10
Emergency – Ward 10 is a British television series shown on ITV between 1957 and 1967. Like The Grove Family, a series shown by the BBC between 1954 and 1957, Emergency – Ward 10 is considered to be one of British television's first major soap operas.-Overview:The series was made by the ITV...

 at the same time, were the two biggest mistakes he made.

During the early 70s revival, which went out live, two episodes were pulled mid-broadcast, due, apparently to a reported bomb scare.

The format was revived in the 1980s as Live From Her Majesty's
Live From Her Majesty's
Live From Her Majesty's was a Sunday night live variety show which was produced by London Weekend Television for the ITV network and ran from 1982 to 1988...

, Live from the Piccadilly
Live From Her Majesty's
Live From Her Majesty's was a Sunday night live variety show which was produced by London Weekend Television for the ITV network and ran from 1982 to 1988...

 and Live From the Palladium
Live From Her Majesty's
Live From Her Majesty's was a Sunday night live variety show which was produced by London Weekend Television for the ITV network and ran from 1982 to 1988...

 with comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

 Jimmy Tarbuck again host. Live from Her Majesty's
Live From Her Majesty's
Live From Her Majesty's was a Sunday night live variety show which was produced by London Weekend Television for the ITV network and ran from 1982 to 1988...

 is mainly remembered as the show on which comedian Tommy Cooper
Tommy Cooper
Thomas Frederick "Tommy" Cooper was a very popular British prop comedian and magician from Caerphilly, Wales.Cooper was a member of The Magic Circle, and respected by traditional magicians...

 suffered a fatal heart attack, collapsing midway through his act.

A further revival, in 2000, was called Tonight at the London Palladium, fronted by Bruce Forsyth, however this was not a ratings success.

On 29 August 2010, "Gareth Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium" was performed by the staff of the theatre as a one-off commemorative show for the centenary of the Palladium.

Archive status

Very few episodes of this programme have survived (5 out of original run's 126); the rest were either unrecorded, destroyed by Associated TeleVision
Associated TeleVision
Associated Television, often referred to as ATV, was a British television company, holder of various licences to broadcast on the ITV network from 24 September 1955 until 00:34 on 1 January 1982...

 (a similar fate happened to a large portion of Crossroads) or deteriorated to the point where they were no longer watchable. However, The Beatles' performance has survived and can be seen on The Beatles Anthology and heard on Anthology 1
Anthology 1
Anthology 1 is a compilation album by The Beatles, released by Apple Records in November 1995. It was released as the first part of the Anthology trilogy of albums with Anthology 2 and Anthology 3, all of which tie-in with the televised special The Beatles Anthology. It contains "Free as a Bird",...

. The surviving shows - including the Wisdom and Forsyth special - were released on DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

in 2010.

External links

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