2012, London Royal Albert Hall

19th November, 2012


HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
HRH THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH

Executive Producers, EABF:                          Laurie Mansfield & Giles Cooper  

Controller of Entertainment, ITV Studios:     John Kaye Cooper

Executive Producers, ITV Studios :                    Lee Connolly & Fiona Clark

Producer, ITV Studios:  Christian Fletcher

Director, ITV Studios:  Richard Valentine

2012 was a landmark year for the Royal Variety Performance, it being 100 years since the show's beginnings in 1912. It was also the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year and the year that London hosted the Olympic Games.

The Royal Albert Hall was booked for the first time in the show's history and Her Majesty The Queen attended her 39th Royal Variety, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, attending for his 27th time! The increased capacity of the Albert Hall (twice that of the London Palladium) meant it would be a good year for the charity and together with the venue's grand opulence, all agreed that it would provide the perfect setting for the show's very special, Centenary Performance.

The Mansfield Cooper partnership was now in full swing, but the technical misfortunes of the previous year in Manchester were still at the back of everyone's minds and the Albert Hall was not without its challenges! Not built as a theatre and with very little backstage facilities, the show presented many obstacles for the production team to overcome. No curtains meant set changes would be difficult and where to house a cast of over 200 performers, with numerous sets, sound equipment and props, added to the challenge to make this the show's 100th year, extra special.

The venue was booked for an entire week to allow for numerous technical and artist rehearsals. The University buildings behind the Hall were hired for dressing room and storage facilities (with a security tunnel linking to the Hall's backstage area). The orchestra were placed on a platform suspended from the ceiling of the venue! Two levels of staging were built to allow presenters and comedians to provide 'links' from the upper level, whilst sets were changed in darkness on the lower level. Huge video screens were installed to enable the showing of clips from previous 'royal shows' over the previous 100 years.

The international cast was one of the most spectacular ever presented.

David Walliams was chosen as the primary host and was assisted during the night by various others including Bradley Walsh and Amanda Holden. It was also decided that another nice celebratory addition would be to allow the odd introductory segments to  previous hosting legends of the Royal Variety, which included Sir Bruce Forsyth KBE, Jimmy Tarbuck OBE, Des O'Connor CBE and Ronnie Corbett CBE.

Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh were welcomed to the Albert Hall by Laurie Mansfield and Giles Cooper and were presented with a bouquet & show programme from Cooper's children (Rory aged 9, and Heather aged 7). Their Majesties were given a hugely warm welcome on entering the Royal Box and after the playing of the National Anthem,  there followed a spectacular entrance by David Walliams - suspended by a 'zip wire' Walliams descended to the stage to the music of the James Bond theme tune - referring to the fantastically popular 'Bond intro' to the London's Olympic Games  'Opening Ceremony' - only 2 months previously.

The show began with Girls Aloud featuring Cheryl Cole, who specially reformed for the night, after which followed an incredible celebration of the TV talent show, Britain's Got Talent, which included street dance group Diversity, gymnasts Spelbound, singer Paul Potts and the ever popular Stavros Flatley and his son.

With only just over a year since winning X-Factor, the huge rise to international fame of One Direction was celebrated with their first-ever performance on the Royal Variety Performance. The boys entered by walking to the stage through the stalls, much to the delight and screams of female members of the audience!

More comedy came from the fantastic Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert and cross-over act Alan Carr, but it was Bill Bailey and his 'orchestra of car horns' that provided a real highlight.

More pop music came from the ever-lovely Australian pop princess, Kylie Minogue and from the United States, Alicia Keys delivered a beautiful rendition at the piano of her huge hit ' New York'.

Classical music was represented too with an abundance of gold stars, in the form of Katherine Jenkins performing a duet with Placido Domingo, China's Three Tenors and the incredible Andrea Bocelli.

West-End musicals were represented by Heather Headley singing 'I Will Always Love You' from the Bodyguard, together with the lovely cast of Matilda.

Robbie Williams headlined the first half, providing fantastic performances of hits from his new album 'Take the Crown.'  A nod to the career of his crooning father.

Britain's Got Talent 2012 winners Ashleigh and Pudsey, the Ballet Revolución and Circus Space gave the show real variety in its truest form and the evening was rounded off by amazing performances from music legends Rod Stewart and Neil Diamond.

The finale was probably one of the most memorable with the entire cast joining Neil Diamond for a rendition of Sweet Caroline.

The 100th anniversary evening was celebrated in style with the majority of the cast at a further fundraising event at a lavish aftershow banquet at the Hilton Hotel in London's Park Lane. The entire evening raised an incredible £740,000 for the Royal Charity.

Host and Performers

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DAVID WALLIAMS - Host

David Walliams is one of Britain's best-loved comedians. He first shot to fame through his work with Matt Lucas. Together they created ‘Little Britain’, which has won numerous international awards including 3 BAFTAs, showing in over 100 countries and ‘Little Britain Live’ selling over a million tickets worldwide. David and Matt followed ‘Little Britain’ with the hugely popular spoof airport documentary series ‘Come Fly With Me’.

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CIRCUS SPACE

Circus Space is a registered charity and one of Europe’s leading providers of circus education. Based in a magnificent Victorian power station adjacent to Hoxton Square, they involve thousands of people in the creation and performance of circus arts every year. Their diverse range of work includes the UK’s only BA Hons degree in Circus Arts, a structured progressive training programme for under 18s and professional development opportunities for aspiring and established performers.

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GIRLS ALOUD

Girls Aloud’s record-breaking, ten-year pop reign is the sound of twenty consecutive Top 10 singles, four Number Ones, five platinum studio albums and a million-selling greatest hits, all brought to life across five nationwide tours. Combined with an Ivor Novello and Brit award, support slots for the likes of Coldplay and a truly remarkable career trajectory, and you’ve got the defining UK girlband of the modern pop era. Girls Aloud are now back with their greatest hits album ‘Ten’.

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JIMMY TARBUCK

Celebrating 50 years in show business, Jimmy is one of Britain’s favourite comics. His television break came in 1962 on ITV’s ‘Comedy Bandbox’ and he went on to appear on ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’ before becoming the show’s resident compere in 1965. Having made 5 previous appearances on the Royal Variety Performance, Jimmy continues to entertain audiences on both screen and stage. He has completed numerous very successful UK tours of his one man show as well as taking part in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Piers Morgan’s Life Stories’. 

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AMANDA HOLDEN

Amanda Holden is one of the UK’s best known performers, achieving huge success over the last 20 years as an actor, presenter and most recently as one of the Judges, alongside Simon Cowell, in all 6 series of ITV’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’– which regularly pulls in over 12 million viewers. She starred as Princess Fiona in the UK premiere of last year’s big musical production of ‘Shrek’ for Dreamworks at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

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BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT CELEBRATION

A celebration of Britain's Got Talent with performances from Diversity, Spelbound, Paul Potts and Stavros Flatley.

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BRADLEY WALSH

Bradley Walsh first performed on The Royal Variety Performance in 1993 and has since gone on to become one of the country’s most popular television presenters and actors. In 2004 Bradley became a household name playing Danny Baldwin in ‘Coronation Street’. Since leaving ‘Coronation Street’, Bradley has continued to establish himself as a versatile and respected actor. As a presenter, Bradley's hosting credits are extensive including ‘The Chase’ for ITV1.

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ONE DIRECTION

It was on the 2010 series of the ‘X Factor’ that Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall and Zayn first met and formed global sensation; One Direction. Their debut single, ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ went straight to no.1 in the UK charts and their debut album went to no.1 in 15 different countries including the US, making them the first British group ever to have a debut album to top the Billboard.
 
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RHOD GILBERT

Following several sell-out UK tours, and two best-selling DVD’s, welsh comedy sensation Rhod Gilbert is hailed as one of hottest stand-up talents in the UK. He has recently hosted ‘Live At The Apollo’, and ‘Have I Got News For You’ and has achieved great success with his own hit TV shows ‘Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience’ and ‘Ask Rhod Gilbert’.

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ALICIA KEYS

Alicia Keys is a 14 time Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, producer, actress, New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur and humanitarian. Since releasing her debut album, ‘Songs in A minor’, Keys has built an unparalleled repertoire of hits with over 30 million albums sold worldwide.

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KATHERINE JENKINS

Katherine Jenkins is the world’s most prolific classical crossover artist. Since launching her career in 2004, the Welsh Mezzo Soprano has sold in excess of 7 million albums. Best known for her unique interpretations of popular songs, operatic arias and hymns, Katherine, from the tiny village of Neath in the Welsh Valleys, has become an inspiration for millions of people around the world.

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PALCIDO DOMINGO

Placido Domingo has performed 140 different roles, more than any other tenor in the annals of music, with more than 3600 career performances. His more than 100 recordings of complete operas, compilations of arias and duets, and crossover discs have earned him 12 Grammy Awards, including 3 Latin Grammys, and he has made more than 50 music videos and won 2 Emmy Awards.

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THE BODYGUARD

Brand new musical ‘The Bodyguard’ opens at London's Adelphi Theatre on 5th December. Based on the 1992 smash hit movie which starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston - it tells the story of superstar Rachel Marron and former Secret Service agent-turned-bodyguard Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect her from the deadly threat of an unknown stalker.

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ROBBIE WILIAMS

Robbie Williams has sold over 70 million albums across his solo career and has won more Brit Awards than any other artist in history. His 7 number one UK albums mean he is easily the biggest selling solo artist in UK history. Robbie's 2010 Brit Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution To Music’ brought his tally of Brits to 17, more than any other artist.

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MATILDA

Matilda The Musical was created by the Royal Shakespeare Company and transferred to London’s West End in October 2011. The show garnered 7 awards at this year’s Olivier Awards including ‘Best New Musical’, earning it a place in the record books. Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, the critically acclaimed production is directed by Matthew Warchus, with a book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin.

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BILL BAILEY

From dueting at HRH Prince Charles' 60th birthday with Robin Williams, to performing at the Royal Albert Hall with a full BBC Concert Orchestra, Bill Bailey is no stranger to regal occasions. As well known for his appearances in ‘Black Books’, ‘QI’, ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ and ‘Have I Got News For You’ as he is for his passion for the natural world and wildlife documentaries, Bill brings his inimitable, insightful whimsy to pan-global audiences of all ages with his trademark musical mash-ups, multi-lingual riffs and silliness on a grand scale.

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ASHLEIGH & PUDSEY

Ashleigh & Pudsey rocketed to international fame in May 2012 when they won the UK’s biggest talent show, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. A whirlwind of photo shoots, interviews, TV appearances, high profile performances, autographs and celebrities clamouring to have their pictures taken with the pair- the nation was enchanted.

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ROD STEWART

During Rod Stewart’s iconic 5 decade-long career, he has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, scored countless hits, earned 18 Grammy nominations and in 2007 was bestowed the prestigious CBE title by the Queen. A two-time US Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, Rod first made himself heard in the early 60’s with Long John Baldry, Steampacket and Shotgun Express, as well as his seminal work with Jeff Beck and the Faces.

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Ballet Revolución

Ballet Revolución is an explosive fusion of different dance styles, from ballet to street dance, combined with an explosive and intensive performance full of sensuality, pure energy and impressive athleticism. All pieces are performed by a company of supremely talented Cuban dancers, many of whom have trained at Cuba’s most prestigious conservatoires such as the Escuela Nacional de Arte or the Escuela Nacional de Ballet and performed with top Cuban companies.

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ANDREA BOCELLI

Andrea Bocelli is the best-selling classical artist in the world and one of the best-selling pop stars with 75 million records sold. Bocelli has performed in operas, as well as recording 13 albums and 8 full operas. His ‘Sacred Arias’ album sold over 5 million copies, making it the best-selling classical recording of all time.

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KYLIE MINOGUE

Kylie is no stranger to Royal Variety Performances, she appeared in 1988, 2000, 2002, 2010 and she’s here tonight at the 100th anniversary. 2012 is also a significant anniversary for Kylie – she is celebrating her 25th year in music. In July 1987 Kylie released her first single ‘Locomotion’. It went to no.1 in Australia and hit the top 5 throughout the world. Since then she has released 11 studio albums, multiple live recordings, compilations, TV and DVD packages in addition to over 50 hit singles.

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CHINA'S THREE TENORS

China’s Three Tenors were formed in 2011 and mentored by Placido Domingo. Already hugely popular in China, their fame and success is rapidly spreading around the world. The trio comprises of China's most celebrated tenors: Dai Yuqiang, Wei Song and Warren Wah-lun Mok. Upon hearing his voice, Luciano Pavarotti invited Dai Yuqiang to his home in Italy to become his first and only Chinese student.

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NEIL DIAMOND

Neil Diamond has remained one of the most popular live performers in the world during a career spanning over 5 decades. His record sales tell a similar story; Diamond has sold over 125 million records worldwide. He has had 8 US number one hit singles, including ‘Cracklin Rose’, ‘Song Sung Blue’, ‘You Don't Bring Me Flowers’ and ‘Love on the Rocks’. Diamond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

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2012 Royal Variety Performance Programme, Show & Aftershow ticket