13th November, 2014
HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Executive Producers, EABF : Laurie Mansfield & Giles Cooper
Creative Director, ITV Studios: Lee Connolly
Exec Producers, ITV Studios: Fiona Clark & Glenn Coomber
Director, ITV Studios: Richard Valentine
The 2014 Royal Variety Performance returned to the London Palladium and welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their first time; the Duchess being 5 months pregnant with Princess Charlotte.
The show will be remembered for the hilarious anecdotes of host Michael McIntyre who got so enthused by the audience reaction that he ran over by 40 minutes!
Highlights included Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding appearing on the Royal Variety for their first time, the hugely successful One Direction, Britain's Got Talent winners Collabro and the amazing Dame Shirley Bassey who proved that after all these years she is still one of the greatest female singers of all time.
Michael McIntyre is without doubt one of the UK’s biggest names in comedy. His spot-on observational comedy and trademark ability to turn everyday situations into master-classes of human exasperation have struck chords with millions of fans, cementing him as one of the UK’s most loved comedy performers. Michael has released three best-selling DVDs; 2008’s ‘Live and Laughing’, ‘Hello Wembley’ – which in 2009 became the fastest-selling UK stand-up DVD of all time – and 2012’s ‘Showtime’, which beat its competitors to the Christmas number one spot in the charts.The past few years have been full of highlights for Michael, most recently his debut as a chat show host on ‘The Michael McIntyre Show’ and his international tour in 2013, which saw him achieve the feat of performing the largest ever comedy show on the continent of Africa. His UK & Ireland tour in 2012 saw Michael sell out a ten-night residency at London’s O2 Arena, the longest residency for a comedian at the venue. Michael managed to find the time during his hectic schedule to write his first autobiography, ‘Life & Laughing’, which shot to the top of the best-sellers list, whilst also becoming a member of the judging panel on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and selling out a 71-date arena tour in 2012, during which he performed to a staggering 650,000 people. The future continues to look bright for Michael, as he is soon to be embarking on his most ambitious tour to date with ‘Happy & Glorious’ and a 2014 Christmas television special for BBC One. “When The Queen FaceTimed me and asked me to host the Royal Variety Performance again I was utterly thrilled, especially when she told me it was to be in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I plan on wearing the dress Catherine wore at the St Andrew's University fashion show to guarantee I hold Prince William's attention throughout.”
One of the world's best-loved and most versatile entertainers, Bette Midler has garnered accolades in all quarters of show business. She's earned four Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year in 1989 for ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’, two Academy Award nominations, three Emmy Awards, one Tony Award and three Golden Globe Awards. Bette has recorded thirteen studio albums, sold 30 million albums worldwide and in November she will release her first album in eight years titled ‘It's The Girls!’ – a stunning album that reunites her with award-winning composer Marc Shaiman. ‘It’s The Girls!’ features fifteen new songs and spans seven decades of famous girl groups – covering everyone from ‘30s trio The Boswell Sisters to '90s R&B legends TLC. “As a little girl growing up with dreams of being a singer, I never imagined I would one day perform for members of the Royal Family. It’s quite an honour to take the stage before such a distinguished audience, and it’s a privilege to be included in a long list of talented artists who have been a part of the Royal Variety Performance for over a century.”
As the UK’s favourite tenor, Alfie Boe dreamed of a career as a singer as a young boy. Alfie has conquered the world's most prestigious opera stages, led the cast of Les Misérables for nearly a year and performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace. Alfie has had four top ten albums, and will be releasing his new studio album, ‘Serenata’, this month, sold out three UK tours and will be embarking on his fourth tour at the end of November – finishing at The O2 Arena in London. In addition to his wonderful musical credentials, Alfie released a best-selling autobiography in 2012, ‘My Story’, and was lucky enough to have been offered the role of music hall singer Richard Chapman in ‘Mr Selfridge’. “It’s such an honour to be a part of the Royal Variety Performance. Getting to share the stage with such amazing stars and the honour of performing in front of royalty and the nation is truly an amazing opportunity.”
Collabro were the triumphant winners of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ this year and are the musical theatre boy band that charmed the nation. In what has been a whirlwind couple of months since winning the competition, the group released their debut album, ‘Stars’, and here they are now performing on one of the grandest stages of all – at the Royal Variety Performance. The album features eleven exquisitely reworked songs from the worlds of musical theatre and film, including a recorded version of ‘Stars’, the song that won them the final on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Collabro have also recently announced their greatly anticipated UK headline tour, which is due to hit theatres in early 2015. “It’s such a huge privilege to be invited to perform at the Royal Variety Performance. None of us could ever have imagined being on this stage in our wildest dreams this time last year. It’s sure to be an incredibly special night.”
Pop sensation Demi Lovato has achieved more than most during such a short space of time. At the age of 15 years old, she was a bona fide TV star after appearing in two hit US shows and by 2009 she had released two hugely successful solo albums. Demi’s popularity spread to Europe, where she scored two UK top ten singles in ‘Heart Attack’ and ‘Skyscraper’ and released a further two albums. ‘Demi’, her fourth album, was arguably her most successful, debuting at number one on the iTunes Chart and reaching the top ten in the UK Album Charts. Demi recently released the single version of ‘Let It Go’ from the soundtrack to the hit film ‘Frozen’. She is currently embarking on a huge world tour performing over 30 shows in no less than seven countries. "What an honour and privilege it is to perform at such a historic show. This will definitely be a memorable moment and what better way to celebrate than performing ‘Let It Go’ just in time for Christmas.”
Ed Sheeran is a gifted guitarist, beatboxer and songwriter and has legions of fans all over the world that adore his eclectic blend of acoustic pop, folk and hip-hop. The British singer signed with Atlantic Records in 2011 and released his debut studio album, ‘+’, which went on to become a huge hit, selling over a million copies in the UK alone in its first six months, spending three weeks at number one and 138 weeks in the Top 40.
In recent years, Ed’s highlights have included performing at both the Queen’s Jubilee and the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, having his song ‘I See Fire’ featured in the film ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ and being nominated for four Brit Awards and three Grammy’s. He recently released his second album, ‘X’, which spent eight weeks at number one, further highlighting Ed’s rise to the top.
Having caught the public’s attention with her cover of ‘Your Song’, Ellie Goulding has gone on to become one of pop music’s hottest properties. She topped the BBC's Sound of 2010 poll and since then the English singer-songwriter has quickly risen to the top of the charts with her hook-filled, electronic pop sound. The last few years have been littered with highlights for Ellie as she secured two consecutive number one albums with ‘Lights’ and ‘Halcyon’ and also performed for a private audience at the Royal Wedding. Since then Ellie has gone on to collaborate with Calvin Harris on the hit single ‘I Need Your Love’ and she continues to be a major attraction on the UK festival circuit. “The Royal Variety Performance has had the most unbelievable list of iconic performers take part over the last 100 years. To be able to be a part of this incredible event is truly an honour.”
Choral legends Ladysmith Black Mambazo – who shot to worldwide prominence on Paul Simon's ‘Graceland’ album – present INALA, a unique artistic collaboration with multi award-winning choreographer Mark Baldwin. This ambitious new production features talent from the Royal Ballet and Rambert as INALA embraces an exhilarating fusion of South African and western cultures live on stage. Performing an original score composed by Joseph Shabalala and Ella Spira, Ladysmith Black Mambazo blend the rhythms and harmonies of their native musical traditions with live music, inspiring the breathtaking movement of Baldwin’s choreography performed by an exceptional cast. Mapping a journey through South Africa’s turbulent past, the forgiveness of the present and hopes for the future, INALA delivers a spiritually uplifting and beautiful live story-telling experience powered by a cultural explosion of music, song and dance. “Having premiered our production this year at the Edinburgh International Festival, followed by sold out performances in London and regionally, to finish 2014 performing on the Royal Variety Performance is the dreamlike icing on our cake.”
Jack Whitehall first appeared on the Royal Variety Performance in 2010 and has since established himself as one of the country’s most exciting comedy talents. He has been a regular guest on some of the biggest comedy shows on television, including appearances on ‘Have I Got News For You’ and ‘Live at the Apollo’, and earlier in the year Jack performed his biggest tour to date ‘Jack Whitehall Gets Around’ to critical acclaim. Jack’s impressive CV also contains the sitcom ‘Bad Education’, which he currently writes and stars in, along with his own chat show ‘Backchat’ and his regular role as a panellist on the BAFTA award-winning ‘A League of Their Own’. At the 2013 British Comedy Awards, Jack had the honour of being crowned the ‘King of Comedy’ for the second consecutive year – highlighting his popularity with the British public and fellow comedians alike. "I am so excited to be taking to the stage once again at the Royal Variety Performance, it really is a tremendous honour."
The worldwide cult sensation La Soirée, which is currently taking up residency at the Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival, brings to the stage two of its finest acts. Hamish McCann and Denis Lock are The English Gents, two cordial gentlemen who perform inconceivable feats of acrobatic skill, strength and balance all whilst sporting the stiffest of British upper lips. Hamish will also be presenting his solo act, a one-of-a-kind pole routine that has gained a global reputation and is sure to leave you ‘feeling good’.
“We’re thrilled to be performing at the Royal Variety Performance and we can’t wait to bare near-all for the Royal Family. We sincerely hope that they enjoy our terribly English act!”
In 2013, pop history was made when McFly and Busted became the super group, McBusted. As separate acts they have already smashed numerous records – Busted's live shows were so huge that they achieved a record-breaking 11 consecutive nights at Wembley and McFly were the youngest band in history to hit number one with their debut album. The seeds of the super group were sewn when James Bourne of Busted played an impromptu acoustic set supporting McFly one night, with Busted then storming the stage at McFly’s 10th anniversary shows at the Royal Albert Hall in 2013 to perform ‘Year 3000’, ‘Air Hostess’ and ‘Shine A Light’. The result was pandemonium and before anyone could catch their breath, McBusted had formed and announced an arena tour of 35 dates, ending with a headline performance to 60,000 people in Hyde Park. James from Busted said: “It's a real honour to be playing at the Royal Variety Performance with McBusted. This marks my third decade in a row performing on the show - as I was here previously with the original cast of ‘Oliver’ in 1994 and with Busted in 2004. Let’s rock!”
It’s 6,000 miles from Cape Town to London, but the distance Pumeza has travelled can't be measured in mere geography. Brought up in the townships of South Africa, before taking the opportunity to study in London, Pumeza has since launched a professional operatic career and signed with Decca Records. Pumeza has been a member of the Stuttgart State Opera for the past two seasons and 2014 has been an incredible year for the soprano - as she performed for a worldwide audience at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Glasgow and released her first solo album, ‘Voice of Hope’. “I have been honoured to be able to perform at some wonderful events this year and I am really delighted to bring opera to the Royal Variety Performance. To perform at this legendary event is a privilege and I am looking forward to it very much.”
Welsh comedian Rod Woodward has been tipped for comedy greatness by such luminaries as Peter Kay and the late Bob Monkhouse. Having supported Paddy McGuinness and Russell Brand on tour, he won the BBC Wales comedy competition ‘Funny Business’ and performed at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas ahead of Welsh boxer Joe Calzaghe’s super fight with Bernard Hopkins in 2008. More recently Rod was invited to host Max Boyce’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Wales Millennium Centre and to appear on a St. David’s Day special on Welsh television. Rod can’t wait to take to the stage at the Palladium and said: “I saw ‘Allo Allo’ with my parents at the Palladium when I was 12 years old – that’s when I knew I wanted to be a comedian. Coming back here to actually perform on the Royal Variety Performance is definitely the highlight of my career.”
Russell Kane is a multi-award winning stand-up comedian, writer and actor. Since 2008 he’s been touring the world, performing sell-out shows with his high-energy, observational humour about life, love and family. In 2010/2011 he won both the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award and The Melbourne Festival’s Barry Award, the first comedian to take both honours in the same year. More recently Russell has published a novel, performed at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, written two plays and hosted his own comedy television showcase ‘Live at the Electric’ on BBC3. This will be Russell’s first appearance on The Royal Variety Performance and he said: “I’m utterly thrilled and honoured to be performing this year. The only person happier is my mum. When I told her it was like someone dropped a Berocca into a Diet Coke and shook it.”
Sarah Millican first starred on The Royal Variety Performance in 2010 following two British Comedy Award nominations. Her natural gift for storytelling, effortless charm and razor-sharp wit mark Sarah as one of the most popular comedians in the country. In 2011, Sarah accomplished an amazing year, after being crowned ‘The Queen of Comedy’ at the British Comedy Awards and has since been nominated an incredible four more times for various awards, including two BAFTA nominations in 2013 and 2014 for her series ‘The Sarah Millican Television Programme’. Sarah‘s debut DVD, ‘Chatterbox Live’, is the biggest selling stand-up DVD ever by a female comedian and she has notched up countless TV appearances on hit shows, including ‘QI’, ‘Live at the Apollo’, ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’ and ‘The Graham Norton Show’. Sarah has completed three national tours to sell-out crowds and her most recent tour, ‘Home Bird’, is due to be released on DVD this month. “I’m thrilled to be doing the Royal Variety Performance for the second time. I think on the third time you win a member of the Royal Family!”
Simply Red are back! 2015 will be 30 years since the band's inception and Mick and the boys feel the perfect way to celebrate the anniversary is to hit the stage once more. Since their first gig in 1985, Simply Red have done it all and collected a host of accolades along the way. They have played over 1,100 shows to over 11 million people, notched up 60 million global sales, over 31 Top 40 UK singles, three BRIT Awards and a MOBO Special Achievement Award. Mick Hucknall will rejoin his band to celebrate all that they have achieved together. It’s been an incredible journey for Simply Red and one they plan to continue, starting here with one of the biggest nights in the calendar – the Royal Variety Performance. “We are so excited to be a part of this year’s Royal Variety Performance – I can’t think of a better place for Simply Red to begin our 30-year anniversary celebration.”
Stephen Mulhern is one of the most in demand television presenters around today with a string of smash hit television shows, including ‘Catchphrase’, ‘Big Star’s Little Star’ and ‘Britain’s Got More Talent.’ As well as his television appearances, Stephen is an experienced all-round entertainer having performed his very own magic and one-man variety show up and down the country for the past twelve years. His unique style of comedy and presentation has made him one of the best-loved presenters in the country having performed for some of the most famous celebrities in the world and even winning him a BAFTA award in the process. Simon Cowell has described what Stephen does as “amazing” and everyone agrees that he is a major star of family entertainment.“It's a dream come true for any performer to be invited onto one of the most prestigious variety shows in the world and for it to be at the Palladium this year makes it even more special.”
Hailing from South Africa, Trevor Noah is a comedian who has achieved international acclaim. Born a mixed-race child under Apartheid, he challenges the status quo through his unique perspective. A huge star in his native country, Trevor hosted two series of his own television show and has sold more DVD’s than any other comedian on the African continent. In 2012 he made his US television debut on ‘The Tonight Show’ and more recently appeared on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’. Trevor is currently taking the UK by storm; notching up appearances on ‘Live at the Apollo’, ‘QI’ and ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’. His first UK tour was critically acclaimed and he is set to embark on his second nationwide tour next year. Making his first appearance on the Royal Variety Performance, Trevor said: “It is an honour to perform at such an iconic event and to such an esteemed audience.”
Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Boublil & Schönberg’s Miss Saigon opened at the Prince Edward Theatre in May this year. With record-breaking advance sales this acclaimed new production is proving a hit all over again, receiving standing ovations at every performance. This epic musical love story tells the tragic tale of young girl Kim, orphaned by war and taken in by the sleazy Engineer to work in his club. Kim falls in love with an American GI called Chris - but their lives are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. The original production opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane 25 years ago where it ran for 10 years. It has since played 300 cities in 15 different languages, has been seen by over 40 million people and this production is now playing to new generations across the globe. Cameron Mackintosh - "Miss Saigon is certainly the most contemporary musical I have produced and 25 years on its emotional impact and relevance has become even more powerful. It is a story that now resonates far beyond the shores of war-torn Vietnam as similar conflicts engulf the world. I am delighted that this remarkable cast, drawn from 18 countries, is giving you a glimpse into the world of Miss Saigon tonight. They have taken the show to new heights as it stuns new audiences in a way no other modern musical can."
It’s been five years since the world fell in love with One Direction on ‘The X Factor’ and since then the boys – Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall and Zayn – have taken the world by storm. The group’s debut single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ went straight to number one in the UK and their first album, ‘Up All Night’, followed suit. The release of their second album, ‘Take Me Home’, took the boys to number one in 37 countries, whilst their third, ‘Midnight Memories’, was announced as the fastest-selling record in Amazon UK’s history. They subsequently had achieved something no other UK act had ever managed before, as their first three albums debuted at number one in the US Billboard Charts. November sees One Direction release their hugely anticipated fourth album – the aptly titled 'FOUR' - a record that is destined to cement the boys' status as true pop icons. “It's such an honour for us to be back on the Royal Variety Performance this year. It's sure to be an incredibly special night and we're really excited!”
It’s time once again to celebrate the unique force of nature that is Dame Shirley Bassey. One of Britain’s greatest ever entertainers, Dame Shirley has enjoyed her love affair with the nation for more than 60 years. She has sung for presidents, queens and secret agents and packed out concert halls all over the world. From the fields of Glastonbury to the Hollywood glam of the Oscars, please welcome Dame Shirley who will be performing at the Royal Variety Performance for the ninth time. Every step of the way, she has radiated magnetic elegance and now the moment has come to bedazzle yet again. “My very first appearance 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.”