Tonight at the London Palladium

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Tonight at the London Palladium
Also known as 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium (1955–65, 1973–74)
The London Palladium Show (1966–69)
Sunday Night at the Palladium (2014–15)
Genre Variety show
Created by Val Parnell
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 411 (1955–74)[1]
19 (2014—)
Production
Location(s) London Palladium
Running time 55–60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) ATV (1955–74)
LWT (2000)
ITV Studios (2014—)
Distributor ITV Studios
Release
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3, 16:9
Original release 25 September 1955 (1955-09-25) – present
Chronology
Related shows Live from...

Tonight at the London Palladium is a British television variety show that is hosted from the London Palladium theatre in London's West End. Originally produced by ATV for the ITV network from 1955 to 1969, it went by its original name Sunday Night at the London Palladium from 25 September 1955 to 1965 until the name was changed to The London Palladium Show from 1966 to 2 February 1969.

It underwent three revivals, first from 28 October 1973 to 28 October 1974 where it retained its Sunday Night at the London Palladium title, second in 2000 under the title Tonight at the London Palladium, and third from 2014 until 2015 under the title Sunday Night at the Palladium, dropping London.

From 2016, the show is called Tonight at the London Palladium and is presented by Bradley Walsh.

History[edit]

The regular hosts of the show were Tommy Trinder (1955–58), Bruce Forsyth (1958–60 and 1961–64), Don Arrol (1960–61), Norman Vaughan (1962–65, 1974), Jimmy Tarbuck (1965–67), Jim Dale (1973–74) and Ted Rogers (1974). Other guest comperes were: Hughie Green, Alfred Marks, Robert Morley, Arthur Haynes, Dickie Henderson, Dave Allen, Des O'Connor, Bob Monkhouse and Roger Moore.

The first ever show was compered by Tommy Trinder with Gracie Fields and Guy Mitchell 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 was the host, in an edition featuring Cliff Richard and the Shadows, watched by more than 20 million people.

However, according to the book Television's Greatest Hits written and researched by Paul Gambaccini 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, Hope and Keen and Frank Ifield with the Pamela Devis Dancers.

After the Tiller Girls and the lesser acts in the first part was a game show imported from America, Beat the Clock, the format of which was rather like Bruce Forsyth's later hit in The Generation Game. 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 where the big stars shone. It featured many top people over the years including Bill Haley rocking around the clock, Chubby Checker who introduced the "new dance" the Twist to the country with a whole stage full of people dancing the Twist and Sammy Davis, Jr. met the Tiller Girls in 1961. Other star guests included: Judy Garland, Bob Hope, Johnnie Ray, Liberace, Petula Clark, the Seekers, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Italian mouse puppet Topo Gigio came back a number of times.

The Beatles' publicist Tony Barrow said that after the band's first appearance on the show on 13 October 1963, Beatlemania took off in the UK.

The show always ended using the huge revolving stage where the Tiller Girls, the compere and that night's 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, who refused to allow its performers to appear that week. Exempt from this, Bruce Forsyth and comedian Norman Wisdom performed the entire show themselves, improvising wildly to the delight of the audience.

In 1967, the head of ATV Lew Grade axed the show. The reasons for this remain obscure, but he was first to admit that axing this series and the soap opera Emergency Ward 10 at the same time, were the two biggest mistakes he made.[citation needed]

Revivals[edit]

First revival (1973–74)[edit]

This revival was hosted by Jim Dale, with each episode being broadcast live. Two episodes were cancelled mid-broadcast due, apparently to a reported bomb scare.

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 28 October 1973 7 April 1974 15

Second revival (2010)[edit]

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.[2]

Third revival (2014–15)[edit]

Sunday Night at the Palladium title card (2014)

A further revival in 2014, called Sunday Night at the Palladium began airing on ITV from 14 September 2014. The series aired for six episodes. On 19 October 2014, it was announced that the show had been recommissioned for a second revived series. This series began airing on 3 May 2015 for five episodes.[3]

Presenters of the revived series have included Bradley Walsh, Jimmy Carr and Alexander Armstrong.

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 14 September 2014 19 October 2014 6
2 3 May 2015 7 June 2015 5
Episodes

2014

Episode Original air date Guest presenter Guest performers
1 14 September 2014 Stephen Mulhern[4] Bryan Adams, Little Mix, Alfie Boe, Alan Davies, Les Beaux Freres and David and Dania
2 21 September 2014 Jason Manford Maroon 5, Earth, Wind and Fire, Ella Henderson, Madalena Alberto and Les 7 Doigts de la Main
3 28 September 2014 Jack Whitehall Lionel Richie, The Script and Gemma Arterton
4 5 October 2014 Jimmy Carr Nicole Scherzinger, Kaiser Chiefs, Tommy Tiernan, Paul Heaton, Jacqui Abbott, Enra and the cast of Cats
5 12 October 2014 Bradley Walsh Art Garfunkel, The Pierces, Sol3 Mio, Sarah Millican, Jimeoin, Jimmy Tarbuck, Diversity, Catwall Acrobats and the cast of Memphis, starring Beverley Knight, Killian Donnelly
6 19 October 2014 Rob Brydon Neil Diamond, Paloma Faith, Texas, Milton Jones, Daniel Sloss, Kenichi Ebina, Dany Daniel and Edina and the cast of Jersey Boys

2015

Episode Original air date Guest presenter Guest performers
1 3 May 2015[5][6] Bradley Walsh Madness, Olly Murs, Olate Dogs, Jo Brand, Men in Coats, Alfie Boe and the cast of Billy Elliot[7]
2 10 May 2015 Alexander Armstrong Josh Groban, Meghan Trainor, Lee Nelson, André Rieu, Rod Woodward and the cast of The Commitments
3 17 May 2015 Jimmy Carr Markus Feehily, Rebecca Ferguson, Deacon Blue, Vincent Simone, Flavia Cacace, Rob Beckett, Hans Klok and the cast of The Carole King Musical
4 24 May 2015 Jason Manford Will Young, David Gray, LeAnn Rimes, Joe Lycett, The Chinese Disabled People's Performing Arts Troupe, Norman Barrett, Lang Lang, 2 Cellos and the casts of Bugsy Malone and The Producers
5 7 June 2015 Jack Whitehall Simply Red, Jess Glynne, EL Squad, Jack Dagger, The Unkillable Jenny, Leona Lewis, Sara Pascoe and Jack Carroll

Tonight at the London Palladium[edit]

The format of Sunday Night at the London Palladium was revived in 2000 as Tonight at the London Palladium and was fronted by Bruce Forsyth. The series was not a ratings success.[8]

A revived series of Tonight at the London Palladium began airing on 13 April 2016. Episodes air on Wednesday evenings and are presented by Bradley Walsh.[9] This series also features comedian Joe Pasquale who chooses a member of the audience to play the game "Who's in the Box?", in which the chosen audience member has to guess who is the celebrity guest in the Royal Box. If they are correct, they spend the rest of the show in the Royal Box. Peter Andre also appears in all episodes this series. This series also features two old lady puppet characters called Alice and Audrey who work at the venue's kiosk, which were designed and built by Puppets Magic Studio for ITV.[10] Following the ratings success of the series, Tonight at the London Palladium will return in 2017.

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 21 April 2000 18 June 2000 6
2 13 April 2016 8 June 2016 8
3 2017 2017
Episodes

2016

Episode Original air date Guest performers "Who's in the Box?" guest
1 13 April 2016 Andrea Bocelli, Birdy, Tommy Tiernan, Globe of Death and the cast of Motown: The Musical Peter Andre
2 20 April 2016 Cyndi Lauper, Ronan Keating, Diversity, Diablo Troupe, the Royal British Legion Band & Corps Of Drums Romford and the cast of Kinky Boots Carol Vorderman
3 27 April 2016 The Corrs, Meghan Trainor, Jarlath Regan, Go West, Tony Hadley, Uzeyer Novruzov and the cast of Aladdin Antony Cotton
4 4 May 2016 Billy Ocean, Ben Hanlin, Rachel Platten, Julian Ovenden, Gamarjobat and Paul Sinha Christopher Biggins
5 11 May 2016 Jack Savoretti, The Vamps, Kevin Tellez, Gabrielly Palacio, Al Murray, Beverley Knight and the cast of The Lion King musical and STOMP Martin Kemp
6 18 May 2016 ABC, Nathan Sykes, Gregory Porter, Milos, Sons Company Teeterbpard and aeralists, Steve Williams and the cast of Guys and Dolls Joey Essex
7 1 June 2016 Craig David, Caro Emerald, Attraction, Nadiya Hussain, Alistair McGowan, Seann Walsh, Denis Lock and the casts of The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and Matilda the Musical Ruth Langsford
8 8 June 2016 Pixie Lott, Simply Red, Dane Baptiste, Attraction, Caravan Palace, Naked Lunch and the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Mark Labbett

Archive status[edit]

Very few episodes survive of the earliest versions of this series, including the 1973–74 revival.[11][12] (For a general overview of the potential reasons for this, see Wiping.)

References[edit]