We celebrated our 75th anniversary in style at the Leicester Square Theatre.
In this BBC TV film, Michael Grade traces the raucous history of the music hall in a revelatory journey that takes him from venues such as Wilton's Music Hall in London to Glasgow's once-famous Britannia. Talking to enthusiasts and performers, Lord Grade discovers the origins of this uniquely British form of entertainment and revisits some of the great acts and impresarios, from Charles Morton and George Leybourne to Bessie Bellwood and Marie Lloyd.
Featuring Jo Brand and Alexei Sayle, with performances from Barry Cryer and many more, Grade hears about dudes, swells, mashers and serio-comics and hears how, in many a house, no turn was left unstoned.
'EMG Colonel' has created a number of Youtube clips featuring tracks from a recording of a Players' show made in 1939.
May 1939 - Chairman : Leonard Sachs
1)"Oh The Fairies" - THE AUDIENCE
2) Sons of the Sea - : Bernard Miles
3) A Bird in a Gilded Cage - Megs Jenkins
4 ) I was one od 'Em - Archie Barradine
The Good Old Days was a BBC television programme inspired by the success of the "Ridgeway's Late Joys" at the Players' Theatre Club. The show which ran from 1953 to 1983. It was performed at the Leeds City Varieties and recreated an authentic atmosphere of the music hall with songs and sketches performed by present-day performers in the style of the original artistes. The audience dressed in period costume and joined in the singing, especially "Down at the Old Bull and Bush" which closed the show. The show was compered by Leonard Sachs. In the course of its run it featured about 2,000 performers.
Below is a small selection of Youtube clips of this long-running BBC One TV show.
The Players' Theatre - Covent Garden (1938)
This very brief film clip of Hattie Jacques was shot in 1955 and is part of 'Tonight in Britain', a short documentary made to be shown in-flight to tourists travelling from the USA to the UK. It was directed by Gerry Bryant who was a member of the Players' Theatre from its earliest days in Albemarle Street to the club's closing in 2002.
The Chairman was Don Gemmell and the Pianist, Betty Lawrence. Also seen in the audience are Robin Hunter & Bill Shine.