UK – London – Palladium

Dates: 26 December 1910 – present  

Official website: http://www.reallyuseful.com/theatres/london-palladium/

Venue capacity: 2300 (Stalls, 1000; Royal Circle, 600). London’s 5th largest.  

One of the most famous variety venues in the world, the Palladium has been open and showcasing the finest acts and shows for over 100 years. 

 

People

  • Bill Platt – Chief Electrician (started at the theatre 1941, made Chief LX in 1972, retired 1 September 1990, after 46 years at the Palladium) Born 5 October 1926, died suddenly on Saturday January 30 1993 at 11pm. (Obituary in The Stage, 1 April 1993)
  • Linford Hudson – Followspot Operator (1960s-2010s)
  • Julian Williams – Deputy LX (late 1960s – 1970s)
  • Simon Wood – Sound Engineer (Decembe 1969 -1976)

History and selected productions

  • Hello Dolly (July 2024 for 10 weeks) starring Imelda Staunton
  • The Addams Family in concert (12 – 13 February 2024) starring Ramin Karimloo, Michelle Visage, Lesley Joseph
  • Peter Pan (2023-24)
  • Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (24 June 2022 – 17 September 2022) limited season, following UK tour
  • Ricky Gervais – SuperNature (7 – 24 October 2020)
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2 July 2020 – 6 September 2020)
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears (7 December 2019 – 12 January 2020)
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat (26 June – 8 September 2019)
  • Snow White (8 December 2018 – 13 January 2019)
  • The King and I (June 2018 – 29 September 2018) Transfer from Broadway, starring Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe
  • Dick Whittington (December 2017 – January 2018)
  • Cinderella (10 December 2016 – January 2017)
  • Eugenius! () Concert performance
  • Cats (revival) (23 October 2015 – 2 January 2016)
  • Sinatra The Man & His Music (10 July 2015 – 10 October 2015)
  • Beyond Bollywood (8 May 2015 – 27 June 2015)
  • Cats (revival) (6 December 2014 –  ?April 2015)
  • I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical (25 March 2014 – 10 May 2014)
  • A Chorus Line (2 February 2013 – 31 August 2013)
  • Scrooge – The Musical (24 October 2012 – 5 January 2013)
  • The Wizard of Oz (7 February 2011 – September 2012)
  • Sister Act the Musical (2 June 2009 – 2011)
  • The Sound of Music (November 2006 – 21 February 2009)
  • Sinatra (February 2006)
  • Scrooge – The Musical (Christmas 2005 – 14 January 2006)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (16 April 2002 – 4 September 2005)
  • The revolving stage was removed during pre-production for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, to make room for the hydraulic arm and lift which carried the car from understage to a centre-stage position (and into the air above)
  • Jasper Carrott – Beat the Carrott (?dates) 2005
  • The King and I (3 May 2000 – 5 January 2002)
  • 2000: The Palladium is acquired by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group
  • Saturday Night Fever (1998-1999)
  • Oliver! (1994 – 1998)
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (June 1991 – 1994)
  • Allo Allo (1988)
  • Babes in the Wood (1987-88) starring Cannon & Ball, Marti Webb, John Inman, Derek Griffiths, Peter Howitt, Cheryl Baker, Barbara Windsor, Rod Hull & Emu, Nicholas Smith, Sue & Peter Barbour, The Santus Troupe, The Peggy O’Farrell Children. Directed by Michael Hurll, Written by Bryan Blackburn. Designed by Hugh Durrant.
  • The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball (26–29 March 1987) benefit in aid of Amnesty International
  • La Cage Aux Folles (May 7 1986 – 31 January 1987) London Premiere, starring George Hearn & Denis Quilley, directed by Arthur Laurents. Closed after 301 performances.
  • Singin’ in the Rain (30 June 1983 to 28 September 1985) starring Tommy Steele
  • The Two Ronnies (18 February – 21 May 1983)
  • Barnum (June 11 1981 – February 5 1983) starring Michael Crawford
  • Dick Whittington and his Cat (22 December 1980 – 21 March 1981) by L.Blair, A.J.Knight
  • The King and I (June 12, 1979 – September 27, 1980) starring Yul Brynner & Virginia McKenna
  • The Two Ronnies (25 May 1978 – 19 August 1978) First time on stage
  • The Liberace Las Vegas Show (17 April – 29 April 1978) featuring The Dancing Waters
  • 11 April 1978: New PA system installed, using the Juliet Boxes either side of the proscenium
  • Ginger Rogers & Donald O’Connor (20 March 1978 – 1 week)
  • Hans Andersen (17 December 1977 – 25 February 1978) starring Tommy Steele, Sally Ann Howes, Anthony Valentine
  • Harry Belafonte (22 – 26 November 1977)
  • Cleo Laine (31 October – 5 November 1977) with John Williams & the John Dankworth Orchestra
  • Freddie Starr (17 – 29 October 1977) featuring Lyn Paul
  • Bing Crosby (26 September – 8 October 1977) featuring Rosemary Clooney, Kathryn Crosby, Joe Bushkin Quartet and Ted Rogers. 
  • Tony Martin & Cyd Charisse (19 September 1977 – 1 week) with the Cyd Charisse Dancers, The Rockin’ Berries & full supporting co. 
  • Roland Petit’s Ballets de Marseille (6-17 September 1977) Coppelia 6-10 Sept; Notre Dame de Paris 12-17 Sept
  • John Curry  – Theatre of Skating II (Previews 2 & 4 July 1977, Opened 5 July 1977, Closed 3 September 1977) Ice show.
  • Neil Diamond (23 June 1977)
  • Jim Bailey (13 June 1977 – 1 week) appearing as Miss Barbra Streisand on Mon, Thurs and Sat; Miss Judy Garland on Tues & Fri; Miss Peggy Lee on Weds. Also hit recording stars The Sandpipers. Special Guest Star Ron Moody. 
  • Chita Rivera plus 3 (30 May 1977 – 2 weeks) featuring Frank Valdor and his Tropicado Showband with his Brazilian entertainers, dancers, singers and percussion.
  • The Four Tops (29 May 1977)
  • Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme (23 May 1977 – 1 week)
  • Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (25 – 30 April 1977) featuring Mike Newman, The Nolan Sisters
  • Ella Fitzgerald (24 April 1977)
  • Jack Jones, Dallas Boys, Lennie Bennett (11 April 1977 – 23 April 1977)
  • Bruce Forsyth (28 March 1977 – 9 April)
  • Peggy Lee (13 March 1977)
  • Cinderella (21 December 1976 – 26 March 1977) starring Richard O’Sullivan, Yootha Joyce & Brian Murphy (as Ugly Sisters Mildred and Georgina), Roger de Courcey & Nookie, Richard Hearne, Robert Young, Fiona Fullerton. 
  • David Essex Rock Revue (6-11 December 1976) featuring Barbara Dickson, Augusto’s Circus, Arlene Phillips Hot Gossip
  • Harry Belafonte (16-20 November 1976)
  • Royal Variety Performance (15 November 1976) Transmitted live.
  • Petula Clark (8-13 November 1976) with Dick Shawn
  • Charles Aznavour (1 – 6 November 1976) with Vikki Carr
  • Max Boyce (31 October 1976)
  • Freddie Starr (25 – 30 October 1976) featuring Guys N’ Dolls and full supporting company
  • Andy Williams (18 October 1976 – ) [from review only, no listings entry – date tbc]
  • Bruce Forsyth (11 – 17 October 1976)
  • Ray Charles and His Orchestra (10 October 1976)
  • Sammy Davis Jr (4 October 1976) featuring the Nicholas Brothers, Billy Eckstine
  • Marvin Gaye (3 October 1976) Recorded for his live album Marvin Gaye at the London Palladium
  • Labour Party Conference (October 1976)
  • The Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Mr Acker Bilk & His Paramount Jazz Band, The Roy Budd Trio (27 September – 2 October 1976)
  • Johnnie Ray, Billy Daniels, Frances Faye, The Ink Spots (2 August – 4 September 1976)
  • The Merry Widow (8-31 July 1976) Australian Ballet, featuring Margot Fonteyn
  • Julie Andrews (9 June 1976 – 19 June 1976) featuring Michael Bentine, Bobby Crush, Daniel Remy. 14 performances season. 
  • Bruce Forsyth (3 May 1976 – 1 week)
  • Sacha Distel, Mike Reid, Lynsey De Paul, Marti Caine (19 – 24 April 1976)
  • Raphael (1 March 1976 – 1 week)
  • Eddie Fisher & Lorna Luft (16 February 1976 – 28 February 1976) featuring Don Maclean, Fiddlygig, Roger de Courcey
  • Shirley MacLaine (2 February 1976 – 2 weeks)
  • Peter Pan (17 December 1975 – February 1976) starring Lulu, Ron Moody, Rachel Gurney, Tessa Wyatt, Tony Sympson, Peter Bland. 
  • Hans Andersen (Previews 12 December, opened 17 December 1974, closed 1 November 1975) starring Tommy Steele. 
  • Grayson’s Scandals (15 October 1974 – 23 November 1974) starring Larry Grayson, Noelle Gordon, George Carl
  • The Ken Dodd Show (23 September 1974 – 12 October 1974)
  • Ethel Merman (9 – 21 September 1974)
  • Vic Damone (26 August – 7 September 1974) 
  • The Debbie Reynolds Show (July 30 1974 – 14 August 1974) from Las Vegas
  • Mama Cass (15 July 1974 – 2 weeks) featuring Paper Lace & big company
  • Dorothy Squires (1 July 1974 – 2 weeks) featuring Russ Conway & big company
  • Howard Keel (17 June 1974 – 29 June 1974) featuring Stephane Grappelli and Moira Anderson
  • The Spinners (2 June 1974)
  • Frankie Vaughan (27 May 1974 – 15 June 1974) featuring The Grumbleweeds [extended run, was originally due to be Vic Damone]
  • Frankie Vaughan (13 May 1974 for 2 weeks) featuring Rod Hull and Emu, Second Generation, Rockin’ Berries. 
  • The Cliff Richard Show (3 April 1974 – 11 May 1974) featuring Freddie Davies, Trio Athensee, Little & Large and full company 
  • Jack and the Beanstalk (18 December 1973 – 2 April 1974) starring Frankie Howerd, Dora Bryan, Alfie Bass, Mark Wynter, with Elizabeth Larner
  • Tom Jones (3 December 1973 for 1 week)
  • Englebert Humperdinck (27 November 1973 for 5 nights)
  • Jack Jones (12 November 1973 for 2 weeks) featuring Young Generation and Ted Rogers
  • Gilbert O’Sullivan (4 November 1973 – 1 week) featuring Young Generation
  • The Cilla Black Show (13 September 1973 – 3 November 1973) featuring Johnny Hackette, Philippe Genty, Roger Whittaker.
  • Nancy Wilson (22 July 1973)
  • Bruce Forsyth (24 May 1973 – 8 September 1973) Summer Spectacular with Kenneth McKellar and the Second Generation
  • The Tommy Steele Show (11 April 1973 – 19 May 1973) with June Bronhill
  • 1972: Bill Platt (started as an electrician / Light Console operator in 1941) becomes Chief Electrician
  • Babes in the Wood (19 December 1972 – 7 April 1973) starring Edward Woodward, Derek Nimmo, Adrienne Posta, Rod Hull & Emu
  • Des O’Connor (20 November 1972 – 9 December 1972) featuring Jack Parnell and his orchestra
  • Englebert Humperdinck (6 November – 18 November 1972)
  • Royal Variety Performance (30 October 1972) featuring Liberace
  • Jack Jones (9 October 1972 – 4 November 1972) featuring Dickie Henderson, Bobbie Crush
  • The Everly Brothers, The Searchers, Dave Loggins (24 September 1972)
  • Tom Jones (18 September 1972 – 7 October 1972) 
  • The Comedians (12 April 1972 – 16 September 1972) starring Ken Goodwin, Charlie Williams, Joe White, Bernard Manning, Mike Reid, Dave Butler. Transferred the Palace, Manchester from 18 September for a week
  • Cinderella (21 December 1971 – 8 April 1972) starring Ronnie Corbett, Clodagh Rogers, Terry Scott, David Kossoff, Julian Orchard, Malcolm Roberts
  • Des O’Connor (16 November 1971 – 13 December 1971) with Jack Parnell and his TV orchestra, Henry Youngman
  • Royal Variety Performance (15 November 1971) 
  • Val Doonican (1 November 1971 – 13 November 1971) with Roy Hudd, Anni Anderson, Norman Vaughan
  • The Cliff Richard Show (11 October 1971 – 30 October 1971) with Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and John Farrar. Special Guest Star Dora Bryan. 
  • To See Such Fun (Previews 24 April, Opened 26 April 1971 – 9 October 1971) starring Tommy Cooper, Clive Dunn, Anita Harris, Russ Conway (“It’s a £75,000 show and looks it” Sunday Mirror)
  • Aladdin (22 December 1970 – 17 April 1971) starring Cilla Black, Leslie Crowther, Alfred Marks, Terry Scott, TV’s Basil Brush
  • Dorothy Squires (6 December 1970) one-night show organised & paid for by Dorothy Squires.
  • Peter Noone & Herman’s Hermits, Dick Emery, Roger Whittaker & Russ Conway (30 November 1970 – 12 December 1970) compered by Pete Murray
  • Englebert Humperdinck (16 November 1970 – 28 November 1970)
  • Tony Bennett (26 October 1970 – 14 November 1970)
  • Sacha Distel & Great Company (6 October 1970 – 24 October 1970)
  • The Val Doonican Show (4 June 1970 – 3 October 1970) starring Moira Anderson, Norman Vaughan & Great Cast
  • Max Bygraves (21 April 1970 – 30 May 1970) featuring Keith Potger & The New Seekers, Hope & Keen & Big Supporting Company
  • Dick Whittington (23 December 1969 – 18 April 1970) starring Tommy Steele, Mary Hopkin
  • Here & Now! – Des O’Connor (22 May 1969 – 13 December 1969) featuring Los Paraguayos, The Rockin’ Berries. [8-20 September 1969 Des O’Connor was on vacation, so Mike & Bernie Winters appeared during that period]
  • Max Bygraves (5 May 1969 – )  featuring Jackie Trent & Tony Hatch
  • Val Doonican, Sandie Shaw, Ted Rogers & big company (17 April 1969 – )
  • Jack and the Beanstalk (17 December 1968 – ?12 April 1969) starring Jimmy Tarbuck, Ivor Emmanuel, Jean Bayless, Arthur Askey
  • Cliff Richard & Chris Barber’s Jazz Band (19 September 1968 – 7 December 1968) featuring Mike Yarwood, Senor Wences, Jimmy Marshall, Joe Church. The Shadows joined Cliff from October 1968.
  • Golden Boy (Previews 1 June 1968, Opened 4 June 1968, Closed 14 September 1968) starring Sammy Davis Jr. Designs by Tony Walton. Original run to end July extended to September. 
  • Tom Jones, The Shadows, Michael Bentine, Ted Rogers & Great co. (25 April – 25 May 1968)
  • Robinson Crusoe (19 December 1967 – mid April 1968) starring Englebert Humperdinck, Jimmy Logan, Hope & Keen, Arthur Askey (Mr Askey was off after falling through a trap door on 18 December 1967, until Monday 12 February 1968)
  • Ken Dodd – Doddy’s Here Again  (2 June 1967 – 9 December 1967) with the Bluebell Girls
  • Showtime – Tom Jones (8 May 1967 – 27 May 1967)
  • Showtime – The Seekers (17 April 1967)
  • Showtime – Frank Ifield (3 April 1967 – 16 April 1967) featuring Mike & Bernie Winters, The Nitwits, Tanya, Tiller Girls etc.
  • Cinderella (20 December 1966 – 1 April 1967) starring Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Terry Scott, Hugh Lloyd. See British Pathe film clip below.
  • London Laughs (6 May 1966 – 10 December 1966) starring Harry Secombe, Jimmy Tarbuck, Thora Hird, Freddie Frinton, Anita Harris, Russ Conway
  • Babes in the Wood (?Feb 1966 – ?30 April 1966) starring Frank Ifield, Sidney James, Roy Kinnear, Kenneth Connor & Arthur Askey
  • Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (December 1964/January 1965)
  • Stars in Your Eyes (1960?) starring Cliff Richard, Russ Conway, Joan Regan, Edmund Hockridge, David Kossoff
  • 1960 September: The London Palladium is Grade II listed by English Heritage.
  • Aladdin in The Wonderful Lamp (December 1956 – 1957) starring Norman Wisdom, Sonnie Hale, Valentine Dyall, Ken Wilson, Stephanie Voss, David Davenport and Hope Jackman. 
  • Ted Heath (Decca album of his show issued 1955) ?dates
  • Sunday Night at the London Palladium (1955 – ?1968) ran for 13 years, filming 39 shows each year
    The theatre is re-equipped with new stage lighting systems to satisfy the requirements of 1950s TV technology. 

    • January 1964: featuring The Beatles, Bruce Forsyth, Alma Cogan, Dave Allen
    • October 1963:  featuring The Beatles.
  • Red Skelton (2 July 1951 – 4 weeks)
  • Danny Kaye (May 7 1951? – ) 8 weeks
  • Judy Garland, Max Bygraves (9 April 1951 – 4 weeks)
  • Jean Sablon (March 15 – ?28 March 1948)
  • Danny Kaye (1 March – ?13 March 1948)
  • Carmen Miranda: The Brazilian Bombshell (1948)  (January and May 1948? Still running in May 1948)
  • Gangway (1941) Strand’s prototype Light Console was installed at the Palladium for this show. 
  • Peter Pan (1930 – 1938) hugely popular pantomime which ran every Christmas during this period. 
  • 1928: Venue bought by The General Theatre Corporation, turning it into a cinema. The project failed, lasting 3 months. 
  • 1912: Royal Variety Show performances begin. Around half have been at the Palladium. 
  • 1910: December 26th – The London Palladium opens
  • 1884: The venue becomes the National Skating Palace, and features a rink of real ice.
    However, this venture failed, leading to the interior being redesigned by Frank Matcham.
  • 1871: The theatre was rebuilt by Frederick Hengler, and renamed the ‘Grand Cirque’; a circus venue that included an aquatic display in a flooded ring. It was also known as Hengler’s Circus. 

Stage Technology

Communications

When the Palladium opened, it had it’s own telephone system, between the boxes. 

Drum Revolve

?Added in 1936

From The Stage Guide, 1945:
‘Revolving stage’
is mentioned – was this the same three-ring drum revolve mentioned in the 1971 guide? 

From Who’s Who In theatre, 1961 (via Arthur Lloyd website)
‘Revolving stage 32 feet in diameter. Centre table rises 5 feet and lowers 6 foot 6 inches’. [32 feet is 9.75m]

From The Stage Guide, 1971:
This mechanism consisted of three separate revolving drums.
Inner ring: A lift 3.66m in diameter. 

Middle ring: 5.49m in diameter
Outer ring: 9.75m in diameter. 

The outer ring was able to revolve independently of the narrower centre rings, and the middle section could be elevated above stage level.
It was heavily used in the 1991 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The famous drum-revolve mechanism was finally removed in January 2002, immediately after The King and I closed, to make way for the hydraulic mechanism for the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car.

Stars at the Palladium

More coming soon

Sir Bruce Forsyth (1928 – 2017), who presented ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’ on TV between 1958 and 2000 had requested to have his ashes scattered under the stage at the Palladium. A plaque at sub-stage level commemorates him. 

Plaque backstage at the Palladium

Cinderella at the London Palladium as seen in 1966 (British Pathe)

Cinderella at the London Palladium as seen in 1926 (British Pathe)

Royal Variety Performance in 1969 (British Pathe)

Equipment

1942
Light Console at the stage left / auditorium right end of the circle.

1971 (from The Stage Guide)
Electrics: Strand CAE board in rear of Royal Circle. Dimmers – 240 (10kW to 2.5kW); 2 presets; groups – 40 memory pistons. Circuits – FOH 74; Flies 88; Stage dips 36; Ladder booms 52. Socket type – 15A BESA, 5kW and 10kW. Total capacity available – 2700A on 3 phases (3 services). Special effects supply – 2 x 100A on 1 phase. Follow spots – 6 Stelmar in rear of Upper Circle. 
Sound: Console in rear of Royal Circle has a 20 channel mixer. 10 amplifiers x 35W. 2 tape decks. 1 turntable. Mic sockets – 60. Loudspeakers – 40 via jack field. 

1972 (from British Theatre Guide)
Switchboard: C.A.E. Special, rear of circle; 240 ways; FOH Spots 26 Autos, other variable. 4 Stelmar. 4 Battens, 3 X-Ray; Dips 20; 30 spots of various types. 
Sound Equip: 2 Tape rear of Circle. 20-way Sound Desk; Speakers variable in Auditorium. 

1986 (from British Theatre guide)
Switchboard: MMS rear of Circle, 288 ways; FOH Spots 20 Silhouette, 15 with colour change plus additional 22 Sils. FOH 2 Niethammer 1200 HMI, 4 Battens, 3 Xray dips 20; 30 spots of various types, and 35mm projection. 
Sound Equip: New sound installation in 1978. 

Links to information about equipment at London Palladium over the years

  • Light Console (Strand)
  • MMS (Strand)
  • Silhouette (CCT Lighting)
  • C-AE - System C-AE (Strand)
  • Imagine (Arri)
  • Lancelot (Robert Juliat)
  • Documents


    London Palladium - Arthur Lloyd 
    [External Website]
    From Arthur Lloyd website
    Hilary Gould at the Light Console, London Palladium (from TABS March 1964)
    Hilary Gould at the Light Console, London Palladium (from TABS March 1964) (1942)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [240kb  JPEG]

    Julie Andrews on stage at the Palladium (November 1948)
    [External Website]
    From Getty Images
    Strand Electric Palladium Lighting Layout
    Strand Electric Palladium Lighting Layout (1950)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [3.87Mb  JPEG]
    From David Bertenshaw Collection
    System C/AE Control at the London Palladium
    System C/AE Control at the London Palladium (1966)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [412kb  JPEG]
    Bill Platt at the System C/AE at London Palladium
    Bill Platt at the System C/AE at London Palladium (1970)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [63kb  JPEG]

    LSI: Oliver (January 1995)
    [6.71Mb PDF]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    LSI: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (May 2002)
    [3.57Mb PDF]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    LSI - The Wizard of Oz (April 2011)
    [4.4Mb PDF]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    LSI - Trials and Tribulations (September 2020)
    [External Website]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    Mentions of London Palladium in indexed journals

     

     

    Location


    View in Google Maps