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Duration: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Drama charting the rise to fame of singer Dame Shirley Bassey. Born in Cardiff's Tiger Bay to a white mother and Nigerian father, Shirley is the youngest of eight children in a family living well below the poverty line. By the time she is a toddler the family have moved to the all white area of Splott. Shirley takes no prisoners when faced with racist taunts and the stares of local kids. By the time she is 12 Shirley has discovered she has an extraordinary voice and can earn money singing in pubs around the docks. By the age of 15 she is already singing and dancing in 'coloured review shows' popular in the 1950s. But it is a chance meeting with struggling agent Mike Sullivan that changes Shirley's life forever. He promises to make her a star, but has no idea of the personal sacrifice that will mean for the teenaged Shirley.

Sullivan controls every aspect of Shirley's career, guiding her to success. When she meets and falls in love with young film producer Kenneth Hume, the relationship between Shirley and her mentor is tested to the limit. Oblivious to rumours about Hume's sexuality, the two marry and the power struggle between the two men for control over Shirley's life threatens to destroy her.

Last on

Thu 29 Sep 2011 21:00 BBC Two

Credits

Shirley Bassey
Ruth Negga
Mike Sullivan
Charlie Creed-Miles
Eliza Bassey
Lesley Sharp
Kenneth Hume
Henry Lloyd-Hughes
Iris Bassey
Larissa Wilson
Henry Bassey
Babou Ceesay
Juhni Sullivan
Jeany Spark
Jack Hylton
Matthew Marsh
Mrs Morrison
Di Botcher
Compere
Jonathan Rhodes
Writer
Shelagh Stephenson
Director
Colin Teague
Executive Producer
Eleanor Moran
Executive Producer
Maxine Watson

Broadcasts

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