Entertainment & Arts

Margaret Thatcher death song goes ahead in Billy Elliott musical

Margaret Thatcher gives a speech at her party conference in Brighton
Image caption Margaret Thatcher is featured in a number of stage productions in the West End including Billy Elliot The Musical

Billy Elliot The Musical went ahead in London's West End on Monday with a song referring to celebrating the death of Baroness Thatcher.

The song, Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher, kicks off the second act of the musical which is set during the 1984-85 miners' strike.

It was included in the performance as normal after the audience voted "overwhelmingly" to keep it in.

Lady Thatcher died after suffering a stroke aged 87.

Director Stephen Daldry said after "much discussion" about the performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre, a decision was taken to give the audience the opportunity to decide whether the song should be performed.

"After an explanation of the song's content and historical context from the stage, the audience voted overwhelmingly for its inclusion in the second act," he said.

The 1984-85 miners' strike affecting the British coal industry was the background for the 2000 film upon which the award-winning musical is based.

The bitter year-long stand-off between Margaret Thatcher, Arthur Scargill and the National Union of Mineworkers has come to be seen as one of the defining events of the era.

The song, which was composed by Sir Elton John with lyrics by Lee Hall, is performed by miners during a party sequence and includes the lyric: "We all celebrate today 'cause it's one day closer to your death."

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