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Covid: Capt Sir Tom Moore and audience to join Royal Variety virtually

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image captionCapt Sir Tom Moore will join Michael Ball remotely to perform You'll Never Walk Alone

A "virtual audience" and Capt Sir Tom Moore will join the Royal Variety Performance from home due to Covid-19 restrictions, organisers have said.

The show, which returns to Blackpool after 11 years away, will be hosted by Jason Manford and see Capt Sir Tom sing with Michael Ball via a video-link.

It will also feature sets from Gary Barlow, Melanie C, Celeste and Steps.

Manford said the show's aim was to "take people's minds off things" and give the public "a laugh".

image captionBrit Award winner Celeste will be one of those performing to the "virtual audience" in Blackpool

The performance will see screens fitted in Blackpool Opera House to create an audience and the Prince of Wales will deliver a recorded message of thanks instead of attending.

Alongside the singers and Capt Sir Tom, the show will also feature performances by Sheridan Smith and Samantha Barks from the musicals Cilla and Frozen and a set from Britain's Got Talent 2020 winner Jon Courtenay.

Manford said after appearing at the performance three times before, it was "an honour and a privilege to be hosting the show".

"It's been a hugely difficult year for everybody, so I hope that for a couple of hours on a cold winter's night in Blackpool, we can take people's minds off things and do what us Brits do best; have a laugh."

Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool

  • The show, which began in London in 1912, made its first foray to Blackpool in 1955, a night which saw Morecambe and Wise, Vera Day and George Formby take to the stage
  • It returned to the town's Opera House venue in 2009, when host Peter Kay oversaw performances from Michael Buble, Lady Gaga, Bette Midler and Whoopi Goldberg
  • Its third visit to the North West resort will be the ninth time the performance has been held outside of London - it last left the capital for a show, again hosted by Peter Kay, at Salford's Lowry Theatre in 2011, which saw Penn & Teller, Omid Djalili, Barry Manilow, Tony Bennett and Nicole Sherzinger take to the stage

Source: The Royal Variety archive

The annual event, which is the world's longest running entertainment show, is staged in aid of the Royal Variety Charity.

Charity chairman Giles Cooper said his organisation had "worked relentlessly" to enable the performance to go ahead and raise "much needed funds".

"In 2020, our grants scheme has continued to operate throughout the United Kingdom, providing financial help for those from the world of entertainment, in all its forms," he added.

"The Royal Variety Charity is proud to have been of assistance to those working in the industry during this particularly difficult year."

The show will be recorded in Blackpool on 29 November and will be screened on ITV in December.

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Related Topics

  • Blackpool

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