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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.

Release date:

1 hour, 10 minutes

Last on

Sat 16 Apr 2016 22:00
BBC Two except Northern Ireland


Role Contributor
DirectorColin Teague
Shirley BasseyRuth Negga
Mike SullivanCharlie Creed-Miles
Eliza BasseyLesley Sharp
Kenneth HumeHenry Lloyd-Hughes
Iris BasseyLarissa Wilson
Henry BasseyBabou Ceesay
Henry Bassey JnrIsaiah Cai Forrest
NeighbourVictoria Pugh
PolicemanJack Llewellyn
BoboDanny Sapani
Shirley (Aged 9)Amira Arish
AgentColin Mace
Juhni SullivanJeany Spark
Jack HyltonMatthew Marsh
Mrs MorrisonDi Botcher
Chauffeur JohnGeraint Todd
Sharon BasseyDivine Faith Utonga
CompereJonathan Rhodes
WriterShelagh Stephenson
ProducerKatherine Lannon
Executive ProducerEleanor Moran
Executive ProducerMaxine Watson
Executive ProducerCharles Thompson