Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Dame Shirley Bassey's BBC film

Dame Shirley Bassey started off singing in working men's clubs

Dame Shirley Bassey's dramatic life is being made into a film for television.

The Cardiff-born singer, who grew up in poverty in the city's docklands, is the daughter of a British mother and Nigerian father and left school at 15 to work in a local factory.

She sang in working men's clubs before she was discovered by band leader Jack Hylton.

Her career almost ended before it began after she became pregnant at 17, but she survived the scandal of being a young unmarried mother to become a massive star.

Some of her biggest hits are the themes to James Bond films including Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever.

The film is the latest in a string of BBC biopics of entertainment legends. Carry On stars Hattie Jacques and Frankie Howerd have both been the subject of films and the award-winning Eric And Ernie looked at the early days of comic duo Morecambe and Wise.

The film about Dame Shirley, which is billed as showing her "difficult rise from poverty to international stardom", is part of a BBC Two season about mixed-race life in Britain.

Other programmes include a three-part series, called Mixed Britannia, presented by journalist George Alagiah, and a documentary about twins born with different skin colours.

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