Tonight at the London Palladium

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Tonight at the London Palladium
Also known asSunday Night at the London Palladium
The London Palladium Show
Sunday Night at the Palladium
Genre Variety show
Created by Val Parnell
Presented byOriginal series:
Tommy Trinder (1955–1958)
Bruce Forsyth (1958–1960, 1961–1964, 1998, 2000)
Don Arrol (1960–1961)
Norman Vaughan (1962–1965, 1974)
Jimmy Tarbuck (1965–1967)
Jim Dale (1973–1974)
Ted Rogers (1974)
Revived series:
Bradley Walsh (2014–2017)
Stephen Mulhern (2014)
Jason Manford (2014–2015)
Jack Whitehall (2014–2015)
Rob Brydon (2014)
Alexander Armstrong (2014–2015)
Jimmy Carr (2014–2015)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes411 (1955–1974) [1]
27 (2014–2017)
Production location London Palladium
Running time55–60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production companies ATV (1955–1974)
LWT (1998, 2000)
ITV Studios (2014–2017)
DistributorITV Studios
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3, 16:9
Original release25 September 1955 (1955-09-25) 
14 June 2017 (2017-06-14)
Related shows Live from...

Tonight at the London Palladium is a British television variety show that is hosted from the London Palladium theatre in London's West End. Originally produced by ATV for the ITV network from 1955 to 1969, it went by its original name Sunday Night at the London Palladium from 25 September 1955 until the name was changed to The London Palladium Show from 1966 to 2 February 1969.


It underwent three revivals, first from 28 October 1973 to 28 October 1974 where it retained its Sunday Night at the London Palladium title, second in 2000 under the title Tonight at the London Palladium, and third from 2014 until 2015 under the title Sunday Night at the Palladium, dropping London. From 2016, the show is called Tonight at the London Palladium and is presented by Bradley Walsh.

A one-off Sunday Night at the London Palladium was screened to mark Bruce Forsyth's 70th birthday in February 1998.


The regular hosts of the show were Tommy Trinder (1955–1958), Bruce Forsyth (1958–1960 and 1961–1964), Don Arrol (1960–1961), Norman Vaughan (1962–1965, 1974), Jimmy Tarbuck (1965–1967), Jim Dale (1973–1974) and Ted Rogers (1974). Other guest comperes were: Hughie Green, Alfred Marks, Robert Morley, Arthur Haynes, Dickie Henderson, Dave Allen, Des O'Connor, Bob Monkhouse and Roger Moore.

The first ever show was compered by Tommy Trinder with Gracie Fields and Guy Mitchell being the night's big guests. The programme was one of ITV's most watched, reaching its biggest audience in January 1960 while Bruce Forsyth was the host, in an edition featuring Cliff Richard and the Shadows, watched by more than 20 million people.

However, according to the book Television's Greatest Hits written and researched by Paul Gambaccini and Rod Taylor the biggest viewing audience was 9.7 million in 1964 (although this would have been homes, rather than viewers, as this was the way British television viewing figures were recorded at the time). This was on Sunday 19 April when Bruce Forsyth introduced the Bachelors, Hope and Keen and Frank Ifield with the Pamela Devis Dancers.

After the Tiller Girls and the lesser acts in the first part was a game show imported from America, Beat the Clock , the format of which was rather like Bruce Forsyth's later hit in The Generation Game . It featured couples having to perform a trick or stunt, like even changing clothes (previously put on, on top of their ordinary clothes) with each other within a set time. If a couple could complete both stunts, the wife must rearrange words stuck to a magnetic board and people had to "arrange them into a well known phrase or saying" in 30 seconds. If she succeeded, the couple won a major prize. Whenever a bell rang, the couple who played at that time would play a jackpot stunt for a cash bonus worth £100 for each week since the last jackpot win.

The second part of the show was where the big stars shone. It featured many top people over the years including Bill Haley rocking around the clock, Chubby Checker who introduced the "new dance" the Twist to the country with a whole stage full of people dancing the Twist and Sammy Davis, Jr. met the Tiller Girls in 1961. Other star guests included: Judy Garland, Bob Hope, Johnnie Ray, Liberace, Petula Clark, the Seekers, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Italian mouse puppet Topo Gigio came back a number of times.

The Beatles' publicist Tony Barrow said that after the band's first appearance on the show on 13 October 1963, Beatlemania took off in the UK.

The show always ended using the huge revolving stage where the Tiller Girls, the compere and that night's guests stood on it as it slowly turned around to the familiar end tune of the show.

A famous episode took place[ when? ] during a strike by the British acting union Equity, who refused to allow its performers to appear that week. Exempt from this, Bruce Forsyth and comedian Norman Wisdom performed the entire show themselves.

In 1967, the head of ATV, Lew Grade, axed the show. The reasons for this remain obscure, but Grade later said that axing the series was a mistake.[ citation needed ]


First revival (1973–1974)

This revival was hosted by Jim Dale and Ted Rogers, with each episode being broadcast live. Two episodes were cancelled mid-broadcast due, apparently to a reported bomb scare. One of these, hosted by Jim Dale, was broadcast for the first time on Talking Pictures UK on Sunday 3 May 2020. At the end a caption stated that this episode was never broadcast and was missing most of the graphics due to a bomb scare with cuts from previous shows being used to fill in the time.

SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodes
128 October 19737 April 197415

Second revival (1998)

A one-off edition of Sunday Night at the London Palladium was broadcast on 15 March 1998, to celebrate Bruce Forsyth's 70th birthday. It included appearances by Diana Ross and Joe Longthorne. [2]

Third revival (2000)

The format of Sunday Night at the London Palladium was revived in 2000 as Tonight at the London Palladium and was fronted by Bruce Forsyth. It was pre-recorded and aired on Friday evenings. The series was not a ratings success. [3]

SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodes
121 April 200018 June 20006

Fourth revival (2010)

On 29 August 2010, Gareth Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium was performed by the staff of the theatre as a one-off commemorative show for the centenary of the Palladium. [4]

Fifth revival (2014–2017)

Sunday Night at the Palladium title card (2014) Sunday Night at the Palladium.jpg
Sunday Night at the Palladium title card (2014)

A further revival in 2014, called Sunday Night at the Palladium began airing on ITV from 14 September 2014. The series aired for six episodes. On 19 October 2014, it was announced that the show had been recommissioned for a second revived series. This series began airing on 3 May 2015 for five episodes. [5] Presenters of the revived series have included Bradley Walsh, Jimmy Carr and Alexander Armstrong.

From the third series onwards, it was renamed as Tonight at the London Palladium. The third series began airing on 13 April 2016. Episodes aired on Wednesday evenings and were presented by Bradley Walsh. [6] Comedian Joe Pasquale featured in the series. Peter Andre also appeared in all episodes during the series. This series featured two old lady puppet characters called Alice and Audrey who worked at the venue's kiosk, which were designed and built by Puppets Magic Studio for ITV. [7] Following the ratings success of the series, Tonight at the London Palladium returned for a fourth series on 19 April 2017: the puppets were in the Royal Box and called Ruby and Pearl.[ citation needed ]


SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodes
114 September 201419 October 20146
23 May 20157 June 20155
313 April 20168 June 20168
419 April 201714 June 20178


EpisodeOriginal air dateGuest presenterGuest performers
114 September 2014 Stephen Mulhern [8] Bryan Adams, Little Mix, Alfie Boe, Alan Davies, Les Beaux Freres and David and Dania
221 September 2014 Jason Manford Maroon 5, Earth, Wind and Fire, Ella Henderson, Madalena Alberto and Les 7 Doigts de la Main
328 September 2014 Jack Whitehall Lionel Richie, The Script, Gemma Arterton and The Umbilical Brothers
45 October 2014 Jimmy Carr Nicole Scherzinger, Kaiser Chiefs, Tommy Tiernan, Paul Heaton, Jacqui Abbott, Enra and the cast of Cats
512 October 2014 Bradley Walsh Art Garfunkel, The Pierces, Sol3 Mio, Sarah Millican, Jimeoin, Jimmy Tarbuck, Diversity, Catwall Acrobats and the cast of Memphis, starring Beverley Knight, Killian Donnelly
619 October 2014 Rob Brydon Neil Diamond, Paloma Faith, Texas, Milton Jones, Daniel Sloss, Kenichi Ebina, Dany Daniel and Edina and the cast of Jersey Boys
EpisodeOriginal air dateGuest presenterGuest performers
13 May 2015 [9] [10] Bradley Walsh Madness, Olly Murs, Olate Dogs, Jo Brand, Men in Coats, Alfie Boe and the cast of Billy Elliot [11]
210 May 2015 Alexander Armstrong Josh Groban, Meghan Trainor, Lee Nelson, André Rieu, Rod Woodward and the cast of The Commitments
317 May 2015 Jimmy Carr Markus Feehily, Rebecca Ferguson, Deacon Blue, Vincent Simone, Flavia Cacace, Rob Beckett, Hans Klok and the cast of The Carole King Musical
424 May 2015 Jason Manford Will Young, David Gray, LeAnn Rimes, Joe Lycett, The Chinese Disabled People's Performing Arts Troupe, Norman Barrett, Lang Lang, 2 Cellos and the casts of Bugsy Malone and The Producers
57 June 2015 Jack Whitehall Simply Red, Jess Glynne, EL Squad, Jack Dagger, The Unkillable Jenny, Leona Lewis, Sara Pascoe and Jack Carroll
EpisodeOriginal air dateGuest performers
113 April 2016 Andrea Bocelli, Birdy, Tommy Tiernan, Globe of Death and the cast of Motown: The Musical
220 April 2016 Cyndi Lauper, Ronan Keating, Diversity, Diablo Troupe, the Royal British Legion Band & Corps Of Drums Romford and the cast of Kinky Boots
327 April 2016 The Corrs, Meghan Trainor, Jarlath Regan, Go West, Tony Hadley, Uzeyer Novruzov and the cast of Aladdin: The Musical
44 May 2016 Billy Ocean, Ben Hanlin, Rachel Platten, Julian Ovenden, Gamarjobat and Paul Sinha
511 May 2016 Jack Savoretti, The Vamps, Kevin Tellez, Gabrielly Palacio, Al Murray, Beverley Knight, the cast of The Lion King and STOMP
618 May 2016ABC, Nathan Sykes, Gregory Porter, Milos, the Sons Company Teeterbpard and aeralists, Steve Williams and the cast of Guys and Dolls
71 June 2016 Craig David, Caro Emerald, Attraction, Nadiya Hussain, Alistair McGowan, Seann Walsh, Denis Lock, the cast of The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and the cast of Matilda the Musical
88 June 2016 Pixie Lott, Simply Red, Dane Baptiste, Attraction, Caravan Palace, Naked Lunch and the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Musical
EpisodeOriginal air dateGuest performers
119 April 2017 Emeli Sandé, Pete Firman, Steps, Ben Forster, the Chinese State Circus and The Techtonics
226 April 2017 James Blunt, Louisa Johnson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Hess, Samurai Hayashi, Notorious and the cast of Half a Sixpence: The Musical
33 May 2017 Rick Astley, Lea Michele, Mark Watson, the Yamato drummers and the cast of 42nd Street
410 May 2017 Bananarama, Barry Manilow, the Chinese State Circus and Pippa Evans
517 May 2017 James Arthur, Prodijig, Tom Allen, TLC, Cor y Cwm, Les Dennis, Samantha Womack and the cast of The Addams Family
624 May 2017 Brian Conley, The Clairvoyants, Joe McElderry, Fever Formation, Elkie Brooks and the cast of Annie: The Musical
77 June 2017 Olly Murs and Louisa Johnson, Paul Zerdin, Imelda May, Blondie and the cast of Bat Out of Hell The Musical
814 June 2017 Clean Bandit, James More, James Acaster, The Noise Next Door, the cast of School of Rock and the cast of Les Misérables

Archive status

Very few episodes survive of the earliest versions of this series, including the 1973–1974 revival. [12] [13] (For a general overview of the potential reasons for this, see Wiping.)

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