In 1938 mixed race baby Shirley Bassey, her mother and eight siblings are living in a poor area of Cardiff after her father is imprisoned for sexual offences. The teen-aged Shirley will ... See full summary »

Director:

Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.4/10 X  

What would you say to your partner if only you dared and there were no repercussions?

Director: Col Spector
Stars: Ruth Negga, Al Weaver
Reg (TV Movie 2016)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of Reg Keys who lost his son in the Iraq War and then went on to contest Tony Blair's seat at Sedgefield in the 2005 General Election.

Director: David Blair
Stars: John Ammirati, Charlie Anson, William Atkinson
Iona (2015)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Iona takes her teenage son to the holy island where she was born so they can hide from a violent crime. As her son seeks forgiveness for what he has done Iona comes to terms with her loss of faith.

Director: Scott Graham
Stars: Tom Brooke, Michelle Duncan, Ben Gallagher
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A story about a beautiful street musician suffering from memory loss and a disheartened neuroscientist intent on helping her, bringing together the city of New Orleans and the jazz that made it famous.

Director: Richie Adams
Stars: Joaquim de Almeida, Aunjanue Ellis, Bill Cobbs
Louis Theroux: Savile (TV Movie 2016)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In light of numerous allegations of abuse and sexual violence against the late Jimmy Savile, Louis Theroux re-examines his media relationship with the enigmatic public figure.

Director: Arthur Cary
Stars: Louis Theroux, Jimmy Savile, George Alagiah
The Secret Agent (TV Series 2016)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Verloc, the owner of a seedy shop in Victorian Soho, plays a dangerous game spying on an agitating anarchist group that will prove useful to the foreign power he is secretly working for.

Stars: Toby Jones, Vicky McClure, Charlie Hamblett
The Secret (TV Mini-Series 2016)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The Secret is the story of a real-life double murder. James Nesbitt plays Colin Howell, a respectable dentist and pillar of the community, who became a killer in partnership with a Sunday ... See full summary »

Stars: James Nesbitt, Genevieve O'Reilly, Patrick O'Kane
Rillington Place (TV Mini-Series 2016)
Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A three-part drama about serial killer John Christie and the murders at 10 Rillington Place in the 1940s and early 1950s.

Stars: Tim Roth, Nico Mirallegro, Samantha Morton
One Foot in the Grave (1990–2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Victor Meldrew is a retiree who attracts bad luck. If he's not driving his long suffering wife Margeret crazy with his constant moaning, he's fighting with neighbors.

Stars: Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie, Doreen Mantle
Stag (TV Mini-Series 2016)
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A group of obnoxious friends struggle to survive the Stag Weekend from hell, as a deer-stalking expedition in the Scottish Highlands quickly turns messier than expected.

Stars: Stephen Campbell Moore, JJ Feild, Jim Howick
New Blood (TV Series 2016)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The series follows junior investigators Stefan and Rash, who are brought together by a link between two seemingly unrelated cases.

Stars: Mark Addy, Ariyon Bakare, Anna Chancellor
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Ciarán O'Connor
Stars: Ruth Negga, Karl Shiels, Fergus Cardiff
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Eliza Bassey
...
Henry Bassey
Victoria Pugh ...
Neighbour
Issiah Cai Forest ...
Henry Bassey Jnr
...
Iris Bassey
Jack Llewellyn ...
Policeman
Amira Arish ...
...
Bobo
...
Mike Sullivan
...
Agent
...
Juhni Sullivan
...
...
Mrs. Morrison
...
Kenneth Hume
Edit

Storyline

In 1938 mixed race baby Shirley Bassey, her mother and eight siblings are living in a poor area of Cardiff after her father is imprisoned for sexual offences. The teen-aged Shirley will help the family finances bringing her big, impassioned singing voice to local clubs and, in 1954, aged seventeen, she moves to London, impressing agent Mike Sullivan. To further her career however she must give up her illegitimate daughter Sharon to be raised as her own child by Shirley's sister Iris. After winning over the famously hostile Glasgow Empire audience Shirley has arrived. Impresario Jack Hylton stars her in the West End and she has hit records. She rides out gutter press interest in Sharon and, after a row with Mike, takes fledgling film producer Kenneth Hume as her agent and husband. Not only does he fail to further her career but he turns out to be a homosexual. Yet Shirley is a born survivor, weathering her divorce from Ken in 1965 and, decades later, still every inch a star, belting ... Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 September 2011 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Lesley sharp had to wear brown contact lenses for her role. See more »

Connections

Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 26 September 2011 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

As Long As He Needs me
Written by Lionel Bart
Performed by Ruth Negga (?)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Great cast in a decent BBC drama
6 October 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

My point of interest with seeing Shirley was the subject itself, the great Shirley Bassey. This BBC drama is good, lifted by the cast, but considering how great a singer Bassey is and the cast itself part of me thought it could have been better.

The flaws with Shirley aren't apparent all the time, but when they are there they're quite glaring. Most of the drama is well-paced, compelling and fascinatingly written, not to mention moving. However some moments drag a tad, are a little clichéd in some of the situations and characters(like the scene where Mike Sullivan hears a teenage Bassey for the first time) and suffer from moments of stilted writing.

Shirley however is beautifully photographed and the attention to detail shows a lot of care and love. The soundtrack is wonderful, with the mix of Bassey's best tunes and intimate and expansive incidental music, but part of me wanted more of it. Colin Teague directs thoughtfully.

The cast are the main draw, with Lesley Sharp in fine form as Bassey's mother and Charlie Creed-Miles as Sullivan faring best in support. Ruth Negga however is astonishing, the lip-synching is not quite perfect but better than expected, however not only does Negga do a fine job with Shirley Bassey's on-stage manner and persona, but she really shines in the quieter and more introspective moments too. The sad-eyed desolation when her daughter sings her Happy Birthday is proof of this.

Overall, could've been better, but Negga, soundtrack and support cast lift it. 7/10 Bethany Cox


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?