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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 »


Colin Teague
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruth Negga ... Shirley Bassey
Lesley Sharp ... Eliza Bassey
Babou Ceesay ... Henry Bassey
Victoria Pugh ... Neighbour
Issiah Cai Forest Issiah Cai Forest ... Henry Bassey Jnr
Larissa Wilson ... Iris Bassey
Jack Llewellyn Jack Llewellyn ... Policeman
Amira Arish Amira Arish ... Shirley Bassey (Aged 9)
Danny Sapani ... Bobo
Charlie Creed-Miles ... Mike Sullivan
Colin Mace ... Agent
Jeany Spark ... Juhni Sullivan
Matthew Marsh ... Jack Hylton
Di Botcher ... Mrs. Morrison
Henry Lloyd-Hughes ... Kenneth Hume


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

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Biography | Drama

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Did You Know?


Ruth Negga is actually considered to be Irish-Ethiopian/Ethiopian-Irish, making her Welsh accent a good attempt, as she isn't from Wales. The real Shirley Bassey was actually born in Wales, to an English mother, and a Nigerian father, which means she could choose to refer to herself as Welsh-Nigerian or Nigerian-Welsh, although people widely think of her as just being Welsh, regardless of her "mixed" heritage. See more »


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


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

User Reviews

Take the Dog for a Walk
4 October 2011 | by larkinozSee all my reviews

This is a pathetic review of an outstanding and talented personality who became part of British musical history. As a long time fan of Shirley Bassey and who later had the chance to meet her albeit briefly I was utterly disappointed with this effort. It's a boring, straight laced account of biographic detail that a school boy could have written. It's poorly acted and scripted. There's no humour even though Shirley was known for it. Worst of all, in a tale of some of the best songs ever written and sung by one of the best ever singers, there was hardly any music at all. They could at least have put in a couple of complete songs but no we just get a few lines here and here. On top of that the actress does not portray Shirley Bassey's mannerisms- there's no Bassey passion, no shake of the head, no twist of the mouth, no movement of the body. My advice is watch something else or take the dog for a walk.

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Release Date:

29 September 2011 (UK) See more »

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Prospect Cymru See more »
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