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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
Isaiah Cai Forrest Isaiah Cai Forrest ... Henry Bassey Jnr (as Issiah Cai Forest)
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 »


Dedicated to You
Written by Saul Chaplin, Sammy Cahn and Hy Zaret
Performed by Ruth Negga (?)
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User Reviews

The one & only, Dame Shirley Bassey
3 October 2011 | by UNOhwenSee all my reviews

Ruth Negga stars in a tele-film from BBC2, about the life of the one, the ONLY, Dame Shirley Bassey.

SHIRLEY follows in the standard pattern of bios of 'fabulous talent, from hardscrabble beginnings,' but, maybe because I love her music, but, also, because of a terrific cast (featuring Lesley Sharp - familiar to WHOVIANS as Sky Silvestry, in the terrific episode MIDNIGHT - as Bassey's mother).

For those not familiar with Shirley, she's the singer of several James Bond title themes - GOLDFINGER, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, MOONRAKER.

Dame Shirley's powerful voice, and glamorous image, belie a life that started in Wales, in the '30's, as a mixed-race child. Through sheer talent and drive, Dame Shirley became the toast of London, and then, internationally through a slew of hits from the 1960's up til today.

I usually am not a fan of 'true life' bio-pics, but, this one is truly wonderful.

Hopefully, it'll be shown here, in the States, soon.

See it, and, listen to that voice! 

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Release Date:

29 September 2011 (UK) See more »

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Prospect Cymru See more »
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