Andrew Lloyd Webber unveils 'wall of fame' at London Palladium

Installation by the stage door honours stars including Bruce Forsyth, Cilla Black and Cliff Richard

Andrew Lloyd Webber has unveiled a “wall of fame” installation on the exterior of the London Palladium, the venue that became internationally famous for hosting variety performances, including a long-running Sunday night show broadcast on ITV.

Lloyd Webber was joined by four of the stars whose portraits feature on the “wall of fame”: Jimmy Tarbuck, Tommy Steele, Des O’Connor and Cliff Richard. “Three of my boyhood heroes,” joked Tarbuck, turning to his company: “Mother loved the three of you.”

The stainless steel installation, situated to the side of the stage door in Great Marlborough Street, was designed by Lee Simmons and commissioned as part of the renovations to the building’s Grade II-listed facade. A committee comprising Lloyd Webber, TV veteran Michael Grade, lyricist Don Black and agent Laurie Mansfield chose the first artists to be honoured. The criteria stipulate that, to be included, artists must have performed in more than two major seasons at the Palladium.

Bruce Forsyth, Judy Garland, Cilla Black, Tom Jones, Sammy Davis Jr and Vera Lynn are among those featured on the wall, which includes several blank spaces to accommodate the stars of the future.

Lloyd Webber said the Palladium was the first theatre in London that he visited as a child. Recalling his outing to see Norman Wisdom play Aladdin, he described the theatre as “the most extraordinary place anywhere that I’d ever been”.

The Palladium, designed by Frank Matcham, opened on Boxing Day in 1910. Lloyd Webber acquired it in 2000 as one of 10 venues he bought from Stoll Moss Theatre Group for £87.5m. It has since hosted a revival of his musical Cats and revived its long dormant panto tradition. The Palladium’s upcoming Christmas production is Snow White with a cast including Dawn French, Julian Clary and Strictly dancers Vincent and Flavia.


Chris Wiegand

The GuardianTramp

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