Barbara Windsor's Clubland

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0120120614

Barbara Windsor takes us on a tour of the famous (and infamous) London nightclubs of yesterday.

After the First World War was over, the 20th century needed more fun and in London you could get it, but only during business hours. The problem was the licensing laws. Even the most riotous evening would come to a sudden end when the pubs and bars closed. That's when nightclubs opened their doors offering food, drink and entertainment into the early hours. But even then they often fell foul of the law for trying to satisfy their rich, insatiable customers and selling alcohol after hours.

Premises were regularly raided and club owners often found themselves in court with fines to pay and some even went to prison for flouting the law. Often they were forced to close down entirely and open up elsewhere. It was a glamorous world where trouble was never far away, everyone dressed up for the evening, and where ladies had to be accompanied by a man and were forbidden to wear trousers!

Famous night spots in Mayfair and Soho from the 20s to the 60s included The 43 Club, The Nut House, The Stork, The Pigalle, The Astor, Churchill's, Winstons, The Edmundo Ros Club, Danny La Rue's, The Colony, The Talk Of The Town, The Gargoyle, The Establishment...and those are just some of the more famous venues!

In this two-part series, we'll meet some of the most colourful nightclub operators and personalities from almost a century of nightlife, including Ma Meyrick, Al Burnett, Bertie Green, Harry Meadows, Bruce Brace, Edmundo Ros and Peter Stringfellow. We'll also hear from many famous artistes and musicians who began their illustrious careers in nightclubs over the years including Victor Spinetti, Amanda Barrie, Sandra Caron, Lionel Blair, Una Stubbs, Fenella Fielding, Ruth Allen, Laurie Holloway, Brian Dee, Kenny Clayton and Danny La Rue (later a club owner himself).

Look out for the rather large dancing Swedish gentleman in long earrings, the Dwarf with the gun, and the stripper who couldn't get out of her costume. All larger-than-nightlife is here!

0120120614

Barbara Windsor takes us on a tour of the famous (and infamous) London nightclubs of yesterday.

After the First World War was over, the 20th century needed more fun and in London you could get it, but only during business hours. The problem was the licensing laws. Even the most riotous evening would come to a sudden end when the pubs and bars closed. That's when nightclubs opened their doors offering food, drink and entertainment into the early hours. But even then they often fell foul of the law for trying to satisfy their rich, insatiable customers and selling alcohol after hours.

Premises were regularly raided and club owners often found themselves in court with fines to pay and some even went to prison for flouting the law. Often they were forced to close down entirely and open up elsewhere. It was a glamorous world where trouble was never far away, everyone dressed up for the evening, and where ladies had to be accompanied by a man and were forbidden to wear trousers!

Famous night spots in Mayfair and Soho from the 20s to the 60s included The 43 Club, The Nut House, The Stork, The Pigalle, The Astor, Churchill's, Winstons, The Edmundo Ros Club, Danny La Rue's, The Colony, The Talk Of The Town, The Gargoyle, The Establishment...and those are just some of the more famous venues!

In this two-part series, we'll meet some of the most colourful nightclub operators and personalities from almost a century of nightlife, including Ma Meyrick, Al Burnett, Bertie Green, Harry Meadows, Bruce Brace, Edmundo Ros and Peter Stringfellow. We'll also hear from many famous artistes and musicians who began their illustrious careers in nightclubs over the years including Victor Spinetti, Amanda Barrie, Sandra Caron, Lionel Blair, Una Stubbs, Fenella Fielding, Ruth Allen, Laurie Holloway, Brian Dee, Kenny Clayton and Danny La Rue (later a club owner himself).

Look out for the rather large dancing Swedish gentleman in long earrings, the Dwarf with the gun, and the stripper who couldn't get out of her costume. All larger-than-nightlife is here!

02 LAST20120621

Barbara Windsor concludes her tour of the famous (and infamous) London nightclubs of yesterday.

In the second and final part of the series, we discover more about the famous night spots of Mayfair and Soho including The Stork, The Pigalle, The Astor, Churchill's, Winstons, The Edmundo Ros Club, Danny La Rue's Club, George Raft's Colony Club, The Talk Of The Town, The Gargoyle, The Establishment, Murray's Cabaret Club.

We meet some of the most colourful nightclub operators and personalities from almost a century of nightlife, including Al Burnett, Bruce Brace, Edmundo Ros and Peter Stringfellow. And hear from many famous artistes and musicians who began their illustrious careers in nightclubs over the years including Victor Spinetti, Amanda Barrie, Sandra Caron, Lionel Blair, Una Stubbs, Fenella Fielding, Laurie Holloway, Brian Dee, Kenny Clayton, Avril Gaynor and Danny La Rue.

Also appearing are agents Barry Burnett and Peter Charlesworth, Producer Marcel Stellman and Sociologist Professor Laurie Taylor. We discover how Danny La Rue became so popular as a nightclub entertainer that he branched out and opened his own club, which immediately became one of the most successful night spots in London.

Meanwhile, other venues were thriving. Al Burnett's Pigalle was packing them in with Sammy Davis Jnr headlining; Peter Cooke's Establishment Club, featuring the Dudley Moore Trio, re-launched the career of Frankie Howerd. And The Talk Of The Town; "the world's most exciting theatre restaurant" opened its doors featuring a string of world famous performers...London's nightclubs were booming!

But as the Swinging 60s progressed, London's nightlife began to change. There were lots of reasons: legalised gambling, the growth of television and home entertainment, discotheques and cinema complexes, and people's preference for huge scale entertainment over the small and intimate.

And so in closing, and with a fond backwards glance, we raise a glass of something fizzy to all the London nightspots that made some sort of name for themselves: not just the famous ones, but the ones we went to just once, the ones whose names we can't remember, even the ones we'd rather not admit we knew about.

02 LAST20120621

Barbara Windsor concludes her tour of the famous (and infamous) London nightclubs of yesterday.

In the second and final part of the series, we discover more about the famous night spots of Mayfair and Soho including The Stork, The Pigalle, The Astor, Churchill's, Winstons, The Edmundo Ros Club, Danny La Rue's Club, George Raft's Colony Club, The Talk Of The Town, The Gargoyle, The Establishment, Murray's Cabaret Club.

We meet some of the most colourful nightclub operators and personalities from almost a century of nightlife, including Al Burnett, Bruce Brace, Edmundo Ros and Peter Stringfellow. And hear from many famous artistes and musicians who began their illustrious careers in nightclubs over the years including Victor Spinetti, Amanda Barrie, Sandra Caron, Lionel Blair, Una Stubbs, Fenella Fielding, Laurie Holloway, Brian Dee, Kenny Clayton, Avril Gaynor and Danny La Rue.

Also appearing are agents Barry Burnett and Peter Charlesworth, Producer Marcel Stellman and Sociologist Professor Laurie Taylor. We discover how Danny La Rue became so popular as a nightclub entertainer that he branched out and opened his own club, which immediately became one of the most successful night spots in London.

Meanwhile, other venues were thriving. Al Burnett's Pigalle was packing them in with Sammy Davis Jnr headlining; Peter Cooke's Establishment Club, featuring the Dudley Moore Trio, re-launched the career of Frankie Howerd. And The Talk Of The Town; "the world's most exciting theatre restaurant" opened its doors featuring a string of world famous performers...London's nightclubs were booming!

But as the Swinging 60s progressed, London's nightlife began to change. There were lots of reasons: legalised gambling, the growth of television and home entertainment, discotheques and cinema complexes, and people's preference for huge scale entertainment over the small and intimate.

And so in closing, and with a fond backwards glance, we raise a glass of something fizzy to all the London nightspots that made some sort of name for themselves: not just the famous ones, but the ones we went to just once, the ones whose names we can't remember, even the ones we'd rather not admit we knew about.