Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome! Our master of ceremonies, Paul O'Grady, celebrates the magic of cabaret, from its Parisian origins to its present-day resurgance.
Debussy, Woody Allen and Christine Keeler all began in cabaret.
As did Paul O Grady, who recounts tales from his own eight year residency as Lily Savage and takes a trip back to South London's Royal Vauxhall Tavern to see how it has changed.
"It's a social commentary about what's going on.
Doesn't matter if it's taboo, you have to bring it up.
Cabaret should never be safe.
Even if it ends in a police raid.
I've been in the wagon many a time to the police station - full Lily regalia, handbag on me knee."
Paul explores the birth of cabaret in Paris in the 1880s, with the world famous Le Chat Noir.
He encounters the colourful characters who entertained and hurled insults at the punters; from Paris to the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, and all across Europe; even taking a pit stop in a 1912 London den of iniquity - the Cave of the Golden Calf.
Across the Atlantic, we take a look at Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong and co, who defied the Prohibition era to entertain at one of New York's most celebrated night spots - the Cotton Club.
However there was only one city that defined decadence during the inter-war years - Berlin.
We meet the dancers, divas, comedians, Jewish MCs and the punters who pushed sexual, social and political boundaries in the cabarets and nightclubs of Weimar Berlin as the Nazi party came to political prominence and finally crushed the cabaret circuit.
But cabaret refuses to die and we follow it to war-time London and glimpse ahead to the current resurgence with MC Dusty Limits and former cabaret performer Paloma Faith.Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome! Our master of ceremonies, Paul O'Grady, celebrates the magic of cabaret, from its Parisian origins to its present-day resurgence.
But cabaret refuses to die and we follow it to war-time London and glimpse ahead to the current resurgence with MC Dusty Limits and former cabaret performer Paloma Faith.
This documentary first broadcast on Radio 2 in September 2010.
Paul O'Grady celebrates the boozy, glitzy and subversive delights of the cabaret.
Cabaret veteran Paul O'Grady continues his celebration of the most decadent, satirical and tawdry show in town, pushing back the curtain on its post-war history.
In America, the Beat generation discover alternative comedy in the coffee bars and cabarets of San Francisco and New York.
Comedy icons from Mort Sahl to Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, and even Woody Allen, caught a break on the nightclub and cabaret circuit, as did international superstars such as Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand.
In swinging London, cabaret was the perfect venue as the satire boom took hold with Peter Cook's Establishment Club holding court to Hollywood stars, rock stars and even royalty.
Just a few streets away, Motown's rising stars were bringing the house down at the Talk Of The Town; and Danny La Rue was turning drag into mainstream fare at Danny's.
And it wasn't just London that bore witness to the cabaret explosion.
Bernard Manning's Embassy Club in Manchester was just one of the Northern working men's clubs serving up a healthy diet of pie, chips and a floor show and attracting stars from Lulu to Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones.
Cabaret suffered during the recession in the 70s but it came back fighting with the Comedy Store and the birth of alternative comedy at the end of the decade.
Paul explores the comedy, cruise ships and gay scene that has played host to cabaret since then, twirls a tassel at the Burlesque revival, and encounters the contemporary performers following in his footsteps and enjoying the current cabaret resurgence.
Jim Bowen, Barry Cryer, Lionel Blair, Jane MacDonald, Alexei Sayle Julian Clary, Paloma Faith and Immodesty Blaize all pay tribute and explain why, despite the motorway service stations, rowdy audiences and toilet cubicle dressing rooms, it was all worth it.
As Paul says: "It's not an easy life.
From the minute you set foot out the door, it's hassle.
Getting there, getting ready, getting on, getting home.
I loved it.
Some of the best nights ever.".
Paul O'Grady continues his celebration of cabaret.
Paul O'grady celebrates the magic of cabaret, from its Parisian origins to its present-day resurgence.
Paul O'grady celebrates the boozy, glitzy and subversive delights of the cabaret.