The Palace Of Laughter

Series on variety theatres.

Episodes

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20130610 (BBC7)

Geoffrey Wheeler tells the story of the legendary Folies-Bergere, opened in 1869.

Geoffrey Wheeler tells the story of the legendary Folies-Bergere, which opened its doors to the world in 1869. From June 2004.

0101Windmill Theatre, London2002031920021008
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Geoffrey Wheeler visits the notorious Windmill Theatre, LONDON, where audiences were more interested in the nude dancing girls than in the comics' gags.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the site of the Windmill Theatre, famed for its nude dancing girls and known as the 'comics' graveyard'.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the site of the Windmill Theatre, famed for its nude tableaux and known as the 'comics' graveyard'.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the site of the Windmill Theatre, known as the 'comics' graveyard'.

Geoffrey Wheeler explores the venue famed for its nude tableaux.

Geoffrey Wheeler explores the venue famed for its nude tableaux and known as the 'comics' graveyard'.

From March 2002.

Geoffrey Wheeler explores the venue famed for its nude tableaux and known as the 'comics' graveyard'. From March 2002.

0102Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow2002032620021015
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Geoffrey Wheeler celebrates the Pavilion Theatre, GLASGOW.

Built in 1895, the Pavilion boasts a magnificent ceiling that rolls back to reveal the stars.

Geoffrey Wheeler presents an affectionate portrait of the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow, one of Scotland's last variety venues.

Geoffrey Wheeler presents a portrait of the Pavilion Theatre, one of Scotland's last variety venues.

Episode 2 of 6

Geoffrey Wheeler presents an affectionate portrait of one of Scotland's last variety venues which, legend has it, is haunted.

Geoffrey Wheeler presents a portrait of one of Scotland's last variety venues.

Geoffrey Wheeler's affectionate look at one of Scotland's last variety venues.

Geoffrey Wheeler's affectionate look at one of Scotland's last variety venues, which legend claims is haunted. From March 2002.

0103Manchester Playhouse2002040220021022
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Geoffrey Wheeler tells the theatre's story and that of its neighbour, the Hulme Hippodrome

Geoffrey Wheeler tells the theatre's story plus that of its neighbour, the Hulme Hippodrome. With Morecambe & Wise and Ken Dodd.

Geoffrey Wheeler tells the theatre's story plus that of its neighbour, the Hulme Hippodrome.

With Morecambe & Wise and Ken Dodd.

Geoffrey Wheeler tells the story of twin theatres - the Playhouse and the Hippodrome.

'Turns' include Morecambe and Wise.

Episode 3 of 6.

'Turns' include Morecambe & Wise.

Geoffrey Wheeler revisits the scene of the Manchester Playhouse.

Geoffrey Wheeler's tour of variety theatres across the country finds him at the MANCHESTER Playhouse, venue for some of the BBC's best-loved comedy programmes for four decades.

Geoffrey Wheeler tells a tale of twin theatres.

'Turns' include Morecambe and Wise and Ken Dodd.

0104Grand Blackpool2002041620021029
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Geoffrey Wheeler visits the seaside theatre that's refusing to bring the curtain down.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the seaside theatre that's refusing to bring the curtain down. With Bernard Cribbins and Mike Harding. From April 2002.

With Bernard Cribbins and Mike Harding.

Geoffrey Wheeler's tour of variety theatres across the country finds him at the Grand Theatre in BLACKPOOL.

Contributors include Bernard Cribbins, Bill Pertwee and Mike Harding.

Blackpool and Hamlet make strange bedfellows, but thanks to the Grand Theatre, there's more to the resort than sand and donkeys.

Episode 4 of 6.

Bernard Cribbins and Mike Harding on how they liked to be beside the seaside, at a theatre refusing to bring the curtain down.

0105Alhambra2002042320080907 (BBC7)
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Geoffrey Wheeler traces the history of the music hall once the pride of Leicester Square.

Geoffrey Wheeler traces the history of the music hall which was once the pride of London's Leicester Square. With Roy Hudd. From April 2002.

0105Odeon Cinema In Leicester Square2002042320021105
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Geoffrey Wheeler's nationwide tour of variety theatres finds him in central LONDON.

The Odeon cinema in Leicester Square is built on the site of the former Alhambra theatre.

Geoffrey Wheeler traces the history of the Variety Theatre which once had pride of place in Leicester Square.

Geoffrey Wheeler traces the history of a music hall that was once the pride of London's Leicester Square.

With Roy Hudd.

Geoffrey Wheeler traces the history of the music hall - once the pride of Leicester Square

Geoffrey Wheeler traces the history of the music hall, which was once the pride of London's Leicester Square.

Geoffrey Wheeler traces the history of the music hall which was once the pride of London's Leicester Square. With Roy Hudd. From April 2002.

0106 LASTGrand Opera House, Belfast2002043020021112
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Geoffrey Wheeler's nationwide tour of variety theatres finds him in Belfast, where the Grand Opera House has emerged as an example of the city's regeneration.

Geoffrey Wheeler travels to the Belfast Grand Opera House which is now a symbol of the city's regeneration after the Troubles.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the Grand Opera House, a symbol of Belfast's regeneration after the Troubles.

Now a symbol of the city's regeneration after the Troubles, Geoffrey Wheeler meets staff and performers.

With Jimmy Cricket.

Now a symbol of the city's regeneration, Geoffrey Wheeler meets staff and performers.

Now a symbol of the city's regeneration after the Troubles, Geoffrey Wheeler meets staff and performers. With Jimmy Cricket

0201Sunderland Empire2003072220060901 (BBC7)
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North East England's premier variety venue where comic actor Sid James sadly died on stage

Geoffrey Wheeler profiles North East England's premier variety venue, where comic actor Sid James sadly died on stage.

Geoffrey Wheeler profiles North East England's premier variety venue.

Geoffrey Wheeler profiles the Sunderland Empire, the premier Variety venue in the North-East of England.

Geoffrey Wheeler presents a profile of the Sunderland Empire, the premier Variety venue in the North-East of ENGLAND, where artists as varied as Vesta Tilley, Harry Lauder, Ken Dodd and Helen Shapiro have entertained generations of theatre-goers.

The Empire is also the theatre where the comedy actor Sid James collapsed and died.

We hear the story of that sad event from theatre staff who witnessed it.

Includes archive performances from many of the stars who have appeared on the Empire's stage.

0202Eastbourne Royal Hippodrome20071007 (BBC7)
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Exploring what was once acclaimed as one of the UK's most luxurious venues.

Once acclaimed as one of the UK's most luxurious venues, Geoffrey Wheeler explores its colourful history. With Bruce Forsyth

0202The Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne2003072920060908 (BBC7)
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Once acclaimed as one the UK's most luxurious venues, Geoffrey Wheeler explores its colourful history.

With Bruce Forsyth.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the Royal Hippodrome in Eastbourne, built in the 1880s by C J Phipps and acclaimed at the time as one of the most luxurious and technologically advanced variety theatres in the country.

The theatre was saved from demolition in the 1970s by a campaign led by piano maestro Russ Conway, whose friend and fellow entertainer Joan Regan appears in this programme.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne, and explores its colourful history.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the Royal Hippodrome in Eastbourne, and explores its colourful history.

Exploring what was once acclaimed as one of the UK's most luxurious venues.

Once acclaimed as one of the UK's most luxurious venues, Geoffrey Wheeler explores its colourful history.

Once acclaimed as one of the UK's most luxurious venues, Geoffrey Wheeler explores its colourful history. With Bruce Forsyth.

0203Dublin Gaiety Theatre20071014 (BBC7)
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Geoffrey Wheeler crosses the water to see one of the finest venues on the variety circuit.

Geoffrey Wheeler crosses the water to visit one of the finest venues on the variety circuit, in Ireland's capital city.

0203The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin2003080520060915 (BBC7)
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Geoffrey Wheeler crosses the water to visit one of the finest venues on the variety circuit, in Ireland's capital city.

Episode 3 of 6.

Geoffrey Wheeler crosses the water to Dublin to discover more about the city's famous Gaiety Theatre, one of the finest venues on the Variety circuit.

The theatre played host to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1971, when theatre-goers and television audiences shared in its centenary celebrations.

The programme includes extracts from some of the musical shows for which the Gaiety is renowned, and comedy from stars past and present.

Geoffrey Wheeler crosses the water to Dublin to discover more about the city's famous Gaiety Theatre.

Geoffrey Wheeler crosses the water to see one of the finest venues on the variety circuit.

0204The Bradford Alhambra2003081220060922 (BBC7)
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Geoffrey Wheeler visits the home of pantomime and a steadfast dance troupe.

Bill Pertwee shares his memories.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the home of pantomime and the Sunbeam Girls, built by the impresario Francis Laidler.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits variety theatres across the country.

This edition takes him to The Alhambra in Bradford, built by impresario Francis Laidler.

Opened in 1912, just as Music Hall gave way to Variety, The Alhambra was specifically designed to offer family-oriented entertainment.

Its name became synonymous with pantomime, and Geoffrey meeets two of the original Sunbeam Troupe of panto dancers, whose first appearance on the Alhambra stage was in 1929.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits the Bradford Alhambra, built by the impresario Francis Laidler.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits Yorkshire's home of pantomime and a steadfast dance troupe.

With Bill Pertwee.

Geoffrey Wheeler visits Yorkshire's home of pantomime and a steadfast dance troupe. With Bill Pertwee.

0205Grant Theatre Swansea2003081920060929 (BBC7)
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Geoffrey Wheeler reports on a Wales success story, associated with Catherine Zeta Jones.

Geoffrey Wheeler reports on a South Wales success story, associated with the early career of actress Catherine Zeta Jones.

Associated with Catherine Zeta Jones - Geoffrey Wheeler reports on a Welsh success story.

Associated with the early career of actress Catherine Zeta Jones - Geoffrey Wheeler reports on a South Wales success story.

Associated with Catherine Zeta Jones' early career - Geoffrey Wheeler reports on a South Wales success story.

Geoffrey Wheeler discovers the stories behind the Grand Theatre Swansea, a South Wales success story.

Episode 5 of 6.

Geoffrey Wheeler discovers the stories behind the unassuming façade of the Grant Theatre Swansea, home to the Swansea Ballet Russe and a thriving community theatre programme.

Afternoon Morning

Evening / Geoffrey Wheeler discovers the stories behind the unassuming facade of the Grant Theatre Swansea, home to the Swansea Ballet Russe and a thriving community theatre programme.

Geoffrey Wheeler traces the history of the music hall - once the pride of Leicester Square

Geoffrey Wheeler traces the history of the music hall, which was once the pride of London's Leicester Square.

With Roy Hudd.

0205Swansea Grand Theatre20120206 (BBC7)

Geoffrey Wheeler reports on a South Wales success story, associated with the early career of actress Catherine Zeta Jones.

Geoffrey Wheeler reports on a Wales success story, associated with Catherine Zeta Jones.

0206 LASTGaiety Theatre In Ayr2003082620061006 (BBC7)
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Geoffrey Wheeler travels to Ayr, on the west coast of SCOTLAND, to visit the Gaiety Theatre.

In the heyday of Variety, entertainers would hone their acts on Gaiety audiences before transferring to the A-list theatres of GLASGOW.

The Gaiety is famous throughout SCOTLAND for its summer season, the 'Gaiety Whirl', which is now one of the last of its kind in the country.

The Gaiety Theatre in Scotland certainly has staying power.

Geoffrey Wheeler discovers how, exactly.

The uniquely Scottish theatre has staying power and connections to Robbie Burns.

Geoffrey Wheeler discovers how.

Episode 6 of 6.

Geoffrey Wheeler probes the west coast venue's unique staying power.

Geoffrey Wheeler probes the west coast venue's unique staying power and its connection to Scotland's best-loved bard Robert Burns.