The South Bank Show is a television arts magazine show, made by London Weekend Television. Presented by Melvyn Bragg, it was broadcast on ITV from 1978 until 2010 when it was cancelled and has since been revived by Sky Arts in 2012. Seen in over 60 countries worldwide including Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA, its stated aim is to bring both high art and popular culture to a mass audience.
The iconic Dusty Springfield remains the 'white lady of soul' and in this compelling South Bank Show, her moving and dramatic story is told in its entirety for the first time. An array of intimate friends, lovers and show business talents go on record to describe the intense highs and lows of Dusty's swinging life, before her untimely death in 1999. Born Mary O'Brien in London as war began in 1939, in the 60's as Dusty Springfield, she came to represent renewed British optimism and modernity, epitomising swinging London. A plain convent educated girl, Dusty's transformation of herself into a blonde glamour icon was a remarkable act of will. A lesbian with a great deal to lose and a great deal to hide, Dusty hid for many years behind the mask of the Girl Singer. The unique qualities of her voice attracted the creme de la creme of songwriters and producers; she had close relationships with Burt Bacharach, Carole King, and Gamble and Huff, the men who created the sound of Philadelphia Soul. Dusty made herself an expert on black American soul music after she fell in love with Motown. Her career waned in the seventies and she fled to America, where she floundered in variety shows. She moved to Los Angeles where she struggled with drink, drugs and self harming. She later returned to Britain to critical acclaim when she re-invented herself in partnership with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe better known as the Pet Shop Boys. Dusty's life is nothing if not dramatic, although this can never obscure her remarkable gifts as a musician and performer, which have continued to be rediscovered by new generations. A soul searching South Bank Show, on arguably Britain's greatest ever Pop Diva, Dusty Springfield.
The film has interviews with all the Pythons: Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam. Interspersed with classic Monty Python extracts from television shows, films and stage performances; they discuss the creative processes behind Monty Python. Devotee Python fan, Eddie Izzard, talks about why Python’s unique and groundbreaking humour has endured. The film also has access to Spamalot’s London rehearsals plus some musical interludes from Eric Idle on guitar - following the holy grail of a show, as it comes home from Broadway to the West End. Monty Python's SPAMALOT will begin previews at the Palace Theatre on Saturday 30 Sep. opening (Press night) 16 Oct 2006. (Although, there will be an American style opening night on 17 Oct 2006, where celebrity guests and families of the cast attend separate from the press!) Directed by Mike Nichols, Monty Python's SPAMALOT, has a book by Eric Idle, from the screenplay of the Pythons' film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Featuring a new score with music and lyrics by Eric Idle and John Du Prez. The show also has three songs from the 1975 film. The cast includes Tim Curry (King Arthur), reprising the role he created on Broadway. (In January 2007 Curry will hand over the role of King Arthur to Simon Russell Beale). Christopher Sieber (Sir Dennis Galahad) reprising the role he created on Broadway. Hannah Waddingham (The Lady of the Lake), David Birrell(Patsy), Tom Goodman-Hill (Sir Lancelot) and Robert Hands, (Sir Robin). Choreography by Casey Nicholaw , costumes & design by Tim Hatley, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, produced by Boyett Ostar Productions. Monty Python's SPAMALOT has broken house records, playing to standing-room-only audiences since opening to critical acclaim in March, 2005 at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway. In addition, Mike Nichols won his eighth Tony Award for direction of the musical. Telling the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and their quest for the Holy Grail, Monty Python's SPAMALOT features a chorus line of dancing divas (and serfs), flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and a legless knight.