London Palladium


The London Palladium is thought about to be the most famous theater in the capital city and maybe even in the United Kingdom, due to its musical variety shows that were televised in the 1950s and 60s and the host of well-known stars that have actually performed on show business’s stage for many years. It was constructed by Walter Gibbons in 1910, making the theater over a century old, and was named ‘The Palladium’ until 1934 when the ‘London’ was contributed to the main title of the place.

In its early starts the theater was made use of as a circus, an ice rink and a cinema, however after the Second World War ended in 1945, Val Parnell became managing supervisor of show business and effectively placed numerous big stars from the United States on the famous London stage such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, much to the inconvenience of the British stars of the time.

The London Palladium is a 2,286 seat West End theater located off Oxford Street in the City of Westminster. From the lineup of stars who have actually played there and numerous telecasted performances, it is perhaps the most popular theater in London and the United Kingdom, especially for musical variety shows. It is situated in the heart of the West End of London.

For twelve years from 1955, the theater hosted the extremely popular ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’ which was aired on ITV for a very successful run. The program was restored in the late 1980s under the new name of ‘Live from the Palladium’.

Val Parnell took over as Managing Director in 1945. He adopted a questionable, but very successful, policy of providing high-priced big-name American acts at the top of the expense. Among many, the list included Judy Garland, Sophie Tucker, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, the Andrews Sisters with Vic Schoen and his orchestra, Bob Hope, Liza Minnelli, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frankie Laine, and Johnnie Ray, freezing out British stars of the day, who were delegated to second-billing.

From 1955-67 the movie theater was the setting for the top-rated ITV selection show Sunday Night at the London Palladium hosted initially by Tommy Trinder, then by Bruce Forsyth. The program was broadcast live every week by ATV, which was owned by the famous theatrical impresario Lew Grade.

Val Parnell became associated with a condo advancement business and started to sell Moss Empires’ movie theaters for redevelopment. When it became known in 1966 that this fate waited for the London Palladium, The Victoria Palace as well as the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Prince Littler organised a take-over to save show business and Val Parnell retired to stay in France. The brand-new Managing Director of Stoll-Moss was Louis Benjamin, who took on the duty while continuing as MD of Pye Records within the ATV Group.

In 1968, Sammy Davis, Jr. starred in Golden Boy, the first book musical to be produced in the venue. Dame Vera Lynn, Sandy Shaw and Dame Maggie Smith are included in the many British stars who have graced the Palladium.

A Johnny Cash album was tape-recorded there in 1968, however Columbia Records never released it. Bootlegs of this performance are circulating though.

In 1970, the Palladium tried to get Elvis Presley to perform 14 programs over a period of 7 days. Had Presley executed, it would have been his first abroad performance.


In January 1973, glam rock band Slade played a show in the theater which resulted in the venue’s balcony nearly collapsing. The performance documented on the resulting double LP, entitled Live at the London Palladium and introduced in 1977, is considered one of Gaye’s finest live recordings.

In the late 1980s the Palladium was once again the setting for the prominent ITV1 variety show, Live From the Palladium, compered by Jimmy Tarbuck.

Throughout this time, show business was under the ownership of the Stoll Moss Theatres Group, and the management of both Margaret and David Locke, who both were major shareholders of Stoll Moss at the time.

In 1988, the Edinburgh Gang Show appeared as part of the British Musical Hall Society’s Silver Jubilee.


In the year 2000, the theater was gotten by Andrew Lloyd Webber and his Really Useful Group, which has actually seen many preferred and important phase musicals grace the stage such as The King and I, The Sound of Music and Sister Act the Musical. The London Palladium was home to a brand-new musical manufacturing of The Wizard of Oz, based upon the traditional tale of a lady swept away to a magical land by a tornado, and featuring tracks we all know and adore from the 1939 MGM film adaptation, including ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. The show ran from March 2011 to September 2012.


Travelling to the London Palladium

The Palladium is close to Oxford Circus Underground Station with trains on the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines. There are good and frequent trains to the City of London, Westfield – Stratford, West London, Barnet, Brent Cross, Finchley, Hendon, Loughton, Epping in Essex and Watford.