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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Gala night for Chitty musical
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was released in 1968
A host of stars have turned out for a charity gala performance of the new West End musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The special performance at the London Palladium was held to raise money for Unicef and SOS

The event was hosted by Bond actor Roger Moore and Dame Vera Lynn, who had spent the day at the funeral of the Queen Mother.

Among the invited guests were Joan Collins and new husband Percy Gibson, Sir Cliff Richard, Shirley Bassey and ex-EastEnder Martin Kemp.

Sir Roger Moore and wife Christina
Roger Moore, with wife Christina, was a patron of the gala night
The musical adaptation of the children's classic film opens to the public on 16 April.

Royal Shakespeare Company head Adrian Noble is directing the spectacular, which was written by Bond creator Ian Fleming and turned into a film by 007 producer Cubby Broccoli.

Noble has assembled an all-star cast for the production including Michael Ball as Caratacus Potts, Brian Blessed as The Baron and Anton Johnson as Grandpa Potts.

Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O'Brien also stars as the baddie, The Childcatcher.

Broccoli and Fleming's vision first hit the screens in 1968, directed by Ken Hughes with the screenplay written by Roald Dahl.

Flying car

Broccoli died in 1996 but his Eon Productions company continues under the control of his widow Dana.

She is one of the key producers of the London stage musical along with daughter Barbara.

Joan Collins and Percy Gibson
Joan Collins arrived with new husband Percy Gibson
The film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang continues to capture the imagination of generations of children with video re-releases and television re-runs.

The tale is of an eccentric professor, played by Dick Van Dyke, who invents weird and wacky machinery.

When he creates a revolutionary flying car, hi-jinx ensue when the baddies try and get their hands on it to use it for their own gain.

When the evil baron kidnaps all the children it is up to Van Dyke's Caractacus Potts to rescue them.

See also:

06 Feb 02 | England
'Pupstars' bark for Chitty stardom
02 May 01 | Film
The cult of the flying car
17 Aug 99 | Scotland
Chitty star in eviction wrangle
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