Page last updated at 04:33 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Blackpool Royal Variety performers entertain Queen


Lady Gaga meets the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance

The Queen has been entertained by a host of stars at the first Royal Variety Performance to be held in Blackpool since 1955.

The town's illuminations had lit the way as the royal party made its way to the Opera House in the Winter Gardens.

The charity event's host, comedian Peter Kay, welcomed the Queen to "the entertainment capital of the world".

The show's performers included Lady Gaga, Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg and Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity.

Kay told the audience that his grandmother was sitting near the Queen, and suggested the pair would be "swapping fudge by the interval".

"She might be in her 80s but she still pulls her wheelie bin out every Tuesday night. I just wish my Nanna would," he joked.

The trio of Lulu, Anastacia and Chaka Khan opened the show with a performance of Relight My Fire, which was a huge hit for Take That and Lulu.

Hollywood actress Goldberg introduced the cast from stage show Sister Act, who were followed by performers including 2008 X Factor winner Alexandra Burke and fellow singer Michael Buble.

Diversity, who had won the right to perform as champions of this year's Britain's Got Talent ITV show, wore red military jackets and performed their dance routine in front of a projected image of Buckingham Palace.

Michael Buble and Katherine Jenkins
Katherine Jenkins said it was "always an honour" to appear in the show

But singing servicemen The Soldiers, who performed the National Anthem with classical singer Faryl Smith, a Britain's Got Talent contestant in 2008, were not wearing their military uniforms.

The three soldiers, who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, released their album Coming Home in October, with part of the proceeds going to charities including Help For Heroes, the British Legion and the Army Benevolent Fund.

But military rules dictate that service personnel cannot wear military uniforms for secondary jobs, forcing them to perform in their "civvies" gear.

Pop star Lady Gaga, classical singer Katherine Jenkins and Midler put in performances, before the Sister Act cast led all the entertainers in a rendition of the song Spread The Love Around.

Blackpool's Opera House, which seats 2,900 people, was used to host the show in the 1950s era of acts such as Morecambe and Wise, Arthur Askey and George Formby.

The annual event was first staged in 1912 and the proceeds go towards the Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund.

The show's staging in Blackpool comes in the wake of BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing being staged at the resort's Tower Ballroom last month.

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