Ruth Negga lands Shirley Bassey role

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 4 August 2011
Dame Shirley Bassey

Shirley Bassey

Ruth Negga has been cast in the lead role for new BBC Two drama film 'Shirley Bassey: A Very British Diva'

Ruth Negga has been cast in the titular role for 'Shirley Bassey: A Very British Diva'.

The actress - who has previously appeared in 'Misfits', 'Criminal Justice' and 'Five Daughters' - will play iconic singer Dame Shirley in the drama - which spans three decades - from her poor upbringing in Wales as one of eight children, to becoming one of the most successful divas in UK history.

Ruth said: "I'm thrilled to be cast in the role of Shirley Bassey and it's an absolute honour to be playing her in such an intimate story of her life."

Shirley was spotted while she was still a teenager and had her first hit aged just 19 in 1956, but despite a string of hits, wealth and glamour, her life was also hit by tragedy and hard times with two failed marriages and the unfortunate death of her daughter in 1985.

BBC Executive Producer of the one-off hour-long film, Maxine Watson, said: "Dame Shirley Bassey is iconic - she transcends age, race and class. The big voice and vocal style are unmistakable, but it took so much more than that to take her from Tiger Bay to world class headliner.

"Hers is a classic story of overcoming poverty through personal sacrifice and I'm thrilled that we have such a fantastic cast to bring this story to life."

'Shirley Bassey: A Very British Diva' is part of BBC2's Mixed Race season and will be shown later this Autumn.

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