Ruth Negga to play Shirley Bassey in BBC biopic

Thursday August 4, 2011

Misfits star Ruth Negga will play Dame Shirley Bassey in a television drama based on the singer's life.

Ruth, who has also appeared in Criminal Justice, will star in the BBC Two show called Shirley Bassey: A Very British Diva.

She 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."

The hour-long film traces the life of the Cardiff-born singer who grew up in poverty in the city's docklands.

The daughter of a British mother and Nigerian father, she left school at 15 to work in a factory and was discovered singing in working men's clubs.

Her career almost ended before it began after she became pregnant at 17 with her daughter Sharon, who was initially brought up by her sister.

She survived the scandal of being a young unmarried mother to become a massive star, scoring hits including James Bond songs, Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever.

Scott And Bailey star Lesley Sharp plays Dame Shirley's mother Eliza.

Meanwhile, Henry Lloyd-Hughes – who plays bully Mark Donovan in The Inbetweeners – has been cast as her manager and husband Kenneth Hume.

The programme is part of a season of BBC Two programmes about mixed-race life in the UK.

It is the latest in a string of BBC biopics of entertainment legends.

Carry On stars Hattie Jacques and Frankie Howerd have both been the subject of films.

Meanwhile, the award-winning Eric And Ernie looked at the early days of comic duo Morecambe and Wise.

Photo: © Getty

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