The Prince of Wales has praised the “incredibly talented” performers of the Royal Variety Performance, and said the event going ahead proves “the show really can go on”.
The vaunted variety show is taking place this year at the Blackpool Opera House in the Winter Gardens Complex, but, due to Covid-19 restrictions, features an empty auditorium and “virtual audience”.
In a video message commencing the evening, Charles thanked everyone who had worked to ensure the show went ahead, describing it as “a unique British tradition stretching back more than one hundred years”.
Charles recalled the first Royal Variety Performance in 1912, attended by King George V and Queen Mary in aid of the Royal Variety Charity, which raises money for struggling entertainers and theatre workers in need.
He said: “Today, that mission could hardly be more relevant, as this year’s show will provide vital support for workers who have been affected by these extraordinarily challenging times.
“On behalf of the Patron of the Royal Variety Performance, Her Majesty the Queen, I can only send the most special and heartfelt thanks to all of tonight’s incredibly talented performers who have come together in the splendid surroundings of the Blackpool Opera House to entertain, to inspire and, above all, to help those in need.
“And while, very sadly, we may not be able to gather as we usually would, I am delighted that, despite all adversity, the determination and dedication of everyone involved means that the show really can go on.”
The Royal Variety Performance was last held in Blackpool in 2009, and last took place outside of London in 2011 at Salford’s Lowry Theatre.
Comedian and actor Jason Manford, 39, hosted the evening of comedy and music, after having performing at the event three times since 2009.
Britain’s Got Talent 2020 winner Jon Courtenay, Gary Barlow, Celeste, Spice Girl Melanie C and the recently reformed Steps are among the performers.
The annual event, the world’s longest running entertainment show, is staged in aid of the Royal Variety Charity, whose patron is the Queen, and money raised will help support people from the world of entertainment.
The show, which is being recorded for broadcast on ITV in December, continues.