Thursday, August 4, 2011

Misfits actress lands Shirley Bassey role

28 year old Ruth Negga has been cast to play Shirley Bassey in BBC Two's upcoming drama – Shirley Bassey: A Very British Diva. Irish-born Ruth (represented by Lou Coulson in the UK) played Nikki in Series 2 of Misfits, and her other TV credits include Criminal Justice and Five Daughters.

The Inbetweeners Henry Lloyd-Hughes (represented by Curtis Brown) will play Kenneth Hume, her soon-to-be personal manager and future husband.

Skins star Larissa Wilson (also Curtis Brown) plays Iris Bassey, and Scott & Bailey star Lesley Sharp plays Bassey's mother Eliza.

An open casting was held back in June to try and find a young Welsh actress to play the 10 year old Shirley.

Set against the backdrop of mixed-race Britain from the Thirties to the Sixties, the 60-minute film is an intimate look at the life of Dame Shirley Bassey – one of Britain's national treasures and one of the world's most enduring and successful divas.

Bassey's rise from poverty to international stardom is no ordinary rags to riches story. Born in Tiger Bay in Cardiff, Shirley was one of eight children from a poor family. Spotted by an astute manager as a teenager, she soon had a hit song under her belt and was firmly on the road to stardom. But beneath the wealth, diamonds and furs, her life would swing between triumph and tragedy.

Ruth Negga says: "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."

Executive producer Maxine Watson said: "Dame Shirley Bassey is iconic - she transcends age, race and class. 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."

The drama will be shown in the autumn as part of BBC Two's Mixed Race season.

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