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The Songwriters: Leslie Stuart


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Written by Tony Staveacre The songs reflect the times. "The Lily of Laguna" is a child of the Victorian age, just as Noel Coward 's "Poor Little Rich Girl" belongs to the 1920s - and "Eleanor Rigby" to the 1960s.
These eight programmes celebrate 80 years of British popular music. We tell the stories behind some of our best-loved songs, the singers who first interpreted them, and above all, the men who wrote them. In subsequent weeks Lionel Monckton, Noel Coward, Ray Noble, Ivor Novello, Lionel Bart, Lennon and McCartney, Rice and Lloyd Webber are the featured composers.
A cathedral organist from Liverpool, he fell in love with the music-hall, and came to London at the turn of the century to write songs for Lottie Collins, Vesta Tilley and Eugene Stratton. He made his name with minstrel songs - imitation Negro songs from the American cotton fields, like "The Lily of Laguna" (a shepherd boy's serenade to his Mississippi sweet-heart) and "Little Dolly Day-Dream (Pride of Idaho)".
To celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, he produced "The Soldiers of the Queen"; for the musical comedy "Florodora", he wrote his best-seller "Tell Me, Pretty Maiden" - one of several Leslie Stuart 'evergreens' which everybody knows.
The songs are sung, and the story is told by an all-singing, all-dancing company, drawn from the world of musical theatre:
Colin Bennett, Richard Denning, Peter Gale, Angela Richards, Marti Webb, Sheila White, Aubrey Woods


Written By: Tony Staveacre
Singer: Colin Bennett
Singer: Richard Denning
Singer: Peter Gale
Singer: Angela Richards
Singer: Marti Webb
Singer: Sheila White
Singer: Aubrey Woods
Musical Director: Peter Martin
Choreographer: Gillian Gregory
Costume Designer: Prue Handley
Sound: Adrian Stocks
Lighting: Warwick Fielding
Designer: Cynthia Kljuco
Producer: Tony Staveacre
Director: Keith Cheetham

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The Songwriters: Leslie Stuart

BBC One London, 15 June 1978 21.35

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