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Backstairs Billy description
Backstairs Billy – You’ll giggle out loud
William John Stephenson Tallon RVM was also affectionately known as Billy Tallon or Backstairs Billy. He was a beloved steward and favoured member of the Queen Mother's staff at Clarence House. Now the brilliant Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans will star in a comedy about Billy, opening in the West End for late 2023.
The year is 1979 and the royals are operating against an unprecedented backdrop of civil unrest. The play explores the relationship between Tallon – who served the royals for more than fifty years - and the Queen Mother, and the script is apparently hilarious. As Luke Evans said, “When I read the script, it made me giggle out loud so hard. It’s just so entertaining and such a joyous story about these two people: the Queen Mother, who was super famous, but also Billy. He was always there and spent most of his life working for her.”
What's the story behind Backstairs Billy?
In 2009 a Channel 4 documentary, Backstairs Billy: The Queen Mum's Butler, was broadcast to great acclaim. In 2012 Tallon was played by Ian Stark in Tea With the Old Queen by Graham Woolnough, a one-man show based on the fictional diaries of Tallon. It scored a hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was also performed at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre. Now Tallon will be portrayed by Luke Evans in a new play, Backstairs Billy, with Penelope Wilton as the Queen Mother. The play is by Marcelo Dos Santos, directed by Michael Grandage, and it’s on stage at the Duke of York's Theatre this winter. The rest of the cast will be announced nearer the time.
As Grandage said, “It is always a great moment to celebrate the birth of a new comedy in the West End and particularly from an important new voice such as Marcelo Dos Santos. I am thrilled to be working again with Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans alongside a cast of twelve other actors as we bring an exciting new play to the stage this autumn and over the Christmas period ahead.”
Penelope Wilton plays the Queen Mother. Her list of theatre work is impressive, backed with a host of top TV appearances. Taken at Midnight gave her an Olivier Award for Best Actress. A Delicate Balance, Heartbreak House, Hamlet, The Family Reunion, and The Chalk Garden – which delivered an Evening Standard Award for Best Actress – are just the tip of the iceberg.
Luke Evans plays Billy, the first time the actor has been on stage for 15 years. His TV work includes a huge list of hits: Echo 3, Nine Perfect Strangers, Pembrokeshire Murders, The Angel of Darkness, The Grand Tour and many more.
About Backstairs Billy
In 1979 runaway strikes brought the UK to its knees. The nation was on the brink of the seismic changes brought about by Thatcher. But it’s business as usual for the Queen Mother and her loyal servant Billy in the confines of Clarence House. The outside world is kept at bay with glittering receptions and endlessly-flowing champagne. But the two worlds, which couldn’t be more different, are about to collide with dramatic consequences.
Cheap theatre tickets for Backstairs Billy deliver you to a fascinating world, and it’s very funny. Make a note in your diary for the 7th November this year until 27th January 2024 to enjoy a production supported by a top class creative team.
The Set Designer is Christopher Oram and the Costume Designers are Christopher Oram and Tom Rand. The Lighting Designer is Ryan Day, the Music and Sound designer Adam Cork, and the Wigs, Hair & Makeup Designer Carole Hancock. The Casting Director is Jacob Sparrow. Associate Direction comes from Sophie Drake and the Costume Supervisor is Mary Charlton.
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Luke Evans, Penelope Wilton
Playing at Duke of York's Theatre
Mon - 19:30
Tue - 19:30
Wed 14:30 19:30
Thu - 19:30
Fri - 19:30
Sat 14:30 19:30
Sun - -
Backstairs Billy cheap tickets
Was £75.00 Now £65.00
SAVE ON TICKET PRICES Valid Monday - Thursday evenings 20 November - 16 December and all performances 18 - 30 December 2023 Book by 3 December 2023
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