A special gala is being held next month to mark the centenary of James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s birth. The Story of James Bond - A Tribute to Ian Fleming will take place at the West End’s London Palladium on Sunday 5 October 2008 and includes appearances by a host of stars from the world of film and theatre.

The evening, which is in aid of the British Heart Foundation and will be presented by Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry, aims to “revel in everything Bond: the villains, the cars, the guns, the gadgets and of course… the girls”. A 60-piece orchestra will accompany artists including Lee Mead and Lemar as they perform their favourite Bond themes, while actors including Toby Stephens, Patrick Stewart, Roger Moore, Judi Dench and Jeremy Irons will “bring Fleming’s words to life”, reading extracts including previously unreleased material.

The gala marks the final event in the Ian Fleming centenary year, which has included the release of Sebastian Faulks’ new Bond novel Devil May Care and a special exhibition at the Imperial War museum.


In other gala news, Ian Macfarlane’s musical Betwixt!, which premiered at the King’s Head earlier this year (See News, 24 Apr 2008), is holding a special West End performance in aid of our upcoming Whatsonstage.com Awards-adopted charity, Theatre Making a Difference (TheatreMAD), which raises money and awareness to help people affected by HIV and AIDS.

Betwixt! tells the story of Bailey Howard, a writer of fairy tales for adults and his flamboyant friend Cooper Fitzgerald, who are magically transported to the kingdom of Taravatania. Their arrival fulfils an ancient prophecy that the oppressed land and its kidnapped Prince Haydn will be rescued by a conquering hero and a great queen.

Artists scheduled to perform on the night, which takes place on 14 October 2008 at the Ambassadors theatre, include Rosemary Ashe, Tim Howar, Sarah Lark, Sheridan Smith, the London Gay Men’s Chorus and David Bedella. Betwixt! is directed by Kate Golledge, with musical direction by Robert Emery and choreography by Lucie Pankhurst.

For further details and tickets, call 08448 112 334 or visit www.theatremad.org.uk.

- by Theo Bosanquet