Tommy Steele recalled Princess Anne meeting: ‘I knew all about it’ | Movies | Entertainment

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The story of Glenn Miller, with singer Tommy Steele

Sir Thomas Hicks, known professionally as Tommy Steele, is widely regarded as Britain’s first rock and roll star. After being discovered at 2i’s Coffee Bar in Soho, he rose to fame with a series of singles including “Rock with the Caveman” and “Singing the Blues”. He topped the singles chart and his meteoric rise was soon dramatized in The Tommy Steele Story, whose soundtrack shot up the UK Albums Chart.

By the early 1960s he had established a formidable reputation as an all-round performer, starring in numerous West End musical productions and films, including Half a Sixpence, where he played the lead role of Arthur ‘Artie’ Kipps, broadcast today on BBC Two. .

The film sees the life of draper’s clerk Arthur Kipps turned upside down when he stumbles upon an unexpected inheritance and settles into high society, temporarily forgetting his former associates before realizing his mistakes and that money can’t. buy happiness.

Tommy’s work won him an OBE in the 1979 New Year’s Honors, and he was later awarded a Knighthood in the 2020 Birthday Honors for his services to entertainment and charity.

Last year he opened up about receiving a knighthood in an interview with The Independent.

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Tommy Steele receives a knighthood from Princess Anne. (Picture: PA)

Tommy Steel

Tommy Steele meets the Queen in 1968. (Picture: PA)

He recalled the ‘dream’ of receiving his honor from Princess Anne at a ceremony at Windsor Castle and said: ‘[I thought] I’m in the throne room at Windsor Castle.

“I’m honored and going to be knighted.

” Get in the car [to go home] and I’ll think ‘go on, pinch me and say it’s a joke’ – That’s wonderful.

The Princess Royal told her about her career, of which “she knew everything”.

Tommy Steel

Tommy revealed his pride in receiving this honor. (Picture: PA)

He compared the “magic” of the occasion to the opening night of a West End show.

He said: “It has been like a very important first night at the theatre.

“It’s like you’re blessed by something that’s been going on for centuries and then all of a sudden you find out that as an actor you got the part.”

Receiving a knighthood made him feel like he was living in a “fairy tale of show business”, he said, but he couldn’t tell the world about the accolade until it was announced by the palace.

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Tommy Steel

Tommy Steele performing in 1974. (Image: GETTY)

Speaking to the Press Association in October 2020, he said: “You naturally want to ring the world because it’s a wonderful thing.

“But there is this warning. You don’t do that.

“The rules of the game are that you have to keep quiet and accept it, if you wish, and we’ll let you know when we announce it.”

But, the excitement remained, as he recalled: “It’s like being in a panto.

Tommy Steel

Tommy Steele in a leading film role, circa 1957. (Image: GETTY)

“People call you Sir and you think, ‘Blooming heck. Is that in the script?

“It’s wonderful and I haven’t come down to earth yet.”

He added: “I’ve always been very lucky that things have happened to me.

“I went to Half A Sixpence, which was a musical, and then I know I’m on Broadway, then I’m in Hollywood making movies.

“It sounds like a blinking fairy tale and I guess it is. It’s a show business fairy tale.

Having started his career working at various jobs, including a brief stint as a merchant seaman, he thought his showbiz dream was over before it even started.

In 2012 he told the Herald: “I didn’t think you could be English and be a star. I got on the Bermondsey bus and forgot about the dream.

Fortunately, the dream was still very much alive, so much so that even at the age of 85 he remains an active performer and one of Britain’s most beloved artists.

Half a Sixpence airs today on BBC Two at 2pm.

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