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On the 150th anniversary of her birth, and to celebrate International Women’s Day, Alison Young and Christine Padwick from the British Music Hall Society look at the life and career of the first female celebrity of popular entertainment. Irreverent, generous, bold and mischievous she exemplified the gusto of the Music Hall, the one place in Victorian England where a woman could be in control. She spanned the peak years of this unique form of entertainment from her first appearance at the age of 15 until her death in 1922. Loved by her audiences she counted Edward VII, George Bernard Shaw and T. S. Eliot among her fans. In contrast her private life was often unhappy; married three times, she suffered humiliation and domestic abuse. Something passed out of the Music Hall when she died; it was dying itself, but her songs linger on with 'The Boy in the Gallery', 'Don't Dilly Dally', 'A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good' and 'Oh Mr Porter'.
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