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Saint Martin's Lane 85-88, London WC2N 4BG

Backstairs Billy

Closed January 27, 2024

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.

Michael Grandage

Why See Backstairs Billy?

PlaysStars on Stage

brand new comedy

Luke Evans and Penelope Wilton will light up the West End in Marcelo Dos Santo's new comedy about one of the most enduring relationships in the Royal Family's history - that between the Queen Mother and her Page of the Backstairs, William Tallon (otherwise known as the titular Backstairs Billy). 

Directed by Michael Grandage, the play takes us back to 1979, during Billy's first year in service to the Queen Mother. As Britain simmers with political tension during the most tumultuous days of Magaret Thatcher's premiership, the grandeur of Clarence House provides a safe haven. And it's going to take more than a few gin martinis to face the outside world!

In the service of the Queen Mother from 1978 until her death in 2002, William was a steady and faithful Steward. Eschewing tabloid rumours and offers, he never wrote a tell-all memoir and turned down every request for interview. When he died in 2007, his funeral was attended by over 200 mourners, including Derek Jacobi, Patricia Routledge, Paul O'Grady, and the Earl of Snowdon.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 27 October 2023

Cast and Creative


Luke Evans as William Tallon
Penelope Wilton as The Queen Mother
Emily Barber as Anabel Maud/Lady Astlebury
Iwan Davies as Gwydion
Ian Drysdale as Kerr
Ilan Galkoff as Young Billy
Eloka Ivo as Ian
Michael Simkins as Mr Harrington-Bahr/Hugo McCoyd
Nicole Sloane as Mrs Harrington-Bahr/Lady Adeline

David Buttle, Amy Newton, Keanu Adolphus Johnson, Georgie Rhys and Jacob Ethan Tanner.


Written by Marcelo Dos Santos
Directed by Michael Grandage
Set and co-costume design by Christopher Oram
Co-costume design by Tom Ran
Lighting design by Ryan Day
Music and sound design by Adam Cork
Wigs, hair, and make-up design by Carole Hancock
Casting by Jacob Sparrow
Associate direction by Sophie Drake
Costume supervision by Mary Charlton

What we thought


Luke Evans really makes this show shine. Not even to be upstaged by a pair of real life corgis, he imbues Billy with verve and wit

Cast out to her dotage following the death of her husband and her daughter's ascension, life for Her Majesty at Clarence House is akin to a lavish snow globe, relating with her staff far more frequently than her busy family.

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What you thought

7 reviews, average rating: (4.6 Stars)

4.5 star rating

Cherril Anderson: “Backstairs Billy”

I went to see Backstairs Billy last night. The show was fabulous. Luke... more

Steven Wilkins: “Good old fashioned sit com”

It was a joy to watch this comedy, a good old fashioned sit com with plenty... more

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