Chelsea was a weekly international cabaret show broadcast from what used to be the
Chelsea Palace Theatre, King's Road, London. After the theatre closed in March 1957
it was re-
It was a studio bound variety show, without an audience, probably trying to appropriate
a night club atmosphere. The chosen director Coby Ruskin had previous experience
in working on on high-
Resident vocal group The Granadiers would be led by session singer Cliff Adams, while Peter Knight was the show's musical director. The show would have a host for the first few series, but by early 1959 the idea was dropped. The debut show starred American ventriloquist Edgar Bergan and French singing star Jacqueline Francois giving us a taste of what was to come.
On 8th April 1958 the show was moved to an earlier spot, so became Chelsea At Eight. There would also be Chelsea Summertime in 1958, featuring regular singer Maureen Cannon, before returning to its nine o'clock spot in autumn 1958.
A TV Times piece in 1957 explained "The aim is to increase the variety by featuring artists not normally associated with variety shows." As such, it enticed some of the best names in the business, including violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and in the process receiving the biggest fee the show had paid anyone. The following week, Stephane Grappelli appeared. The two violinists would late make recordings together. The show favoured jazz and blues acts like Diahann Carroll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Johnny Dankworth, The Jazz Couriers, Abbey Lincoln and Ella Fitzgerald, but the show would become famous for hosting Billie Holliday's final TV appearance, and her only known visual take of her song Strange Fruit, broadcast on on 18th March 1959. A colourised version of the clip was used in a 2020 documentary.
After a panto' production of Cinderella featuring many of Granada's stars the show came to an end.