Welcome to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Manchester streets, landmarks, buildings and events from bygone days with today.

Our main image this week shows popular singer and entertainer Val Doonican with stars from the Royal Ballet at Manchester’s Palace Theatre. The date is October 1975.

Doonican was actually gate-crashing the Royal Ballet production of Giselle to publicise his forthcoming Christmas show – although dancers Margaret Barber, left, and Maina Gielgud didn’t seem to mind.

We’re not sure what they made of the Irish crooner’s ballet steps though!

Doonican was at the height of his fame at the time with his own TV show and a string of hits in the UK charts, including Walk Tall and Elusive Butterfly.

At their peak, Doonican’s Saturday night programmes attracted audiences of more than 19 million viewers in the 1970s. His BBC show ran from 1965 to 1986.

The formula always included Doonican, usually wearing a cardigan, delivering songs from his rocking chair in his easy listening style. These included the comic classics Delaney’s Donkey and Paddy McGinty’s Goat.

Irish comedian Dave Allen got his first break on Doonican’s show and regular guests included Bob Todd and Oldham actor and entertainer Bernard Cribbins.

Doonican appeared in three Royal Variety performances and won the Variety Club of Great Britain BBC-TV Personality of the Year three times.

Our modern image from July 2015 shows another great trouper at the Palace – former rock-and-roll singer and all-round entertainer Tommy Steele.

He was in Manchester as the lead artist in the new stage production of the Glen Miller Show

*Many more images from Then and Now are featured in The Changing Face of Manchester on sale now at £14.99.

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