Throughout her incredible 50-year showbiz career, Cilla Black loved the camera – so it’s perhaps not such a ‘Surprise Surprise!’ that she owned a large collection of home movies.
However, the recent discovery of a stash of video and audio recordings in the attic of her former home in Buckinghamshire has revealed a treasure trove of unseen footage from the late singer and presenter’s life.
The reels date back to 1969, and include clips of Cilla hanging out with The Beatles, touring the world with her husband Bobby, plus family time with their three sons, Robert, Ben and Jack.
Tapes allow the Blind Date legend to give a running commentary on her life as a working-class Liverpudlian who became a much-loved TV icon.
And the one-off special narrated by Sheridan Smith – who played Cilla in a 2014 ITV drama – also has contributions from her celebrity friends.
It’ll be a lorra, lorra laughs – but quite a few tears too.
‘I had a focus in my life apart from getting married and having babies. I knew from the age of three that I wanted to go into showbiz and be a star.’
Friends with the Fab Four…
‘Big-headedly I saw The Beatles while I worked at the Cavern Club and thought: “They’re not that great – I could do that”.
Ringo Starr later asked me to marry him. He was desperate because all the other Beatles had wives or girlfriends.’
‘You know Girl Power and all of that? Trust me, I was the original women’s lib-er.
'I was headlining shows with an all-male bill underneath me. No one else was doing that.’
‘As a girl, my family lived above a barber shop in Liverpool and didn’t even have a front door.
'There was no such thing as family holidays, only day trips to Blackpool or visiting my Auntie Lottie in Manchester.’
Stage return at the 2001 Royal Variety Performance – scantily clad for a burlesque routine…
‘I don’t know what all the furore was about. It was light-hearted entertainment and we had fun.
'I didn’t realise it would steal the whole show.’
A millionaire at 25…
‘The first thing I bought with my earnings was a new home for my mum, Priscilla, but she still complained, saying: “Couldn’t you have got me one closer to a bus stop?”’
‘I don’t know what all the furore was about.
It was light-hearted entertainment and we had fun. I didn’t realise it would steal the whole show.’
Meeting future husband Bobby Willis…
‘I was young and not looking for romance, but he was funny and unbelievably good-looking
' When we got married I didn’t even have a wedding ring, it was a friendship band that Bobby bought me in Hong Kong.
Presenting Blind Date…
‘The contestants’ personalities were what made the public tune into Blind Date week after week. It always made me giggle when we had a lunatic on because I could bring out the best in them.’
Life without Bobby, who died in 1999
‘For the first in my life I was enjoying being single. I hadn’t been single from a very early age.’
Cilla: The Lost Tapes is on Wed 9pm ITV
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