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Planning Retirement Online


May 2014

Cilla Black still winning awards

Many of our generation will have fond memories of the music of Cilla Black. Her hits, including Anyone Who Had a Heart and You’re My World lifted her to international stardom in the 1960s and early 70s. But her career didn’t end there. She went on with a string of hits and then moved her career into comedy acting and television, including Surprise Surprise and her notorious Blind Date programme which started a new trend in live tv.

Last year Cilla celebrated 50 years in show business and now she has just received the Special Award at this year’s TV BAFTA’s awards. This is a serious award and Cilla was following in the footsteps of previous recipients including Simon Cowell, Jeremy Paxman and Kate Adie.

It is all a very long way from her childhood, when she grew up under the name of Priscilla White in Liverpool. It’s interesting though to note that Cilla’s grandfather was Welsh, known for their music ability and it could be through him that her singing talents were born.

But the start of her career was really due to her raucous father who would come home on Saturday nights after an evening out with his mates in the pub, often bringing fish and chips and leading a sing song on his mouth organ. The White home was a small flat above a barber’s shop with little privacy, so young Priscilla and her older brothers couldn’t help but hear the music. They would often toddle out and listen and one day her father spotted her awake and let her join in the singing. She stood on the kitchen table and performed happily in front of all her dad’s friends, and that was the start. She knew she loved performing.

It was a fabulous time to be growing up in Liverpool and her luck was in when she joined the town’s Cavern Club as a cloakroom attendant. She soon wheedled her way into giving impromptu performances, people (including the Beatles who were playing there at the time) were impressed - and the rest is history!

Now Cilla is without doubt a national treasure. After 30 years of happy marriage to her manager Bobby Willis, the country mourned with her when he died from lung cancer in 1999.

And fascination with the star of our childhood continues. ITV is now making a three part drama series on Cilla Black; following the story of the unknown Priscilla White as she pursues her dreams of stardom, through her friendship with the Beatles and onwards through the dramas of her career. In the series Cilla will be played by actress Sheridan Smith and much of the filming is being done in Liverpool taking in many of the famous landmarks including of course the Cavern Club.

The good news is that while it is lovely nostalgia for many people over 50 and 60, younger generations also recognize Cilla’s talent and ITV expect their new series on her to be a hit with all ages.

There is updated information about her on Cilla’s own website at: ITV haven’t officially released the dates yet on when the series will be shown, but we will keep an eye out for you.


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