As a matter of subject, I have not personally ever been particularly enamoured with Cilla Black. If last night’s part 1 ITV Drama – Cilla showed anything, it was that she must have had a fascinating life growing up in the ‘Pool in the swinging 60s.
Played rather convincingly by Sheridan Smith, who had no trouble with the accent, look or even the singing. Smith’s Cilla was mates with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr and frequented the lively Cavern club.
Destined to end up in the local business typing pool (and be glad of it as far as her parents were concerned), Cilla attempted to make her way by singing in Cavern guest spots, in the hope it would lead to something better.
It was here that she began to develop her trademark funny patter on stage between numbers, which would serve her well in her later TV career. She missed out on the opportunity to do Hamburg with the Beatles as a supporting female act but got another opportunity to audition for Beatles empressario; Brian Epstein.
The drama was authentic to the period, all crumbling rows of terrace houses with ramshackle shops at their front. The Cavern was particularly captured well as a dark, underground and sweaty Mersey Beat mosh-pit. Punctuated by Cilla, bucking the trend of an ingrained Racist era by snogging a black fellow in the dark corner for kicks.
Although the real Cilla has never been my cup-of-tea, there is no doubt she has led a rather interesting life. Cilla attempts to cover this with a healthy dose of drama. It will definately be worth picking up part 2 of 3 – next week, to see where it goes.
Cilla – ITV – Monday 22 & 29 September – 9pm
Part 1 on ITV IPlayer