Welcome back to the Cavern Cilla and all who watched ITV’s new show. There’s some controversy flying around about why Cilla is so important, but hey — she had a great voice, popular songs and even did a couple of very popular TV shows in the 1980s and 1990s. But the show Cilla concentrates more on her relationship with Bobby Willis. Perhaps the most interesting was the depiction of the fab four, yes, the Beatles because Cilla is all about Liverpool in the 60’s.
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t convinced that Cilla Black merited a three-part biopic. Look at the other biographical stuff Jeff Pope, who wrote Cilla(ITV), has been involved with. Pierrepoint, about Albert the hangman; he killed a lorra lorra people. Likewise the moors murderers and Fred West, subjects of See No Evil and Appropriate Adult, respectively. OK, so Mrs Biggs didn’t kill anyone, but that one – starring Sheridan Smith as this does – was about the aftermath of the crime of the century.
Cilla though, what has she done? Well people like her, and she hosted a couple of very popular TV shows in the 1980s and 1990s. And before, she was a singer, had a lot of success in the charts, and hung around a few other people who had even more.
Success and popularity, longevity and famous friends then – is that really enough? I’m not saying you need to have killed people to have your life televised (though you generally do if you want it televised by Jeff Pope), but there should, at least, be a good story.
I was wrong to worry, though. For three reasons. First, it is a good story. Not so much the one about how a young redheaded scally got on stage and sang her heart out, which is nice though hardly unique; but the love story, about Cilla and Bobby Willis (played by Aneurin Barnard).
It doesn’t get off to a brilliant start; he lies, about his age, his job, his car. Then there are other issues, like religion, a battle of egos, power imbalance and the strain on a relationship when one person suddenly becomes very successful (something my own missus knows something about). Somehow it endures though, and will continue to until Bobby dies many years later. That’s touching, and sweet.
Secondly, it’s not just about Cilla, or about Cilla’n’Bobby. It’s also about a time and a place. Liverpool of course, and then, when Liverpool was the centre of the entire universe. Merseybeat, the Cavern, all that. And a certain other four-piece band – pals of Cilla’s, who were beginning to make a name for themselves. (Ringo, played by Tom Dunlea, has the best line of the night: “Hey, Cill, your mother’s on fire.”) Plus Brian Epstein too, though not a major figure in the opener, he lurks poshly and powerfully in the shadows at the back of the Cavern.
Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/sep/16/cilla-glue-tv-review-cilla-black-biopic
Cilla took us back to the 60’s Liverpool scene and brought back a lot of memories for me and for all of us who lived during that time. I was just a pre-teen child but I remember the emergence of the Beatles and the height of the Merseybeat in Liverpool. Oh those were the days my friend, the ones we thought would never end. Oh yeah — Paul McCarney wrote that song! Cilla took me back to the beginning of the best band on the planet.