I was never a fan of Cilla Black, not even before she absolutely murdered Dinonne Warwick’s song ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’ and certainly not when she was making a lorra lorrya money by overplayng the Scouse accent and common little slapper from Scottie Road persona while fronting some of the crappiest shows on television.
My wife hated her with a passion however. One night in the 1960s Teri had a ticket to a Dustry Springfield show but on taking her place in the audience learned that Dusty had a sore throat and would be replaced by Cilla.
But though Teri has never forgiven the scouse songcrusher I had nothing against the woman. I did not quite buy into all the eulogies following her death. And it seems I was not alone in the heresy of denying the divinity of St. Cilla
These lovely anecdotes are from Popbitch:
Cilla, The Tough Boss
You may have wondered what with all the glowing tributes to her immediately after her death how it could be that someone apparently so cherished and loved could get so little telly work in her later years.
Ageism? Possibly. Changing tastes in light entertainment? Quite probably. But the main reason was that one of the top bods at ITV very determinedly blackballed each and every attempt that Cilla made to get on screen.
Why the personal vendetta? Because the exec in question started out as a runner. On Blind Date.
One early task was to fetch Cilla some salmon sandwiches for her and some guests. The runner got the nicest smoked salmon sarnies they could find. But all they got for their efforts was a bollocking from Cilla in front of her guests as she only liked tinned salmon, not smoked.
Cilla, The Kleptomaniac
As far as celebrity riders go, Cilla Black had one of the most consistent. Wherever she went, she demanded champagne and two glasses. She never left the glasses behind though, she always took them home. A thrifty move, as when she hosted a big party at home she didnt need to hire glasses because she had a collection of around 300 Granada flutes.
Cilla, The Shopper
Cilla would do most of her weekly shopping at a small grocery store called Fishers in Gerrards Cross. Despite there only being three check-out counters in the tiny store, when Cilla had finished her weekly shop she would, without fail, refuse to line up at an open counter even if there was only one person in front of her.
Instead, she would go and stand in front of one of the unmanned counters until someone opened it up especially for her. True to form, she would never speak to the staff to request it, just stand there staring daggers until someone did so.
Cilla, The Intercity Commuter
When ITVs flagship daytime programme This Morning was based out of Liverpool, Cilla would make appearances on the show to plug Blind Date or Surprise Surprise.
And why not? It would be easy to get a local girl on, wouldnt it? Erm, not quite She would always demand a chauffeur-driven car to bring her up from London on the morning of the show as she didnt want to be in Liverpool the night before.
Which is fine for a one-off but a very similar thing happened when she did a panto season in Liverpool.
Cilla, Showbiz Royalty
First off, in the interests of balance, we should say that Cilla did have a couple of friends from the world of old-school showbusiness. (She referred to Christopher Biggins and Paul OGrady as her good fairy and bad fairy, respectively. Lionel Blair also had a metric ton of eulogy to deliver on the Sunday that news broke.)
You may not know the Patton Brothers, but they are the real-life brothers of the Chuckle Brothers. They have a reputation in the business for being consummate professionals. Unanimously described as being hard-working, mild-mannered and excellently disciplined, they are never anything less than gentlemen and they famously refuse to tell tales on anyone or say anything snide about any of the people theyve ever worked with.
Except for Cilla Black, that is for whom they make a special exception. They described her, simply, as being a cunt.