Thought what with Cilla being the iconic character she is for many generations, she deserved her own thread.
Interesing and divisive character. She will be remembered for being the Queen of British television, even though she herself always wanted to be remembered for her singing. No chance. A huge case of right time, right place. Her shows were on the air in an age of fewer channels and no internet. Saturday and Sunday night TV used to be something of an institution. Blind Date used to run Saturdays. Surprise Surprise ran Sundays.
Some found her grating, but millions tuned into her shows every week, and there is no doubt that she elevated both shows with the warmth and authority she managed to command on-screen. I can remember people pissing tears around at my nan’s gaff when she’d organised a particularly nice Surprise Surprise.
Off-screen, there have been other reports. Some of the newspapers that are printing glowing tributes today have gone after her in the past, implying she was somewhat of a fiend when the cameras weren’t looking. Her Liverpool rep isn’t that great either. She has been supportive of the Tories, is the archetypal professional scouser, despite pronouncing words in ways that I have never heard uttered in this city. I know plenty of people from her generation and a handful of Cavern Club devotees that knew her personally, ms pap’s pop amongst them. There’s not been a lorra “lorra” (none, as it goes), and to this day, I’ve never heard anyone say “fair” the way she did.
She possibly picked the wrong battles post-television. She tried to stoke up a “scouser contest” with Ricky Tomlinson, claiming she was the more authentic Liverpudlian because he’d been evacuated to Blackpool for the war, and she was born in the city. The fact that she obviously thought she could win is perhaps an indication of the degree of her estrangement with her home city. Tomlinson has a long history of activism, even getting locked up for it, and only moved off the densely packed County Road (anyone that has been to Goodison will know it) after several years of fame and reportedly, a lot of nagging from Ms Tomlinson. He still lives in the city. He’s got a modest apartment in the city centre. Cilla went to London, never looked back, and from a local perspective, made her career from a Chicken Tikka version of Liverpool that became annoyingly dominant.