Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Cilla, Part 1

""'Ey, Cilla, no pressure. It's only your whole future depends on it!"

Yes, I know: this sort of thing is generally best done on BBC4. But ITV did a pretty good job with Tommy Cooper recently, so I thought I'd have a look at how they dealt with their very own Cilla Black. 

This may not be a great work of art, but it's fun seeing a recreated Mad Men era Liverpool, with assorted Beatle impressions, a recreation of that iconic shot of the queue just outside the Cavern and a glimpse into the social attitude of this distant yet not-so-distant time. In many ways the protagonists, young enough to be my parents' elder siblings, are similar in terms of social mores than today. And yet, in a clever scene, Cilla is shown kissing a black man and then explaining that her parents wouldn't approve because he's a "prod".this is working class, teddy boy, sectarian Liverpool on the early '60s.

Sheridan Smith is, of course, a true star here. She speaks perfect Scouse and is perfect at Cilla's mannerisms, even singing herself in Cilla's style. We get a real sense of the Merseybeat scene of the era, which sounds bloody fantastic, even if I haven't heard of most of the bands.

Things end in a downer, with Cilla knocked back to a typing pool, and Madison Avenue this ain't. Never mind, though; I suspect stardom beckons...

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