Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Cilla, Part 3

"Fellas don't actually have sex together, do they?"

And so we reach the end of this quietly brilliant miniseries, using first class writing, performances and design to show us a grottier, more working class 1960's in comparison to the showbiz, it becomes clear just how good it's been. Cilla is actually shown to be a bit of a spoilt bitch here, sabotaging Bob's potential showbiz career for purely selfish reasons, while Brian Epstein, so assured and sophisticated on the surface, is shown t be a deeply damaged victim of abuse, his suffering magnified by society's prejudice and his consequential self-loathing. There's real darkness here in what happens to (in this at least) a rather lovely man.

While this is a story of Cilla failing to maintain the momentum of her two number one singles and the desperate need to find a replacement for an inevitably fickle pop career, there's enough charm and wonder to make up for the sad scenes of failure in London and New York. The pride of Cilla's parents, of the older generation but adaptable, is contrasted with Bob's dad, left behind in his sectarian ways and driven to his death by his alienation from this brave new 1960's world.

As usual, Sheridan Smith is amazing, and yet again we get cameos from various Beatles and other '60s figures, this time including Burt Bacharach and, er, Danny La Rue. But behind the smiles and the superficial glamour is the cruel Darwinism of the world of showbiz.

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