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Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:34 pm
by AndyM
Anybody watch this ? I expect it's a bit naff, or more than a bit, but a three-part biographical drama about any British pop star is a rarity, so I intend to watch the first part on catch-up tonight.

She's never been cool, I realise, and her decent records, stacked vertically, wouldn't hide the whole of the skirting board, but her career is still quite an achievement, even if she morphed in later life into something one could not inaccurately call an old Tory battleaxe. And the Merseybeat context that produced her is not exactly without interest in these here parts (though I dare say its representation will leave something to be desired).

Of course, what we really want is The Dusty Story, but that's unlikely to happen any time soon........

Re: Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:45 pm
by Adam Blake
Haven't watched it but probably will. Cilla made at least two great records - "It's For You" and "Step Inside Love" - both written by her old mucker Macca. As far back as 1969, Nik Cohn described her as a "Pop Gracie Fields" (yes, I know Gracie Fields was pop but he was talking in a rock'n'roll context). Would you say that was true? That her very ordinariness was her appeal - not too sexy, not too talented, just a nice girl. An ordinary girl.

Her soft voice is pleasant enough, but her "belting" voice is unlistenable.

This demo is just gorgeous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KyvGnJn5Ms

As for Dusty, I live in hope! Interest in her is just as strong as it ever was, and the British appetite for tragedy would surely lap it up.

Re: Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:09 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Agree Dusty would make a much more interesting story but for me of course this was fairly unavoidable viewing. And it wasn't bad as these things go. The girl who plays Cilla, Sheridan Smith, does her own vocals, 'recorded live on set' it says on the credits, which must be some sort of first. And conceivably sings better than Cilla.

Numerous quibbles though. The accents are very uneven. People in those days did not hug. Rory Storm was blonde. The Lennon and Ringo impressions are way off (can't wait to see Epstein, he hasn't appeared yet). Beryl Marsden isn't so much as sidelined but pretty much set up to look second best to Cilla. Cilla is shown singing 'Somebody's Always Trying' with Kingsize Taylor in 1960, a tune which Ted didn't cover himself until 1965 (the US original was 1964).

But nicely filmed with good period detail, watchable in a pleasant sort of way. Bit like Cilla herself really.

Re: Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:17 pm
by AndyM
That demo of Step Inside Love is absolutely wonderful, Adam, thanks for the link. Pop Gracie Fields ? Pretty much, and the scale & scope of Cilla's national media popularity was truly impressive. Yes, Lulu, Dusty & Sandie all fronted their variety series, but Cilla's was the biggest by far. She was, if you want another comparison, the female Cliff Richard, but I know that might not sound like much to many reading it here!

Agree with you, Hugh, the programme is good if limited, and Sheridan Smith is stellar. Also fun to spot different generations of Scouse character actors lining up to do their bit - Doreen Corkhill from Brookie! Zak from Hollyoaks! etc etc.

Re: Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:02 am
by Rob Hall
Having now watched it:
AndyM wrote:good if limited, and Sheridan Smith is stellar.

As ever, Mr Medhurst nails it.

Re: Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:27 pm
by alister prince
I certainly prefer the demo to the 'finished article'. I'm afraid I never got over her murdering Anyone Who Had A Heart. At the time, to me, she started as Epstein's attempt to cover the market by having a personable local young woman on his rosta. It wasn't about talent (Dusty, etc), it was about presentability. Hence her quick acceptance by the BBC as the face of 'youthful female 'talent' - and it worked.She went down well on the chat shows which must have helped. I won't be watching, but admire Sheridan Smith as an actor.
Aly

Re: Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:45 pm
by NormanD
I'll think she'll progress from being Gracie Fields (without the scandal of an Italian husband) to become Vera Lynn. Or Anna Neagle with a posh scouse accent.

Re: Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:46 pm
by AndyM
Don't disagree with most of that, Alister, but you're leaving out the fact that she had huge public appeal. The BBC can't just foist someone on the audience and guarantee success, so she clearly had something that huge numbers of people recognised, responded to, and loved. And it soon went way beyond music (which, many might say, was just as well).

Re: Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:24 pm
by alister prince
You're right Andy. I wasn't joking about the chat shows. I remember her being a hugely popular guest. She was very relaxed on camera and came across as a 'natural'. Great for the hosts as they didn't have to work to get her going. I guess it was stuff like this that gave the beeb confidence. Dusty, Sandi, Lulu sold lots of records, but didn't have the universal popularity of Cilla, even though she was the least good musically.

Re: Cilla (ITV)

PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:06 am
by Jamie Renton
A lot less crap than anticipated. Quite good in a "Hey kids, let's do the show right here" kind of way.

There wouldn't be much of a series without Sheridan Smith. But special mention also to the actor who plays Cilla's would be boyfriend/manager (doesn't he end up marrying her?) I may not have first hand experience of Liverpool in the early 60s, but I've certainly been a lovelorn doofus in my time and thought that was well portrayed here.

And anachronistic it may be, but it's still always a pleasure to hear this (in whatever form): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z9A4DbWlA0