The entertainer spoke about her glittering career at a recent RTS event
Cilla Black, the singer and much-loved television presenter, has died.
Black’s showbiz career began in the clubs of Liverpool, where she often sang alongside her friends The Beatles.
It was John Lennon and Paul McCartney who wrote Black’s first single, Love of the Loved, which went to number 35 in the charts. However, it was her version of Anyone Who Had a Heart, originally recorded by Dionne Warwick, that propelled her to number one and set her on the way to becoming a national treasure.
"Television found me, I didn't find TV," Black claimed at an RTS Legends Lunch in December, where she collected the inaugural RTS Legends Award.
Her first series, Cilla, ran on BBC One for eight series, where it was watched by up to 22 million people, ending in 1976.
In 1984, Black moved to LWT, presenting live light entertainment show Surprise Surprise. Thanks to her husband and manager Bobby Willis, she became the highest-paid female entertainer on British television.
"If I knew I was the highest paid person on television, it would have frightened the life out of me. I was doing what I did best – going on stage and wearing the frock," she told the RTS in December.
Black’s television career was dominated by Blind Date, the dating show that was an integral part of Saturday night entertainment for 18 years.
Black’s tongue-in-cheek approach to meeting the show’s ludicrous contestants was just one reason the show resonated with audiences.
It became a lifeline for Black when her husband died in 1999.
She told the RTS: "When I did Blind Date, I forgot about the whole world and everything going on in my life.”
Throughout her glittering television career, Black collected a host of RTS Awards, including the Presenter Award in 1996.
It was music, however, that remained her first love. She still recalled the feeling of being stood on her kitchen table, singing The Good Ship Lollipop to a rapt audience.
I thought, 'This is wonderful,' and so it went on from there."