If ever a beloved celebrity demanded a miniseries biopic it’s fright night Tory piece of shit Cilla Black (Sheridan Smith). Just what transformed Merseybeat’s Typhoid Mary into a class turncoat with her face buried so deep in Thatcher’s snatch only her ankles were visible by the end of the 80s? Let’s find out. With a voice like a foghorn gone wrong, a face like a retarded stoat and the personality of a Avon Lady serial killer it’s
very not hard to see why Shilla was destined for stardumb. The 1960s Liverpool we find young typist Cilla White mired in is one riven by sectarian divides. A good Catholic girl like Cilla has to watch her reputation like a girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius watches the lock on the bathroom door. The only unmarried people getting laid in the baby rape machine called the Roman Catholic Church are the priests. But soon that’s all about to change.
The hard-working people of Liverpool seek refuge from the drudgery of advanced industrial capitalism in The Cavern nightclub. One night Cilla wows the crowd by joining Ringo Starr‘s bland Rory Storm and the Hurricanes on stage and so impressed are they by her strangled primaeval honk they invite her to Hamburg, she believes to front the bland but in actual fact to sell her into white slavery. Her father John (John Henshaw) forbids it saving both rock history and his daughter’s hymen in the process. Not that he gets any thanks for it.
A meeting takes place between Cilla and Bobby “Bob the Prod” Willis (Aneurin Barnard) her future husbland. He’s a singer, member of the Church of England and enthusiastic amputee fetishist. He instantly spots her potential and becomes her manager. Cilla’s got the common touch with the audience, being common herself and it is upon this faculty that her public persona will be built. One day Bob the Prod and Cilla will unite their fortunes and betray the poverty blitzed Liverpudlian proletariat together, drinking champagne from the hollowed out skulls of striking dockers but that is a tale for another day (next Monday, specifically).
One day they will betray the poverty blitzed Liverpudlian proletariat together, drinking champagne from the hollowed out skulls of striking dockers
Because our girl is nothing if not ruthlessly ambitious. She auditions for Brian Epstein (Ed Stoppard) who tells her “I like you because you remind me of a 14-year-old boy I knew” he says “He had fucked teeth as well – once I was done with him anyway”. Epstein’s keen interest means she drops Bob the Prod like a bad habit. She gets the historic opportunity to sing on stage with the Beatles at the Cavern and excited doesn’t begin to cover her emotional state. But when the time comes to perform she stinks the joint out so bad the crowd need World War II gas masks to breathe. It’s a fucking calamity and the management issue immediate refunds, apologies and counselling to everyone in attendance.
She slopes out, humiliated like Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. The Hun made the world pay for their insolence and soon enough so will Cilla. But for now she is still stuck in the typing poo with the working class she despises with every fibre of her being.
The verdict: Work is a four letter word.
Marks out of 10: 7