The White Queen and Moonfleet actor Aneurin Barnard is to play Cilla Black’s husband Bobby Willis in ITV’s three-part drama retelling the Liverpudlian singer’s rise to fame. The 26-year-old Welsh actor will join Sheridan Smith who is portraying Cilla on the verge of superstardom.
Penned by Jeff Pope, a recent Bafta and Golden Globe winner for hit film Philomena, the drama will focus on the two men who influenced Cilla’s rise to fame – her on-off relationship with Woolworth’s baker Bobby and her friendship with Beatles drummer Ringo Starr who brought her to the attention of the band’s manager, Brian Epstein (portrayed by The Politician’s Husband actor Ed Stoppard).
Also cast in the drama – which begins shooting this week – are John Henshaw (Downton Abbey) as Cilla’s father, John White, and Melanie Hill (Waterloo Road) playing her mother, Priscilla, known affectionately as “Big Cilla”.
Described as a tale of her “rocky rise to fame” and promising to “capture the essence of 1960s Liverpool”, the new drama will be filmed throughout March and April and will take in some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including a depiction of the world famous Cavern Club, where The Beatles’ made their name.