The very first mention of Cilla Black in the pages of Radio Times was back in 1963 when she appeared on a BBC1 programme called Beat Time. Further down the same page was a programme called The Mersey Sound — “nobody knows quite what it is,” ran the billing, “but it is very loud indeed, and profitable” — a bit like Cilla herself, who soon became synonymous with the music that took the UK by storm.
She was an RT cover star nine times during her career and the last big interview we ran with her was in 2014. Cilla told Andrew Duncan that she wanted the words “Here lies Cilla Black” on her tombstone. “I don’t want people to forget what I think I am. I’m not degrading being a television presenter, but I just find it ever so easy and sometimes it feels like money for old rope.”