TV Ramblings – Cilla (2014)

I wasn’t familiar with any of the people in this 3-part series, but the trailer made me eager to see more of the era and the artistic scene in Liverpool in the 60’s. It’s fun to watch something you know nothing about – this way, you’re not paying attention to any detail and dissecting it. On the other hand, it can be frustrating because you know you’re missing some subtle clues or nudges but don’t know which. I had some trouble with the dialect, so I used English subtitles. They made all the difference and I could watch with ease, especially when characters started to sprout words like fountains.

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The series is about Cilla Black’s early career. For those like me, who heard about her for the first time, she’s a singer, actress, entertainer and media personality. She started her career with the support of The Beatles. She had a diverse career throughout the years and is a well-known hostess to various shows. Not being from Britain, and not from the generation who are most familiar with her, she’s a complete unknown to me.

Cilla is a character that I equal parts loved and was annoyed with in the series. She comes off selfish in certain situations, so the real star of this story is her eventual husband, Bobby Willis. He’s the one I really empathized with for sacrificing everything for her. But I did love the actress – she was amazing and could sing her soul out with perfection. The songs were great and I really loved the series when it focused on Cilla’s music career. I felt that should have been the narrow focus of the story. When the series showed us glimpses of her manager’s difficult situation in life, I was intrigued. Brian Epstein is far more intriguing and tragic than her. Perhaps they should have downplayed his part and produce a separate series for him. Here it only detracted from her story.

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The rather split personality and tone of the series is a major detractor. I’d have to say it’s an average series with moments of great content. It is for fans of the music and Cilla, not the average viewer with little knowledge of the British television shows of the past or their great personalities. I found the supporting cast and their lives more intriguing than the titular character and that is a failing. But it could serve as a distraction on a slow day.

My favourite part of the series and song. 😀

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