By Harry Bedford

It’s undeniable that Cilla Black is a national treasure. If her music and television shows wasn’t your thing, you still can’t help but love the Liverpudlian redhead. She was not only a contemporary but a friend of The Beatles. They shared a manager, Brian Epstein, and a producer, George Martin. However Cilla was never subject to their shadow, the charismatic Merseysider was very much a star in her own right.

Sheridan Smith has, much like Cilla, established herself as a household favourite over the years. So she made for an excellent choice to play her in a new three part series celebrating the singer’s rise, simply titled Cilla. Furthermore, Smith impersonates Cilla beautifully, displaying her charm and quirks with ease and she perfects her mannerisms.

Last night saw first in a three part series about the girl born Priscilla White. It was flooded with famous names, Ringo Starr was an early friend as well as many other Liverpool greats of this era, such as Epstein, Rory Storm and the other three of the Fab Four. And it’s not just the iconic people, The Cavern, the tiny cave beneath Mathew Street in Liverpool where The Beatles famously made their name was also a major landmark in the Cilla Black story.

The show was a sincere pleasure to watch. The cinematography captures the romanticism of Liverpool in the early 1960s, the lighting, the clothes, the sets and costumes really transport you back. The raw excitement of the period is demonstrated with lively performances by Rory Storm and The Hurricanes, The Beatles and, of course, Cilla herself. The story of the working class girl from Merseyside who became an icon of the swinging sixties is interesting enough, however it’s the atmosphere and characters that really make the show special.

Catch up with the first episode on ITV Player now and tune in next Monday at 9pm for the second of the three part series. A must-see for any sixties music fan, an enjoyable watch for everyone else.

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