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From cloakroom girl to TV’s best-loved presenter, the irreplaceable Cilla Black in her own words


For many of us, our Saturday nights while growing up started with one woman's massive toothy smile and warm Merseyside welcome. Like drinking a cup of tea, Cilla Black became a kind of comforting and fail-safe constant in our lives and the "mother hen" of British television, as the star brilliantly put it in a Guardian interview last year.

So we know we're not alone when we say that the star's death on Saturday - she passed at her home in Spain at the age of 72 - hit us in the stomach. 

Her career spanned 50 years, first shooting to fame as a pop starlet in the 1960s with songs Anyone Who Had A Heart and You're My World and then moving on to become the first woman to have her own prime-time chat show on BBC1, hosting Blind Date and Surprise Surprise. She was the highest paid woman on television at the time. 

It was her Merseyside wit, unaffected approach to life and ability to feel like everyone's friend or auntie that made her truly remarkable.

Her critics described it as “the phenomenon of ordinariness” and "unsophisticated girl-next-door image”, but that was the very thing that cemented Cilla - born Priscilla White - in the nation's heart.

Which is why we thought it's only fitting to take a moment to celebrate her down to earth wisdom and witty one liners.

With it we say give thanks to Cilla for all the good times spent in front of the television - you really are a legend.

Cilla Black in the 1960s

Cilla Black in the 1960s

On being genuine
"I was so ordinary, critics couldn't understand it, but looking back, that was the reason for my success. What you see is what you get. People thought, 'I could do that.'"

On faith
"I've pulled back from trying to control my destiny and gone back to accepting whatever fate has in store for me. I live for today because I don't know what'll happen tomorrow."

On being a natural high
"I never did acid, I am just so high anyway."

Singing sensation; Cilla Black in the 1960s

Singing sensation; Cilla Black in the 1960s

On being in the kitchen
"My idea of baking is buying a ready-make cake mix and throwing in an egg."

On breaking the glass ceiling
"You know, when people ask me do I believe in feminism - well, I didn't even know I was a feminist. I was the top of the bill, I've always been the top of the bill. So I don't know what equality is.

On fashion
 “Class, I haven’t, but style I’ve got.”

On selfies
"I don't like the selfie because it's too close. There ain't no people with arms long enough to do a selfie of me."

The star on her own talk-show in 1989

The star on her own talk-show in 1989

On ageing

"The nicest thing about coming of age is that I can do whatever I like."

"I'm 71, living disgracefully. I can't get over Lily Allen being partied out at her young age! I'm still partying!"

"On my gravestone, I want 'Here lies the singer,' not 'Here lies the T.V. presenter'"




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