1. ITV Report

Cilla drama will "capture the essence of 1960s Liverpool"

Sheridan Smith at the Bafta Awards in 2013. Credit: PA
John Henshaw will play Cilla's father, John White Credit: PA

The supporting cast for ITV's new drama about the life of Liverpool singer Cilla Black has been revealed.

Sheridan Smith, who plays the lead role, will be joined Aneurin Barnard as Cilla’s husband Bobby, Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Downton Abbey's John Henshaw as Cilla’s father, John White and Melanie Hill plays is Cilla’s mother, Priscilla, known affectionately to her family as Big Cilla.

‘Cilla’ tells of Black's rocky rise to fame and aims to capture the essence of 1960s Liverpool, the atmosphere of promise and excitement as the Merseybeat music scene was on the verge of exploding in a blaze of tight-fitting skirts, stiletto heels, and beehives.

A young, unknown Cilla works in the austere environs of the typists’ pool at a local company, dreaming of stardom. The drama looks at how she met the two men who came to love her and ultimately fought over her - future husband Bobby Willis and legendary manager Brian Epstein, the tragic young businessman who also guided the career of The Beatles.

The drama will show Cilla’s burgeoning friendship with John, Paul, George and Ringo - the four young men who went on to conquer the music world - shaped her career.

It was family friend Ritchie Starkey (Ringo), the teddy-boy with a greasy quiff, who help her to cross paths with Brian Epstein and producer George Martin - who were to launch her career with recording sessions at the world famous Abbey Road Studios.

Filming of Cilla begins in Liverpool throughout March and April and will take in some of the city’s most famous landmarks including the world famous Cavern Club.

Aneurin Barnard will play Cilla's husband and manager, Bobby Willis. Credit: PA

I am thrilled to be playing Cilla, as she is a British icon. In the 60s, as a young girl from Liverpool, she had numerous number ones and sang with The Beatles, her life story is fascinating.

– Actress Sheridan Smith

The scripts offer an extraordinary insight into Cilla’s humble beginnings and meteoric rise to chart success.

– Steve November, ITV's Director of Drama
Ed Stoppard takes the role of Brian Epstein. Credit: PA