Press Centre


  • Episode: 

    1 of 3

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Mon 15 Sep 2014
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 38 2014 : Sat 13 Sep - Fri 19 Sep
  • Channel: 

  • Status: 

The information contained herein is strictly embargoed from all press use, non-commercial publication, or syndication until Tuesday 9 September 2014.
Series overview:
Acclaimed writer Jeff Pope has penned Cilla, a three-part drama for ITV, starring Sheridan Smith as the famous Liverpudlian songbird, Cilla Black.
Sheridan is joined in the cast by Aneurin Barnard (The White Queen, Citadel, We’ll Take Manhatten) as Cilla’s husband Bobby, Ed Stoppard (The Politician’s Husband, Silent Witness, Branded) as Brian Epstein, John Henshaw (Downton Abbey, Midsomer Murders, South Riding) as Cilla’s father, John White and Melanie Hill (Waterloo Road, Hebburn, Merlin) is Cilla’s mother, Priscilla, known affectionately to her family as Big Cilla.
‘Cilla’ tells of her rocky rise to fame and will 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. 
Episode one:
It’s 1960’s Liverpool. There’s a renewed energy and excitement across the city as the Merseybeat music scene takes hold. 
Priscilla White is a typist working in a stifling office environment. She has an amazing singing voice, and yearns for a career in the limelight. After frequenting iconic venues like the Cavern Club and The Iron Door, she is soon mesmerising crowds when invited to perform on stage with rising stars like The Beatles; The Big Three and Kingsize Taylor. 
Childhood friend, Ringo Starr, invites her on tour with his band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, but Cilla’s protective Catholic father refuses to let her go. 
Cilla is distraught, but her spirits are soon lifted when she is swept off her feet by Bobby Willis - a charming, “older” songwriter with a nice car and “successful” career in the music business. 
Unbeknown to Cilla, Bobby is not all he professes to be. In truth, he is the same age as her, works in a bakery, and drives around in hired cars to impress the ladies.  When Cilla discovers this, she confronts him and vows never to see him again. 
Bobby, however, is smitten by her and is desperate to win her back. The opportunity presents itself when he uses a chance encounter to successfully negotiate an improved performance fee for her. Cilla agrees to let him manage her. But the arrangement looks to be short - lived when Cilla, backed by her friends, The Beatles, lands an audition with legendary impresario, Brian Epstein.  
Crest-fallen, and resigned to his fate, Bobby backs away. However, Cilla blows her big chance to impress Epstein when an attack of nerves get the better of her. Devastated by this, she faces up to a future with no singing career, no Bobby and no way out of the typing pool.
Cast overview:
Cilla - Sheridan Smith
Bobby - Aneurin Barnard
Brian Epstein - Ed Stoppard
John White - John Henshaw
Big Cilla - Melanie Hill
George Martin - Elliott Cowan
Robert Willis - Andrew Schofield
Ringo Starr - Tom Dunlea
George Harrison - Michael Hawkins
John Lennon - Jack Farthing
Paul McCartney - Kevin Mains
Burt Bacharach - Daniel Pirrie
Pat - Tara Wells