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Cilla Black got a surprise when she set out to film street interviews for her 1968 BBC TV show Cilla. Most people didn’t recognise her.
The idea was for Cilla to pop up in places like petrol stations and supermarkets to ask for requests to sing on the show. She found, as expected, that she was best recognised in her hometown of Liverpool.
In the first nine-week series of 50 minute shows she sang, danced and acted in comedy sketches. She was the first British female performer to have her own television show.
The Beatles wrote her a song called Step Inside Love, especially for the 1968 BBC series.
Probably the most popular segments of her show were the Candid Camera-style pieces where she would have her camera crew knock unannounced on the front door of a house ‘somewhere in Britain’ and proclaim “Mind if we come in and have a look around?”.
She turned up in a lorra people’s streets and her cheerful Liverpudlian nature would immediately disarm the bewildered family and provide a comic commentary throughout the tour of the house, playfully making fun of various treasured knick-knacks and family members.
The BBC shows attracted 21 million viewers and constantly topped the ratings, also winning Cilla the prize of Top Female Television Personality award for five years in a row.
In 1975 Cilla switched to ITV, and during the 1980s went on to become the host of the TV dating game show Blind Date.