Cilla Black is undoubtedly one of the legends of British showbiz, enjoying a career that spanned several decades. The songstress rose through the ranks alongside The Beatles, following her humble beginnings working as a cloakroom assistant at the world famous Cavern Club. But could unearthed photographs and video clips reveal a fondness and favouritism for Fab Four member Ringo Starr?
While most people were busy swooning over frontmen John Lennon and Paul McCartney, as the band skyrocketed to international fame, it could appear that Cilla actually preferred the band’s drummer.
TV’s ‘Cilla Black: The Lost Tapes,’ which airs tonight at 9pm, reveals that the Beatle actually proposed to her too.
Unseen footage and audio tapes were discovered in black bin liners, stashed all over Cilla’s home in Denham, Buckinghamshire, after her death in 2015.
Her sons Robert, Jack and Ben, found them while clearing out belongings in preparation to sell the family abode.
Songstress sweetheart Cilla Black appears to be proposed to by Ringo Starr in this 1968 photograph
The Liverpudlians appear to be very close as they rehearse for a performance in the BBC Theatre
Robert, 49, told the Daily Mail: “It was poignant knowing we were selling the family home we’d lived in all our lives, but it was also amazing to find all this sentimental stuff.
“We found these incredible tapes. They were in the attic, the games room, the larder, they were everywhere.
“I picked out one tape and it was her talking at a concert and singing a lullaby she used to sing to me.
“I got a bit choked up listening to it. But there were bags and bags full of tapes and it was a bit overwhelming, so we put them all in a pile to listen to later on.”
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As Cilla posed for the cameras in November, 1965, Paul McCartney made an amusing hand gesture
Cilla explained that the musician had joked about popping the question.
In the clip, she said: “He was desperate because the other Beatles had girlfriends.
“So I called his bluff and said if he posted the banns in 48 hours, I’d do it.”
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Ringo stares into the camera as Cilla talks to guests at the National Beat Group Competition in 1964
Cilla crosses her hands over her heart in these rehearsal photographs from 1968 in London
Further photographs of the pair dancing together in February 1968, appear to show their adoration for one another.
The heartwarming stills were taken during a rehearsal of the “soft-shoe shuffle” at the BBC theatre, in Shepherds Bush, London.
Ringo, who can be seen sporting his infamous handlebar moustache, was dressed in a pinstripe suit and a bright tie.
Cilla wore a furry, short-sleeved dress and near-knee high boots.
Ringo spins Cilla as they appeared to laugh and hold close eye contact
Ringo appeared to have tickled Cilla with this unusual dance move that saw him leap into the air
In one image the pair strike a symmetrical pose for the camera, as Cilla beamed and clenched her hands, while Ringo held a lit cigarette.
As the pair danced they smiled and held each others stare, even as they brushed up against one another.
In more intimate moments, Cilla was seen pressing her hands against Ringo’s chest and mirroring each other’s dance moves.
Another shows the ‘Blind Date’ star with her hands crossed over her heart while she gazed at the drummer.
Cilla with the love of her life, songwriter, Bobby Willis on their wedding day on January 25, 1969
Tragically Bobby died from lung cancer in 1999, and several years later Cilla quit left the TV world
Thereafter, Cilla had already made millions from her singing career and success on showings including ‘Surprise, Surprise’.
She later stepped away from the world of TV in 2003 and entered what would become known as her ‘wilder’ years – as she partied with the likes of Simon Cowell and Paul O’Grady.
Her son Robert said that despite being 60 years old the star was regularly “going out until 3am”.
He added: “It was a very different life to the one she’d had with my dad, and I knew what he’d say, but he wasn’t alive.
“For me the most important thing was that she was happy, but I was worried. As a family entertainer she needed to be careful if she bumped into unsavoury types.”
In 2015, Cilla was found dead on the sun terrace of her Costa del Sol holiday home at the age of 72.
It would be revealed that she suffered a stroke after she fell and hit her head.
Cilla Black died at the age of 72 in the Costa del Sol, in Spain
The Scouse songstress had many celebrity friends including The Beatles
The singer’s funeral took place in St Mary’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool, on August 20, and was attended by around 340 people.
Among the mourners were O’Grady, Cliff Richard, Carol Vordeman and Christopher Biggins.
She was laid to rest in Merseyside and, in accordance with her last wishes, remembered for her musical talent at her grave.
Cilla’s publicist during her last two decades, Nick Fiveash, told The Mirror: “She always said she wanted to be buried and she wanted on her headstone ‘Here lies Cilla the singer’.
“If you read interviews over the years, there was always a bit where she used to say ‘I don’t want to put down my TV presenting career but I have always thought of myself first and foremost as a singer’.”
Now 15 years on from the singers tragic end, she is remembered for her beautiful singing voice, presenting talent and charm.
In a recording, aired in the ITV documentary, the star could be heard stating that she was aware of how groundbreaking her career was.
Not only was she a strong and empowered woman in the public eye but also someone with a regional dialect on television during an era where received pronunciation (RP) was the norm.
Commenting on the documentary, son Robert said: “Mum was a lovely person to be around, and that’s why audiences loved her. I think they’ll love seeing this other side to her.”