Sir Cliff Richard is poised to return to the charts after fans backed a social media campaign to buy one of his hits in support of the star following a sex abuse claim.
Download sales of "I Still Believe In You", previously a number 7 hit in 1992, have pushed the song back up to no 43 in the Official Chart Company’s midweek update.
Sales data shows that the song is currently less than 500 copies short of a Top 40 place at the midweek stage.
Fans on Facebook and Twitter pledged to purchase the song, in support of the singer, 73, who denies a claim that he sexually assaulted a boy under 16 at a rally by US evangelist Billy Graham at Sheffield's Bramall Lane stadium in 1985.
The song would be Sir Cliff’s first chart entry for five years. If it makes the Top 40, the BBC, which faces mounting criticism over its coverage of the police raid on the star’s Berkshire home, would ordinarily be required to play it during Sunday’s Radio 1 chart countdown.
Its lyrics include: “Other dreams may turn to dust, But I don't care, if you'll be there I'll always trust, 'Cause I believe in all my heart and soul, This dream we share is true, And I still believe in you”. But Radio 1 may have to explain to its young listeners why the song has suddenly appeared in the chart.
Cliff Richard: Life in pictures
Cliff Richard: Life in pictures
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Richard aged 18 at the Hulton Boys and Girls Exhibition at Olympia's Disc Theatre in August 1959 when he was lead singer of the Drifters
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Pictured in 1962 with members of the Shadows, his backing group. Next to him is Bruce Welch, who played rhythm guitar
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With his backing group, the Shadows, Richard became a massive pop star in the 1960s with a string of hit albums and singles including ‘I love You’ (1960), ‘the Young Ones (1961), Bachelor Boy (1962) and ‘Summer Holiday (1963)
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With his mother, Dorothy, and one of his sisters in 1964
Michael Stroud/Daily Express/Hulton Archive
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Outside the Royal Albert Hall where he represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in October 1967
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Cliff Richard in 1968
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Cliff Richard poses in front of his disc awards in the 1970s
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On stage at the 1981 Royal Variety Performance, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London
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In an interview with the Daily Mail in 2008, Sir Cliff is reported as saying: "Of all the women I've known, there were only two that I've come close to marrying. One was Jackie Irving, a dancer whom I met in Blackpool. She was utterly beautiful and for a while we were inseparable. The other girl I came close to asking was Sue Barker, whom I met in 1982"
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Orchestrating a round of singing as rain delays play during the 1996 Wimbledon tennis championships
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Performing a duet with Flemish singer Helmut Lotti during a rehearsal of Lotti's album and TV broadcast 'Pop Classics' on 6 August 2003 in Brussels
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Performing on stage during the 'Intelligent Finance Cliff Richard Tennis Classic' at Birmingham National Indoor Arena on 18 December 2004
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Arriving with Brian May at the Royal Film Performance and World Premiere of 'The Chronicles Of Narnia' at the Royal Albert Hall on 7 December 2005 in London
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Unveiling a plaque of his handprints in Wembley Arena's Square of Fame on 9 November 2006 in London
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Sir Cliff Richard and The Shadows performs live on stage at the O2 Arena in London on 28 September 2009
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Cliff Richard attends a press conference to announce details of his new album at Gilgamesh on 7 March 2011 in London
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Queen Elizabeth II is introduced to Sir Cliff Richard backstage after the Diamond Jubilee, Buckingham Palace Concert on 4 June 2012, along with Sir Elton John, Sir Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, and Shirely Bassey
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Sir Cliff Richard at the 2012 US Open. The crooner claimed One Direction still compete with him to 'look cool'
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Performing on stage during the Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace in 2012
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Cliff Richard attends the 'Willkommen bei Carmen Nebel' show at Volkswagen Halle on 23 November 2013 in Braunschweig, Germany
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Richard, 73, is one of the most successful British recording artists
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Sir Cliff, born Harry Webb, has sold an estimated 21.5 million singles in the UK and 250 million worldwide during a career spanning over 50 years
A rallying call, “Let's fight back for Cliff,” was posted on the Cliff Richard Radio Facebook page. Sue Dungworth, who runs the Lincs and East Yorks Cliff fan club, said getting the song in the charts would “reinforce that his real fans are behind him and be a statement to the rest of the world.”
Meanwhile Sir Cliff pulled out of a ceremony where he was to be awarded the Keys of the City of Albufeira near his holiday home in Portugal.
A dozen others were given medals of merit during a day of celebrations to mark the granting of an ancient charter.
Sir Cliff told officials he would not be there and stayed in his villa in the hills above the Algarve resort where he has had a summer home for more than 50 years.
Mayor Carlos Silva e Sousa told Sky News that Sir Cliff had planned to attend the ceremony but sent a message recently to say he had to decline the invitation.
The singer has also pulled out of a charity concert he was due to perform at Canterbury cathedral next month. A spokesman for Sir Cliff, said he did not “want the event to be overshadowed by the false allegation.”
The BBC News coverage of the police raid threatens to engulf Tony Hall, BBC Director-General Tony Hall, in his first full-scale crisis. He has been summoned to explain himself by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.
The committee's chairman Keith Vaz demanded to know how the BBC found out about the raid. Nick Herbert, the former policing minister, suggested the relationship between broadcaster and police force may have been corrupt.
The police search of his home may have been illegal because officers failed to tell a court about a deal with the BBC to televise it, senior law figures have said.
South Yorkshire police confirmed that the magistrate who approved a search warrant for Sir Cliff's Berkshire penthouse over an abuse allegation was not told about the force's agreement with the broadcaster, which was given the date of the operation.
Sir Cliff has described the abuse claim as “completely false” and hired the top criminal lawyer Ian Burton. He has yet to be interviewed by police.