Sheridan Smith is set to light up the small screen tonight as Liverpudlian songstress Cilla Black in a much-anticipated biopic.
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The English actress, 33, will appear in the three-part drama charting the originally named-Priscilla White’s rise to fame.
Written by Jeff Pope, the mini-series also stars Aneurin Barnard as Cilla’s husband Bobby and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein.
Cilla achieved chart success in the Sixties with number one singles “Anyone Who Has a Heart” and “You’re My World”.
The programme depicts the excitement surrounding the Merseybeat music scene as a yet-unknown Cilla rubs shoulders with the young Beatles.
Bafta Award-winner Smith has said that she didn’t set out to “mimic” Cilla in her performance.
“A lot of people mimic Cilla, don't they? I didn't want to do her a disservice. There are hints and mannerisms in there, but it's our version of her,” she said.
And her decision has reaped praise form the woman herself.
“She’s so believable,” Cilla said of Smith in an interview with the Radio Times.
“She’s prettier than me, a better actor, obviously, and captures the essence of the young me. How she sung with those teeth in I’ll never know.”
However, despite her self-deprecation in terms of her acting abilities, Cilla remains confident in her gift as a singer.
“Today, I’d be first in the queue for The X Factor and there’s no doubt whatsoever that I’d win ,” she said.
“Fame was my objective. I’d have been very happy on £25 a week. I didn’t know how much I earned, and when people said I as the highest-paid person on TV I wasn’t interested.”
Cilla airs on ITV tonight (Monday 15 September) at 9pmReuse content