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Now and Then: Cilla Black (1967)


Main image of Now and Then: Cilla Black (1967)
22 November 1967
16mm, colour, 31 mins
Production CompanyAdanac Productions
ProducersBernard Braden
 Barbara Kelly
PhotographyRichard Bayley

Bernard Braden interviews singer-turned-actress Cilla Black.

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Reputedly discovered by John Lennon of The Beatles, who introduced her to his manager Brian Epstein, Cilla Black was already a successful pop singer by the time of this interview with Bernard Braden. She had recently completed work on her first major acting role, in Peter Hall's psychedelic drug comedy, Work Is a Four Letter Word, made in 1967, but released in 1968.

The interview is friendly in tone. Braden, mentioning her "Gracie Fields image" in the press (this description may have originated with rock journalist Nik Cohn), seems to sense that Black has an enduring talent, with the potential to expand into other areas of entertainment. Black, by then already pursuing diverse career paths, mentions her recent tenure in the long running Galton and Simpson stage play, Way Out in London, alongside Frankie Howerd; and goes on to discuss her plans for the future.

Black's canny confidence in her own abilities is apparent throughout; but she does not appear arrogant. She recollects walking on to the set of Peter Hall's film thinking she was "the queen bee", but that she soon found out she had "a lot to learn": there is some discussion of how she had to post-sync her lines for the film to dilute her Liverpool accent. The latter part of the film focuses on her ambitions for the future, as a balladeer and a character actress.

Black had continued success as a singer, and increasingly became known as a television presenter, Hall's odd film, though, met with mixed reviews, and did not help to develop her career as a screen actress.

Vic Pratt

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Video Clips
Complete unedited video (31:09)
Black, Cilla (1943-)
Now and Then (1967-68)