Writer Jeff Pope, best known for his raw real-life crime dramas (Appropriate Adult about Fred West, See No Evil: the Moors Murders) takes a lighter touch with a three-part biography of Cilla Black. Sheridan Smith, who does her own singing when she leaps on stage, is the mouthy, giddy, burstingly ambitious young Scouser who wants more than a life lived to the accompaniment of the clacking of the typing pool. It’s 1960 and young working class Cilla White wants to be a star. Inevitably, as with any biopic, there are the occasional lumbering expositional moments: “This is George…he plays the guitar”…. “You’re in the Beatles aren’t you, we chatted with your drummer Pete Best.” But Pope’s deftness makes sure we don’t get too bogged down in such “hello, you must be John Lennon” moments as Cilla, backed by smitten likely lad Bobby Willis (Aneurin Barnard) reaches for the moon.
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