Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jubilations! Cliff Steps out of the Shadows to Delight Loyal Fans ... and Tells of His Dark Days

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jubilations! Cliff Steps out of the Shadows to Delight Loyal Fans ... and Tells of His Dark Days

Article excerpt

Byline: Susannah Butter The Viewer

Sir Cliff Richard 60 Years in Public and in Private 9pm, ITV CONGRATULATIONS and celebrations Sir Cliff Richard has made it to 60 years in showbusiness. Jubilations! But it has taken its toll. For Sir Cliff prizes privacy: he sees being a pop star as distinct from being a celebrity and doesn't understand why singing on stage means he should reveal everything about himself. Janet Street-Porter sums it up neatly in the best line of this show: "Cliff is an enigma. He's like the Mona Lisa of pop music."

This programme's official purpose is to celebrate his longevity examining his impact on culture since he changed his name from Harry Webb, shaved off his sideburns and got teenagers dancing with Move It, which John Lennon called "the first British rock record".

However, in August 2014, he had no choice but to talk about himself. His Berkshire home was raided by the police as part of Operation Yewtree, the investigation into allegations of historical sexual abuse. The BBC filmed the raid, and the singer, who strongly denied wrongdoing and was never charged with any offence, sued it for invasion of privacy.

This documentary feels like his way of reasserting himself (on a rival channel). It's evident Sir Cliff is fighting contradictory impulses. He tries to open up, but as he gives us a tour of his secluded Algarve villa you can tell he's more comfortable when he's performing. Talking about himself doesn't come naturally.

Thankfully, younger sister Joan is on hand to help. She looks like him in a blonde wig, and he is more expansive when she's there to prompt, talking about his childhood in India and telling how the past four years have shaken him. They have an easy sibling relationship she's proud and protective, he teases that she doesn't always tell the truth but is today (because she's being nice about him). …

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