Cliff Richard exposed Cilla Black’s ‘spying secret’ to ‘find best guy on Blind Date’

Cliff Richard discusses why he chose to never get married

The Mistletoe and Wine crooner became close to Cilla after she bought a holiday home in Barbados, near to one owned by Sir Cliff. He claimed to have become the unofficial “chauffeur” for the Liverpudlian star when they were both invited to the same parties. In his new book, the 80-year-old singer revealed the “secret” behind Cilla being able to find suitable matches on her ITV dating show. 

Cilla spent 18 years as the host of Blind Date until 2003, when the prime-time Saturday evening show was cancelled due to a decline in viewing figures.

At the peak of its popularity in the Eighties, the game show was watched by 18.2 million people before it dropped to 2.9 million for the final episode. 

Despite there being 19 seasons and 375 episodes in total, a mere three weddings blossomed from Cilla’s matchmaking skills.

The former singer, who rose to fame performing alongside the likes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, attended all three of the ceremonies. 

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Cilla’s catchphrases including “Lorra lorra laughs” and “Our Graham”, endeared the nation to her but the star’s greatest Blind Date secret was kept under wraps for decades.

The TV legend, who died after suffering a stroke in 2015 in her Spanish holiday home, made the confession after being questioned by her “great friend” Sir Cliff.

In his book, The Dreamer, he disclosed that he was “in awe” of the songstress during her years as a performer and then was blown away by her success on the small-screen.

The duo first met on Top of the Pops in the Seventies but it wasn’t until their later years in Barbados, when they grew closer.

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Sir Cliff gushed that he “loved Cilla’s company” and was a huge fan of her on Blind Date.

He particularly admired her for being “so funny and smart” and was impressed by her ability to “always put everybody else at their ease”.

When Sir Cliff asked how she was able to “guide the girls toward the best guy”, she replied: “I’ll let you into [sic] a little secret.

“I used to look through the curtains and watch the boys’ rehearsing and plotting their answers to the questions. 

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“I could spot the wrong ’uns a mile off!”

Sir Cliff considered Cilla’s transition from singer to presenter, as “the music world’s great loss and TV’s gain”. 

He hit the headlines this week after he disclosed that he was questioned by police after the murder of BBC star Jill Dando.

The duo were friends and after she was shot dead outside her Fulham home, in London, in April 1999, the singer admitted he “got angry with God” for the “first time”.

Police approached Sir Cliff after finding his name in her address book but the star “couldn’t shed any light” on the killing, the Daily Star reported.

Barry George was convicted for her killing but acquitted and cleared of any wrongdoing in 2008 at a retrial after he spent eight years in prison – the case remains unsolved.

Cliff Richard: The Dreamer was published by Ebury Press in October and is available to purchase here.

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