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Exclusive: First picture of actress Sheridan Smith filming Cilla in Liverpool

Star snapped relaxing behind the scenes as shooting on the ITV drama gets underway

Sheridan Smith relaxing between scenes filming Cilla in Liverpool

This is the first shot of Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black - taken during filming on Sunday in Liverpool.

Sheridan is relaxing off camera behind the scenes, chatting to crew members during a quick break from shooting the new film, which tells the story of a young Priscilla White's journey from the typing pool to stardom.

The Scottie Road singer's story includes her friendship with The Beatles, her romance with future husband Bobby and her relationship with her manager Brian Epstein.

The film crew is shooting in the city now, using locations including the Cavern Club, and will be here until the end of April.

Earlier the cast was announced for the movie.

Sheridan starts alongside Aneurin Barnard (The White Queen, Citadel, We’ll Take Manhatten) as Cilla’s husband Bobby, Ed Stoppard (The Politician’s Husband, Silent Witness, Branded) as Brian Epstein, John Henshaw (Downton Abbey, Midsomer Murders, South Riding) as Cilla’s father, John White and Melanie Hill (Waterloo Road, Hebburn, Merlin) is Cilla’s mother, Priscilla, known affectionately to her family as Big Cilla.

Cilla tells the tale of the singer's rocky rise to fame and will capture the essence of 1960s Liverpool, the atmosphere of promise and excitement as the Merseybeat music scene was on the verge of exploding in a blaze of tight-fitting skirts, stiletto heels, and beehives.

 

Sheridan Smith is delighted to be taking on the role of the young Cilla.

She said: “I am thrilled to be playing Cilla, as she is a British icon. In the 60s, as a young girl from Liverpool, she had numerous number ones and sang with The Beatles, her life story is fascinating,” said Sheridan.

“I'm so excited and can't wait to start filming. Golden Globe and Oscar nominated Jeff Pope has written it and Paul Whittington, who directed Mrs Biggs is directing.

"Add to that Kwadjo Dajan producing and Lesley Brennan doing the make up and I am working with an absolute dream team. So thrilled to be back at ITV for such an exciting project and to hopefully show a younger audience what a star Cilla has always been and for the older generation they can re-live those swinging 60s! What an era! I can't wait to get up to Liverpool (my favourite city) and start filming. I'm really honoured and just hope I do her story justice,” she added. 

ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea have commissioned Cilla.

He said: “Jeff’s scripts offer an extraordinary insight into Cilla’s humble beginnings and meteoric rise to chart success,” said Steve. “He captures Liverpool life back in the 60s through her eyes and it’s fascinating to thinking of her hanging out back stage at the Cavern Club with The Beatles."

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