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Not Strictly Confidential (June 6, 2008)

Stuff bobbing about in the pool of life that you may or may not know about already

Published on June 6th 2008.


Not Strictly Confidential (June 6, 2008)

“OUR” Cilla’s distant and dim years as host of the hugely successful Blind Date have persuaded her that not only is she the queen of relationships but the queen of cash – thanks to Capital of Culture year.

Cilla is about to become the highest paid panto star in history after her management company asked the producers of Cinderella, the big production to round off Liverpool 08, for "silly money" and - Surprise Surprise to everyone concerned - they got it.

In a £300,000 package for three weeks' work at the Liverpool Empire, the multi millionaire is to play Fairy Godmother, proving, in every sense, that wishes do come true.

Producers First Family Entertainment were said to be so desperate to get reluctant Cilla to top the bill in a stellar cast of scousers, which includes Les Dennis and Jennifer Ellison, that her management were asked to name their price, and so they apparently asked for "silly money", believing it would be turned down. Imagine their astonishment, then, when FFE eagerly agreed to everything "chucked" onto the wish list.

Now the star, who has not played panto for 15 years and is 65 this year, is said to be delighted, and is limbering up for her 39 performances at £7,700 a throw. She will also receive a luxury apartment for the duration of her stint, a chauffeur driven limo and two bottles of champers in her dressing room at every performance (presumably for after the gig).

But a spokesman at the cash-strapped city council was quick to assure us that Cilla's lorra lorra dosh was nothing to do with them. "Live Nation, innit? They're worth millions."

**********

AND why would Cilla want to tread the boards again when her latest venture, the phone line firm Destiny Calls, is doing so well? Destiny Calls specialises in spiritual guidance and the £1.50-a-minute service invites people, the emotionally needy among them, to chat to a team of astrologers, tarot readers and clairvoyants. At the end, they are given the unique PIN of their spiritual phone operator and encouraged to quote this if they want to call back and spend, sorry, hear more.

Cilla reckons that the psychic predictions will help callers make those vital, life-changing decisions. Mind you they didn’t tip her the wink when she was recently at the centre of a jolly good bollocking by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom after she was allowed to brag, at great length on ITV's This Morning about her business and, in the process, add a whole new meaning to the term “professional scouser”.

But maybe the spirit world was just having an off day, so Confidential rang Destiny Calls to see how much they really knew. Unfortunately, we made our excuses and left the chat after 13 very short minutes (the first couple at the beginning tell you how to order a CD of your reading), aware that we were already £19.50 lighter. The spirits, however, only had glad tidings and told us we'd be coming into money at Christmas - just like Cilla, then!

"It won't be a big win, though," added our operator.

Oh well, not like Cilla. What's she playing, again? Not Baron Hardup that's for sure.

SPEAKING of exiled scousers, Alexei Sayle was spotted hither and thither in Liverpool all last summer, camera crew in tow, filming his new series, Alexei Sayle's Liverpool, which finally comes to BBC2 tonight.

Mr Sayle famously slagged the city off before an audience at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2003, sneered at its lack of culture and made some ill-thought remarks about Hillsborough in his excitement. So we were interested to read the Times article he penned last week. He heralded Liverpool as “a great place to visit, especially as this year's European Capital of Culture”, but made no mention of the grovelling apologies he had to make to the city after his original outburst.

But why should he have done? Well apparently Mr Sayle spends a good chunk of the first show atoning for his lack of judgement in 2003, and has been commissioned by the Beeb for a lot of filthy lucre to do so.

Missed a trick there, didn't you Boris?

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FEROCIOUS Everton supporter Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, insisted he kept his lips sealed during a rousing version of You’ll Never Walk Alone at the Phil during the emotional finale of a Bryn Terfel concert a couple of weeks ago.

But those sitting near the guitar-playing minister – he plays with the House of Commons rock band MP4 (Honest!) – let slip that he did murmur a few lines and we bet Bill Kenwright will be fizzing.

The minister, chatting to Phil Redmond and museum boss David Fleming afterwards, also caused a minor kerfuffle when he casually wondered if The Bluecoat Arts Centre was cursed.

Lord Phil looked horrified, and the conversation halted before Andy quickly piped up: “Erm, well I read about the fire and thought, oh no.” The chat quickly moved on to other topics.

**********

IT has been said elsewhere that Liverpool One was built by anyone but scousers. We have no idea if this is true (the Debenhams people were keen to tell us that 700 local jobs would be created) but imagine our horror when we discovered this week that Gustav Klimt, on at the Tate, is actually Austrian without a trace of Liverpool blood. Fecking disgrace, that's what this is.

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CONFIDENTIAL were delighted to be among the first 200,000 people to wander around the new shops last week, but were even more impressed by the underground car park at Liverpool One, managed by Q Park, because we like squealing our tyres in the immaculately kept glossy floors and not being greeted by the odour of urine when exiting the car.

"Are you with the press?" we asked a chap in a an open vehicle, working on a laptop. "No I'm security for the shops."

"Oh, well good to know that the shoplifters will have a hard time."

"Well H&M's still always good for them," he quipped. How we laughed as we wondered if we still had that large baggy jumper to wear on shopping expeditions such as this. Scally forth!

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Liverpool ConfidentialJune 6th 2008.

Whoopsadaisy! Thanks Stanley Street. We've Bryn there and done it (the correction).

Stanley StreetJune 6th 2008.

Who the heck is "Bryan Terfel"? Would the author mean Bryn Terfel, the talented and popular bass-baritone from North Wales? Funny how the talentless Cilla Black's named wasn'r mis-spelt

Stanley StreetJune 6th 2008.

A slapdash approach only Wrexham...

Stanley StreetJune 6th 2008.

Perhaps a pint is in order, perhaps down at the Swan, see...

Les dennisJune 6th 2008.

I'll be having my champagne before the gig

Phil McCrackenJune 6th 2008.

Why knock our luvverly Cilla? She is regularly back here (at least once every 15 years when the price is right). She made her singing debut at The Iron Door Club backed by the Beatles no less (although there is no record of the Beatles ever playing the Iron Door)and she has her own unique accent (like nothing I have ever heard). I for one won't be shelling out to subsidise her Surrey lifestyle

toriblareJune 6th 2008.

Funny how all these exiled scousers, suddenly want to tell everyone how great Liverpool is!It was great until these people crawled out of their posh rocks.I say go back to whence you came and leave the scousers, who were proud of their City before 08 and will carry on being proud after 08, when this lot will have well gone.

Cliff MorganJune 6th 2008.

Don't spill it down your Cardigan, mind...

Stanley StreetJune 6th 2008.

Quite right, liverpool Confidential, but you ought to remember to spell Welsh names Caerphilly...

London RoadJune 6th 2008.

Thanks for that, Stanley. Do you think this adds more Powys to your elbow

Alan TitchmarshJune 6th 2008.

The Bluecoat Chambers is undoubtedly cursed; by the gang of chumps responsible for running and wrecking the place.

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