Thanks to a lot of support from her friends, she quickly became a mini-celebrity in her neighbourhood, performing alongside so many legendary acts that were fundamental in establishing the “Mersey Sound”, such as The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Fourmost and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.
Her show regularly commanded staggering audience figures of between 18 and 22 million until it ended in 1976.“Anyone Who Had A Heart”, a song by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, had already proved to be a massive hit for Dionne Warwick which Cilla, then a keen follower of the US Top 100, had already admired prior to it being suggested by Epstein.Her knockout rendition, recorded in January 1964, went on to become not only her first No.From the moment he met his starlet, he wanted to nurture the ‘Judy Garland’ qualities he believed she possessed, having high aspirations of creating a British icon who, in his prophetic words, would become “…one of the biggest stars in this country for thirty or forty years”.His faith, combined with Cilla’s talent, effortlessly convinced George Martin, the renowned producer of Matt Monro, Shirley Bassey and The Beatles, that she was worthy of signing to Parlophone Records (a subsidiary label of the EMI Group).Furthermore, it broke Cilla into the tough US market as well as gaining her massive support across Europe and Australasia, culminating in hundreds of sell-out concert dates throughout her time at EMI (1963-1978). 1 in the charts with “You’re My World”, it made me the second British girl to ever have two successive No. I heard the good news just days before my 21st birthday. To put this unprecedented success into perspective, it happened during a decade when achieving a Top 20 single meant that you had to sell in excess of 100,000 copies a day in the UK alone!In August 1967, only days before his premature death, Brian Epstein had engineered Cilla’s switch to television with her own eponymous variety show for BBC TV.The recording made a modest impression on the British charts when it was released on the 27th September 1963.This was soon to be overshadowed by her next release, which Brian Epstein discovered on a trip to the USA.In a special episode for Comic Relief, Mr Bean took to the 'Blind Date' stage in the hope of finding love in a stranger.Needless to say Cilla was reduced to tears with laughter.