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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Cilla to make festive comeback
Cilla Black
Cilla Black quit Blind Date on live TV
Entertainer Cilla Black is to make her return to TV in a one-off Christmas special on digital channel Living.

She will front a two-hour show that will echo her hit Surprise, Surprise series, including putting long-lost relatives back in touch.

The 61-year-old quit Blind Date during a live broadcast after 18 years, annoyed by changes made to its format.

Taking a swipe at her former employers, Black said: "I do not miss ITV, God no! Have you seen ITV lately?"

Black admitted she had been persuaded to return to the screen by her close friend Sir Cliff Richard.

She said: "I've just been doing exactly what I want to do but it was Cliff that said, 'you know you really ought to get back in TV, because you can't just go on enjoying yourself' and I said can't I?

"I was quite content and happy having munchies on a Barbados beach and he just said, there is too much talent there for you not to do it any more, but I needed to have my gap year."

Cilla Black
Cilla Black hosted Blind Date for 18 years
Black insisted she was content to make her return on to a digital channel and did not consider it a step down from her former primetime status.

Before quitting Blind Date, she had been a fixture of variety programmes on BBC and ITV since the late 1960s.

Black said she may do more specials for Living.

Making dreams

"I'm absolutely thrilled and I think the question is quality TV. I've had a lot of other offers but they were all quirky and it wasn't really me and this was the first one that jumped off the page and said, 'do me'," she explained.

"And it's live TV. That's where I came from and after all I did resign on live television. I love it."

Living controller Richard Woolfe said: "Cilla has entertained generations of people with her music and dazzling television performances.

"For years she has been bringing people together, reuniting loved ones, and making dreams come true as well as playing cupid. We're thrilled to welcome her to Living."

Cilla's Blind Date success story
30 May 03  |  TV and Radio
Cilla admits to smoking cannabis
24 May 03  |  TV and Radio
Artist sorry for Cilla insult
08 Jan 03  |  Arts
Blind Date to continue
06 Jan 03  |  TV and Radio
Cilla in the spotlight
06 Jan 03  |  Showbiz

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