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Thursday, October 29, 1998 Published at 16:11 GMT


BBC One's Bachelor Boy bonanza

Sir Cliff Richard: Enraged fans laid siege to Virgin Radio

In an unprecedented move, BBC One is dedicating four hours of its Friday morning schedule to the Bachelor Boy of pop Cliff Richard.

From 0900 GMT until 1300, BBC One will screen programmes as part of its tribute to the man who has notched up 40 years in the music business.

Stand Up for Sir Cliff kicks off with a special edition of chat show Kilroy which will ask "Are you too old to be a pop star when you're 50?".

Friday morning's sequence will include a live interview hosted by Jill Dando in which viewers will be invited to phone in with their questions to the 58-year-old singer.

[ image: Fresh-faced in the 70s]
Fresh-faced in the 70s
The tribute is a response to the furore sparked by Sir Cliff, who said more than 200 radio stations were blacklisting his records because they feel he is too old.

But he got his own back by sending out a remix of his song Can't Keep This Feeling In under the name Black Knight - which was played by many of the same stations.

Virgin Radio was besieged by irate fans after DJ/owner Chris Evans refused to play any of his records.

[ image:  ]
Evans recently smashed the station's collection of Sir Cliff records on air because he said the singer had been "rude" to him during an appearance on his Channel 4 show TFI Friday.

And this week a Liverpool DJ was reinstated to his job after he was sacked for playing Sir Cliff's latest disc.

Fans of the Bachelor Boy will get the chance to see a retrospective of Sir Cliff, who holds the record for the most appearances on Top of the Pops. He has been seen more than 90 times since the show first started in 1964.

The special compilation will include some of his most memorable appearances - from the first performance of Living Doll to his amazing impromptu live performance at Wimbledon in 1996.

[ image: Still cool after 40 years]
Still cool after 40 years
A fun and fond look at the industry of Cliff Richard impersonators will also be screened, featuring three lookalikes.

Wayne Garvie, BBC head of entertainment and features, said: "I think at the moment we are reflecting something of a national mood."

He said the the daytime tribute "refects Cliff's fan base - the people who grew up with Cliff but also the people who have come up with him at a different age".

But Mr Garvie admitted it would be difficult to think of another entertainer who would merit the same clearing of the schedules.

"I really don't think there are many people of his stature. Perhaps Robbie Williams in 30 years time," he joked.

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