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Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Cilla plans pop comeback
Cilla Black
Black will perform dance versions of her old hits
Blind Date presenter Cilla Black will relaunch her pop career by performing with boy band Blue - four decades after she first sang her way into the charts.

The 59-year-old - who started out working in the cloakroom at the Liverpool club where the Beatles sprang to fame - sang her first hit in 1963.

Her number one songs include Anyone Who Had A Heart and You're My World.

Since landing her own BBC variety show in 1968, she has been more famous for her TV work than her singing.

I loved working with them, we're good friends now

Cilla Black

But after meeting Blue - Duncan James, Anthony Costa, Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe - when they appeared as celebrity contestants on ITV1's Blind Date, she has decided to make a comeback.

"They've promised to be my backing singers on one or two tracks on my new album and I'm very excited about it," Black said.

"I loved working with them," Black said.

"We're good friends now, I got invited to Anthony's party and Duncan's mother's house-warming."

The new album, which comes out next year to mark Black's 40th year in show business, will feature dance versions of those songs.

Show revamped

Black returns for a new, revamped series of Blind Date in two weeks.

In a bid to boost sagging ratings, the show has begun featuring surprise celebrity contestants such as Blue.

The programme bosses also decided to get rid of voiceover artist Graham Skidmore, who introduced Black and provided quick recaps of the three contestants.

Black said she was disappointed to learn that her colleague had been axed.

Blue
Blue appeared on Blind Date as celebrity guests
"I was a little bit upset when Graham wasn't included and I couldn't see why we had to lose him," she said.

"These people are kind of friends so of course you're going to miss them.

"But when I was presented with the new ideas and saw the show in its entirety I realised it's a different show."

She dismissed reports that daytime TV presenter Trisha Goddard had turned down a lucrative offer to take over Black's Blind Date job.

"I had a letter from Trisha and she told me it didn't really happen that way at all," Black said.

"She was highly embarrassed by the whole situation. Her words were taken out of context and it was a load of old rubbish."

See also:

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