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Monday, 2 August, 1999, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Cilla back at Blind Date
Side by side: Bobby with Cilla when she received her OBE in 1997
Side by side: Cilla with Bobby when she received her OBE in 1997
TV star Cilla Black is due to return to work at the insistence of her husband, who is fighting cancer.

Cilla, 56, has been at the hospital bedside of Bobby Willis, who is undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer of the liver and lungs.

The couple have been married for 30 years and Bobby, who is also her manager, insisted that Cilla returned to work to film new editions of Blind Date for London Weekend Television.

"Bobby has told Cilla to go back to work and that is exactly what she is going to do," said an LWT spokeswoman.

"Cilla and Bobby were overwhelmed by the support and warmth that has been shown to them in their time of need from well-wishers.

Chart-topper: Cilla in her pop heyday
Chart-topper: Cilla in her pop heyday
"They have had letters and cards, lots of flowers and people passing messages to them.

"It was people who had experienced similar things themselves or in their families passing on comfort and encouragement to keep being strong for each other in order to get them through this."

Bobby, 57, who has spent the last fortnight being treated at a London hospital, is in good spirits, the LWT spokeswoman said.

The couple live in Denham, Buckinghamshire, and have reportedly spent just a few nights apart since they married - when she gave birth to their children Robert, now 29, Ben, 24, and Jack, 17. The couple also had a daughter in 1975, who died shortly after she was born.

They have been inseparable throughout their 30-year marriage - regarded as one of the strongest in showbusiness.

Bobby always accompanies Cilla on personal appearances and has guided her throughout her career.

In the past she has said of her husband: "I'd be totally lost without him. I couldn't have existed without Bobby."

Wedding: Cilla and Bobby big day in 1969
Wedding: Bobby and Cilla's big day in 1969
Bobby was an up and coming singer when he met Priscilla White, then 15, in the Sixties.

She was a typist but was soon destined for the top after being plucked from obscurity by the Beatles.

The Fab Four spotted her potential while she worked in Liverpool's legendary Cavern Club, which launched the group to fame and fortune.

As her romance with Bobby developed alongside her new singing career as Cilla Black, he decided to shelve his own ambitions to concentrate on helping her.

A millionairess by the time she was 25, Cilla had a string of hit singles in the Sixties including three UK number ones in 1964 - Anyone Who Had A Heart, You're My World and It's For You.

They married in January 1969, shortly after Cilla started her own TV show on the BBC, entitled Cilla.

Variety shows for Lord Grade's company ATV followed in the 1970s, and in the 1980s she became the most successful woman on UK television, thanks to LWT shows such as Blind Date - which has been running since 1985 - and Surprise Surprise!

Her latest show for ITV, Moment of Truth, started last year.

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