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Cilla Black wants diva-like status

Cilla Black has said she wishes people would think of her as a diva like her idols Shirley Bassey and Joan Collins.

The light entertainment star, whose life is the subject of a new eponymously titled ITV drama, once said she "wished people would kiss my feet like they do with her (Bassey)".

She told the Daily Mail's Weekend: "They look up to people like her and Joan Collins.

"They're more likely to give me a slap on the back and say, 'Hi, Cilla, how's it going?' But they wouldn't dream of doing that to Shirley or Joan.

"She's old-school glamour, or tries hard to be."

Black, 71, admitted to being "ruthless" during her early career as a singer, telling her late husband, Bobby Willis, they could not both pursue a life in showbusiness.

She went on: "I was ruthless, but you had to be in those days, especially as a woman. And when it came to Bobby, yes, I gave him an ultimatum. I said, 'There's only room for one ego here and I've got it.' The ego had landed, more or less."

She added that if he had become a singer himself, "we'd have gone our separate ways. I'm convinced of that".

Black said she could not believe the dramatised version of her life will be shown over three episodes, as she had not expected there to be enough material for one.

She said award-winning actress Sheridan Smith, who plays her, has "got me down to a T", adding that her singing was "terrific".

But she added that the one thing she was not sure about upon reading the script was the depiction of her late manager Brian Epstein's sex life.

"I genuinely didn't know what gay was," she said.

"It simply wasn't a part of Brian's life I saw. I was very protected from it, and quite naive about it all."

Black said she was even once attracted to Epstein, known as the Fifth Beatle for managing the well-known Liverpool act.

But the fellow Liverpudlian added: "I've definitely got the gaydar now."

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