Sir Cliff Richard back on BBC 15 months after privacy battle
Sir Cliff Richard is back on the BBC 15 months after a bitter privacy battle with the broadcaster and 60 YEARS after he first appeared on Desert Island Discs
As reunions go, it is as unlikely as it is overdue.
Sir Cliff Richard today appears on Desert Island Discs six decades after first being a guest on the show and just 15 months after the end of his landmark privacy battle with the BBC.
The singer – who successfully sued the Corporation for breach of privacy over its coverage of unfounded sex abuse allegations against him – has told presenter Lauren Laverne that he chose to remain single amid fears that getting married could have cut his career short in its early days.
Sir Cliff Richard (pictured) today appears on Desert Island Discs six decades after first being a guest on the show and just 15 months after the end of his landmark privacy battle with the BBC
He said: ‘When I look back now, it has to be that reason… I was never going to give up this career that I had fought heavily for.
‘It was just the way it was. People would say, “No, no, the girls are all screaming at you. You have got to be just available for them.”
‘It [getting married] would have no effect now at all… Gary Barlow’s married and got children, no one minds and that’s how it should have been then, but it wasn’t.’
Sir Cliff, who has been dogged by unfounded rumours he might be gay, said that over the years he had resigned himself to the ‘intense’ interest in his private life.
He said: ‘I have lived with it for so long now that I don’t care anymore what they think and say.
‘Certainly, my private life is absolutely nobody’s business but mine and I tell them that.’
The 80-year-old admitted being still ‘angry’ that his father Rodger, a catering manager who died at the age of 56, had not lived to see his stellar success, saying: ‘It was a heartbreaking time for me, my dad missed the best.
‘He was so fast and hard behind me all the way through that I feel sometimes horribly angry that he died too early.
‘He missed the first number one. He missed the knighthood – my father would have loved to have seen me be knighted. I miss my dad still.’
Although he acknowledged being ‘a bit fearful’ of his father’s disciplinarian streak, Sir Cliff said he now realised that Rodger had been crucial to his success.
The singer has told presenter Lauren Laverne that he chose to remain single amid fears that getting married could have cut his career short in its early days (pictured in 1960)
He said: ‘My father influenced me much more than I thought. I had recorded Move It [his first hit single], but it hadn’t been released and he had said to me, “You really want this?”
‘And I said, “I really want to do this”, and he said, “Well, from now on you are going to have to be the best at it that you can be – you can never let up.”‘
Sir Cliff – who publicly declared his Christianity in 1966 at a rally organised by the evangelical preacher Billy Graham – spoke of the fears he had that the move would scupper his career.
‘It was a difficult choice to make,’ he said. ‘In the end I felt that it [my faith] was more important even than my career.
‘But it was a terrifying moment for me. I was so scared, but it did lead to me beginning to be able to speak the name Jesus without feeling embarrassed.’
l Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 today at 11am and will be repeated at 8am on Christmas Day.
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