Cilla Black is to be honoured at the TV Baftas in recognition of her outstanding contribution to entertainment over half a century.

The 70-year-old, who has hosted hugely popular shows such as Surprise Surprise and Blind Date as well as enjoying a pop career, is to be given the Special Award at the ceremony to mark her years in showbusiness.

She follows previous recipients such as Simon Cowell, Jon Snow, Murray Walker and Jeremy Paxman.

Cilla, who first hosted her own BBC show in 1968, said: “I am thrilled to be honoured with this award – I am totally delighted. I’ve been very fortunate to have a long and full career in television and this means the world to me.”

She will collect the prize at the event – officially called the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards – on May 18 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London and it will also be broadcast by BBC One.

Cilla was a friend of The Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein in the early 1960s and she scored two Number Ones in 1964 – Anyone Who Had A Heart and You’re My World – as well as enjoying many other hits, before going on to concentrate on TV.

She has hosted more than 500 editions of her programmes and was the first woman to have her own prime-time chat show on BBC One.

Andrew Newman, the chairman of Bafta’s television committee, said: “From hosting her own show for the BBC in ’68 to defining ITV entertainment throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Cilla has been an extremely popular and hugely influential entertainer throughout her long career in television.”


Press Association