Sheridan Smith to star as Cilla Black in new ITV drama

Sheridan Smith with her mum Marilyn.
Sheridan Smith with her mum Marilyn.

Surprise, surprise - Doncaster acting starlet Sheridan Smith is set to have a lorra, lorra laughs in her latest role, portraying singer and TV presenter Cilla Black.

The Epworth-born actress has signed up to play the Liverpudlian legend for a new three-part ITV drama later this year.

The actress will take on the role of the famed Scouse singer in the drama, written by Jeff Pope, which will ‘capture the essence of 1960s Liverpool’.

The drama will look at her friendship with Fab Four drummer Ringo Starr which brought her to the attention of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin.

Smith said she was ‘thrilled’ to be playing ‘a British icon’.

“Her life story is fascinating,” she said. “I’m so excited and can’t wait to start filming.”

Black enjoyed nearly a dozen recording hits between 1961 and 1971.

She went on to become a prominent TV presenter with shows like Blind Date and Surprise, Surprise and, last year, celebrated 50 years in showbusiness.

Cilla, written by Pope - who, along with Steve Coogan won a BAFTA for his screenplay for the film Philomena - will follow her journey from a young typist under her real name of Priscilla White, to meeting and befriending Brian Epstein and then recording and launching her career at Abbey Road studios.

Her explosive on-off relationship with her future husband Bobby Willis will also be explored.

Golden Globe nominated Pope has written the drama and Paul Whittington will take on the director’s chair. He directed Mrs Biggs, in which Smith also starred as the wife of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs.

Smith, who recently starred in two-part BBC drama The 7.39, said the drama would ‘hopefully show a younger audience what a star Cilla has always been and for the older generation they can re-live those swinging 60s!’.

“I hope I do her story justice,” she added.

Filming is due to start in Liverpool in March and will hit screens later this year.

ITV director of drama Steve November said: “Jeff’s scripts offer an extraordinary insight into Cilla’s humble beginnings and meteoric rise to chart success.”