Saturday night scheduling on telly has traditionally appealed to those of us who don’t go out, and for ‘don’t go out’, read, ‘have no life’, and Piers Morgan’s ITV natter with the fairy-princess-esque Cliff Richard appealed strongly to that demographic.
I grew up listening to my mum singing along to Cliff’s songs and watching her positively swoon – yes, people swooned in those days – whenever Hank Marvin was on TV, which, I might add, had newly become colour.
But if she were alive today, I’m not sure that she’d be happy to see Cliff in a bright pink jacket or inexplicable amounts of lime green. I suspect she might’ve longed for the days of monochrome telly as her retinas would have remained undamaged by watching Cliffy going about his long-standing and unbreakable career.
But one thing came across loud and clear in Piers’ interview with Sir Cliff, and that is, that the man is, well, nice. Piers tried his best to goad Cliff into being something less than nice, but it didn’t work. And if it’s all a front, then it’s a damn good one. It’s also one that’s lasted over six decades, nearly seven, as Sir Cliff is now 69 years old, and he still managed to thrash Piers at tennis.
In fact, in terms of being given a thrashing, Sir Cliff didn’t do too badly all round against Piers; his self-deprecating humour and his candour meant that no amount of questions about his sexuality or his whiter-than-white – and therefore, almost necessarily stained, according to Piers – public image could bluff Sir Cliff into revealing he’s really a Satanist or something.
And really, the entire thing could be summed up as being ‘nice’. It was a pleasant interview; there were no shocking revelations about Sir Cliff’s aforementioned sex life – which we may have hoped for but wouldn’t have liked if it’d happened – and an explanation of how Cliff’s niceness led to all that hoo-hah over his letting Tony Blair have his Barbados home free of charge for a holiday.
We heard too how Cliff’s favourite track from his extensive back-catalogue is Devil Woman and how at one time, he was “a better-known Christian than Mother Teresa”. Maybe he still is. And in terms of revelations, that was about it. No Katie Price gut-spilling for Sir Cliff, thank God.
And maybe, just maybe, that’s because there’s nothing to spill. Maybe there is no dark side to Sir Cliff just waiting to be discovered and revealed by probing journalistic endeavour. Maybe he really is what it says on his persona tin – a genuinely nice bloke who’s got a good head for business and a good singing voice.
Sorry Piers – better luck next time – because in terms of scandal, it would appear Sir Cliff is the original stone from which scandal mongering blood cannot be drawn.