Entertainment & Arts

Cilla Black to receive Bafta Special Award

Cilla Black Image copyright PA
Image caption Cilla Black's ITV shows Blind Date and Surprise Surprise ran for almost two decades

Cilla Black is to be honoured at this year's Bafta TV Awards in recognition of her contribution to entertainment over her 50-year career.

The 70-year-old, who hosted popular ITV shows Blind Date and Surprise Surprise in the 1980s and 1990s, said she was "totally delighted".

"I've been very fortunate to have a long and full career in television and this means the world to me," she said.

She will receive the Special Award at the ceremony on 18 May.

Black first came to fame in the music industry and scored two number one hits in 1964 with Anyone Who Had a Heart and You're My World.

She made her TV debut in 1968 with her own BBC One primetime series featuring the star performing alongside singers such as Matt Monro, Andy Williams, Sir Tom Jones and Sir Cliff Richard. It ran until 1976.

She went on to host a number of shows for ITV, with Blind Date and Surprise Surprise both running for almost two decades.

Image caption Cilla ran on BBC One from 1968 to 1976

'Hugely influential'

Speaking last year, Black said she was "semi-retired" but recently appeared on ITV's revamped Surprise Surprise - now hosted by Holly Willoughby - and had her own TV special in 2013, The One and Only Cilla Black.

A three-part ITV drama about the star's life is currently in production, starring Sheridan Smith.

Andrew Newman, chairman of Bafta's television committee, described the presenter as "a true icon in the television and entertainment industry".

"From hosting her own show for the BBC in 1968 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."

Previous recipients of the Bafta Special Award include Jeremy Paxman, Simon Cowell, Clare Balding, Jon Snow and Kate Adie.

The Arqiva British Academy Television Awards will be held at London's Theatre Royal and broadcast on BBC One at 20:00 BST on 18 May.

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