Entertainment & Arts

Cilla Black changed my life

James Bickerton selfie with Cilla Image copyright James Bickerton
Image caption James Bickerton met Cilla in March 2014 at the premiere of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in London

Meeting Cilla Black proved to be a life-changing moment for many people.

You have been sharing your stories about the moment you met one of Britain's best-loved entertainers, who has died at the age of 72.

Many will remember her as the host of TV shows like Surprise Surprise and Blind Date.

Sophie Cousens, in London, took part in the final series of Blind Date in 2001 and won:

"I was at university when I decided to apply. I was so excited by the experience. She's the reason I chose a career in TV production. She really inspired me.

I was one of the three girls to be picked for a date. Before the show, Cilla came to say hello to us. She was glamorous, elegant, classy.

She had an old school TV glow about her. She was so warm and friendly. Then it hit me - I was on Blind Date with Cilla Black!

Image copyright Sophie Cousens
Image caption Sophie Cousens was inspired to go into TV production

My date (Alex) and I went to Houston, Texas for our prize. It was wonderful. Cilla's son came on the trip too. When we came back to tell our story, Cilla was genuinely interested.

That's why the show lasted so long. There was a real authenticity about the show and she was very proud of it.

Alex and I dated for a month only, but we're still friends."

Adult actress and Cosplayer Tanya Tate appeared on Blind Date in the late 1990s:

"The first time I met Cilla was when we came out in front of the audience. I felt really nervous meeting her, she's such a big star.

I got my answer muddled up - it was about being tongue tied - and she was patient and professional.

Image copyright Tanya Tate
Image caption Tanya Tate stood behind Cilla Black (back row, second from right in blue dress)

It was my first big experience of appearing on UK television but it gave me the confidence to be in front of the camera, saying a line and playing a role.

It's a bit surreal looking back - no one would have thought I'd be where I am now, making and producing adult movies as well as doing Cosplay and collectables on Youtube.

When you've messed up a line on a big British telly show, you think it's OK, I can mess up elsewhere. I've come a long way from Blind Date - I was number two, he picked number three."

Phil Collins, in Surrey, was a contestant on Blind Date:

"It was an amazing experience about 15 years ago. I was one of the guys amongst the three hoping to be chosen.

We met Cilla two hours before the show. She was adorable. She made you feel very welcome and at ease.

Image copyright Phil Collins
Image caption This is how Phil shared his photo from that day on Facebook

One thing that stands out is after filming there was an after show party and she came to have a drink with us all.

It was so nice of her to do that. It showed a side that she happily mixed with contestants.

I remember her sense of humour. We made a few jokes. She was very humorous even off camera. I didn't get picked. I was gutted."

Carolynne Oates was on Blind Date in 1987:

"I was the chooser and picked Richard from Guernsey who was 6'7" tall. I quipped his height must have been down to the milk! Cilla was hilarious. She had great comedy timing.

I thought she was adorable and very down to earth.

After the date, Richard took me to a restaurant for a meal, and all of a sudden we heard Cilla's voice. What are the odds of that? We sat with her, Bobby and Christopher Biggins. I don't know who was shocked more, Cilla or me!

When we went back on the show, that was the main topic of our conversation - how we bumped in to each other after our date.

Image copyright Carolynne Oates
Image caption Carolynne Oates with Cilla, after picking her 'Richard from Guernsey' in 1987

The show was a phenomenon - the biggest TV show at the time.

People didn't go on with idea of becoming famous, they just wanted to be on the show. It changed your life. To this day, people still talk about my appearance on the show."

Janet Brown was on Surprise Surprise:

"I met this lovely lovely lady in 1990 after I was on Surprise Surprise.

It was filmed in my house with a house full of crew. Such a funny and lovely time.

Image copyright Janet Brown
Image caption Janet Brown with Cilla Black

I feel so blessed that my husband and I got to meet her and Bobby later at the TV studio. What a lovely down-to-earth couple.

I was quite sad when Bobby died. You could see how devoted to each other they were. Now they are reunited, I bet she's bossing him about like mad!"

Interviews by Sherie Ryder and Alex Murray.