Sir Cliff Richard talks ahead of his gig at Walcot Hall in Shropshire
Fans from around the world will descend on the West Midlands when Sir Cliff Richard headlines a summer show at Shropshire’s Walcot Hall on Wednesday.
He is kicking off his Just . . . Fabulous Rock ’n’ Roll tour in Shropshire as he visits the UK’s most beautiful castles and historic locations. And fans from as far afield as New Zealand will descend on the venue to watch the evergreen hit-maker.
Britain’s answer to Elvis had his first top 10 hit almost 60 years ago and has released a remarkable 2012 albums.
The star lives in Portugal for part of the year, where he creates award-winning wines and switches off from celebrity life.
He was introduced to the area in 1961. “So I came down and had my first holiday here and absolutely loved it. In those days you could walk down to the fruit market under the trees in Albufeira Square and pick up a melon for just a few old pennies.
“A bottle of Mateus Rosé was seven shillings and sixpence [about 38p] and you’d get four shillings [20p] back on the bottle. It was a very simple holiday and I fell in love with the view from my house over the rooftops to the sea. Tom Jones once stayed in Bruce’s place so it was a nice little social scene for us.
“I bought the farmhouse because I fell in love with it. I quite like looking at houses, and when I first saw this one it looked so attractive, even in the terrible state it was in. I found myself a dream.”
Sir Cliff has faced a tricky spell after suffering an ordeal at the hands of police. A case against him was thrown out by the Crown Prosecution Service and Sir Cliff launched legal action against South Yorkshire Police and the BBC.
He was relieved when the nightmare ended: “After it was all over I sat on the side of my bed and thought, ‘This is so fantastic’. And I wept. I couldn’t help it with all the emotion pent up all that time. Then I drove up to Lisbon with some friends for the Queen’s birthday where they wanted me to sing the National Anthem.
“They’d asked me weeks earlier. What I loved was they’d asked me before I was cleared, so they’d trusted me. So I went to the garden party, had two glasses of Champagne and sang two verses of God Save The Queen at the Governor’s Residence. And this was the day the call came through that I was clear.”
Sir Cliff will be supported by Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro, who were successful on the show in 2014.
The quartet – Michael Auger, Jamie Lambert, Matt Pagan and Thomas J. Redgrave – met Sir Cliff at a show.
Thomas says: “It’ll be nice to bring our music to a new set of people. The thing we really enjoy is showing emotion through song, telling a story. Musical theatre is very good for that. It’s inherently written to pull an emotion from an audience. We have a lot of criers in our audiences, hopefully for good reasons.
“The Sir Cliff gig was the weirdest thing. We met him after a gig that we did, which we were an hour late going on for. We didn’t understand what the hold-up was. It turned out, it was a charity dinner and Sir Cliff and Sir Rod Stewart had been asked to get up and sing. You don’t say no to them.
“So we were very late going on. After our set, Sir Cliff asked if he could come back and talk to us. If you told us at the start of our careers we’d be working with Sir Cliff, we wouldn’t have believed it.”