In Defence of Cliff Richard

In Defence of Cliff Richard


Just three days ago Sir Cliff was informed that a complainant has requested a review of the CPS’s decision. When a person is told that their complaint is not going to be the subject of any further action they are also told that they have the right to ask for a review. We understand that it is not unusual for this to happen. Sir Cliff reaffirms his innocence and has every confidence that the CPS will once again come to the right conclusion. He trusts that they will also do so as soon as possible.

Sir Cliff Richard may be 75, and has been through a year from hell, but his army of devoted Anglo-Indian fans will be delighted to know he still considers himself one of The Young Ones, insisting: “I won’t give in to age.” Don’t we still play ‘Congratulations’ at our wedding receptions?

Our ‘Lucknow Boy’ and veteran pop star has endured tough times recently, first losing his best friend Cilla Black and then his sister Donna – and perhaps the most draining of all has been  facing allegations of historical sex abuse. (‘Historical’ here means that somebody claims that the action has been committed in the distant past)

But all that has just made him more determined to live every day to the full and he is now bouncing back.

Sir Cliff, who turns 76 in October, says: “It’s important not to give in to age. It’s just a state of mind. You need to keep your state of mind clear.

“Retirement is not in my vocabulary. It’s too easy for us to think, ‘Oh, I’m 76, I can’t be seen doing that’. That’s wrong, just wear what you’re going to wear. Be what you are going to be.”

Consider the grief that  shadowed him in the past few months. His sister Donna Goulden, 73, died. She had been ill for a long time but, along with his other two sisters Joan, 66, and Jacqui, 68, she had been a rock to her famous brother, supporting him through one of the toughest times of his life.

Her death came just a year after his close friend Cilla died, aged 72, from a head injury after a fall at her villa in Spain.

Donna and Cilla had supported Cliff through an investigation into unsubstantiated claims that he groped a boy in the 1980s, which had led to a police raid on his Berkshire mansion, which was filmed by the BBC. Cliff wasn’t in the country at the time.

At 73, you would want to take it easy. Not Cliff. Despite having sold more than 250 million records worldwide and having 130 Top 20 UK hits, he reveals he still has big ambitions. He says: “The dreams never really stop. I’ve made records, done concerts, been in movies. What else is there to do?

“Yet you still have ambition to do it properly. You never get to perfection.

 “I’ve got to do my perfect pop/rock album. I’ve got to do everything again and again until I do it right.”

He adds: “Most people still think of me as Summer Holiday, Bachelor Boy, Congratulations but I also do Devil Woman and a whole bunch of stuff that has never been explored.”

But his ambition now is to have a month of gigs in London’s most famous venue. He says: “It’s still a dream of mine to do the Albert Hall for a month – for one day on, one day off, so I get a day off in between each performance. That’s the dream.”

Cliff is a lifelong bachelor. In his autobiography, he stressed that “sex is not one of the things that drives me”. When later asked why he has never married, Richard said: “I’ve had a few false alarms. I’ve been in love, but marriage is a big commitment and being an artist consumes a great deal of time.” Nowadays, it has become a trend to suspect anyone who decides to remain single as ‘probably Gay’. Of course, the press did try that one on Cliff.

Sir Cliff often declines discussion about close relationships and when asked about suggestions that he may be homosexual has stated categorically that he is not. When the suggestions were first put to him in the late 1970s, Richard responded by saying: “It’s untrue. People are very unfair with their criticism and their judgements. I’ve had girlfriends. But people seem to think that if a bloke doesn’t sleep around he must be gay. Marriage is a very special thing to me. I’m certainly not going to do it just to make other people feel satisfied.” In 1986, Richard said that rumours about him being homosexual had previously been “very painful” to him.

When asked in 1992 if he had ever considered the possibility that he might be gay, he responded: “No. Richard said: “Even if I got married tomorrow there would be a group of people who would believe what they wanted to believe. All that counts is what your family and friends know and they all trust and respect me. What the people outside think, I have no control over.” Later in 1996, Richard said: “I’m aware of the rumours, but I am not gay.” In 1997, he said: “People who are single shouldn’t have to be second-class citizens – we needn’t be embarrassed or feel guilty about it, we all have a role to play.”

In his 2008 autobiography, Cliff Richard wrote that his views on certain issues are less judgemental than when he was younger. He called on the Church of England to affirm people’s commitment in same-sex marriage. He wrote: “In the end, I believe, people are going to be judged for what they are. It seems to me that commitment is the issue, and if anyone comes to me and says: ‘This is my partner – we are committed to each other,’ then I don’t care what their sexuality is. I’m not going to judge – I’ll leave that to God.”75at75

Who are these people trying to prove that Cliff ‘groped’ them in his younger days? Is this just a ploy to get money out of a celebrity? A lot odfus think so.

Although baptised as an Anglican, Richard did not practise the faith in his early years. In 1964, he became an active Christian and his faith has become an important aspect of his life. Standing up publicly as a Christian affected his career in several ways. Initially, he believed that he should quit rock ‘n’ roll, feeling he could no longer be the rocker who had been called a “crude exhibitionist” and “too sexy for TV”. Richard intended at first to “reform his ways” and become a teacher, but Christian friends advised him not to abandon his career just because he had become an active Christian. Soon after, Richard re-emerged, performing with Christian groups and recording some Christian material. He still recorded secular songs with the Shadows, but devoted a lot of his time to Christian work, including appearances with the Billy Graham crusades. As time progressed, Richard balanced his faith and work, enabling him to remain one of the most popular singers in Britain as well as one of its best-known Christians.

In 1968, he sang the UK’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest, “Congratulations”, written and composed by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter; it lost, by one point to Spain’s “La La La”. Nevertheless, “Congratulations” was a huge hit throughout Europe and Australia, (where all those Anglo-Indians migrated to)and yet another No. 1 in April 1968.

According to John Kennedy O’Connor’s The Eurovision Song Contest—The Official History, this was the closest result yet in the contest and Richard locked himself in the toilet to avoid the nerves of the voting. In May 2008, a Reuters news report claimed that voting in the competition had been fixed by the Spanish dictator leader, Francisco Franco, to ensure that the Spanish entry won, allowing them to host the contest the following year (1969). It is claimed that Spanish TVE television executives offered to buy programmes in exchange for votes. The story was widely covered and featured on UK’s Channel 4 News as a main story on 7 May 2008, with Jon Snow interviewing author and historian John Kennedy O’Connor about the matter.

Harry Rodger Webb was born in India at King George’s Hospital, Victoria Street, in Lucknow, which was then part of  the British Raj. His parents were Rodger Oscar Webb, a manager for a catering contractor that serviced the Indian Railways, and the former Dorothy Marie Dazely. Richard is primarily of Anglo heritage, but he has one great-grandmother who was of half Welsh and half Spanish descent, born of a Spanish great-great-grandmother named Emiline Joseph Rebeiro.

The Webb family lived in a modest home in Maqbara, near the main shopping centre of Hazratganj. Dorothy’s mother served as the dormitory matron at the La Martiniere Girls’ School.

In 1948, following Indian independence, the family embarked on a three-week sea voyage to Tilbury, Essex, England aboard the SS Ranchi. The Webbs moved from comparative wealth in India, where they had servants and lived in a company-supplied flat at Howrah near Calcutta, to a semi-detached house in Carshalton. Harry Webb attended a local primary school, Stanley Park Juniors, in Carshalton. In 1949 his father obtained employment in the credit control office of Thorn Electrical Industries and the family moved in with other relatives in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, where he attended Kings Road Junior Mixed Infants School until a three-bedroom council house in Cheshunt was allocated to them in 1950, at 12 Hargreaves Close.

Anyway, at 76, Cliff still rocks, and most of his fans don’t believe that he’s a sexual predator!