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Cilla to bring a lorra' lorra' laughs to new show

January 4, 2006
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Where she once put would-be Romeos through their paces, Cilla Black is now facing another TV challenge as a judge on an X Factor-style celebrity talent show featuring soap favourites. After sensationally quitting Blind Date live on air three years ago, the 62-year-old presenter will return to screens in Soapstar Superstar.

The evergreen entertainer, who rose to fame with chart success in the Sixties, clearly can't wait for the excitement to begin. "I'm a huge soap fan and I hope I can understand a little of what the performers are going through and guide as best as I can", she says.

Among those who'll compete to impress her are Coronation Street's Wendi Peters - the brash, freeloading wife of Les Battersby on the show - and Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallet, who plays saucy vet's receptionist Jo.

For the 22-year-old Dales beauty the show is the realisation of a childhood dream. "At school performances I'd ask for sound checks, different camera angles and would strut around like Mariah Carey," revealed Roxanne. "Singing and acting was all I ever wanted to do - but I was a proper little madam."

But the girls are not the only ones getting in on the fun. Michael Greco, who provided the swoon factor on EastEnders in his time as Beppe di Marco, and Nicholas Bailey, formerly Walford's lone medic, will also try out their vocal talents on the show, which kicks off on Friday.

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Photo: ©
The 62-year-old performer looked thrilled with her new role as a judge on Soapstar Superstar, where she'll assess the talents of popular actors. At a photocall for the show she had a warm hug for another Cilla, the on-screen alter ego of contestant Wendi PetersPhoto: © Empics
Photo: ©
Rivals (back row, from left) Shobna Gulati, Roxanne Pallett, Sammy Winward, Lucy Pargeter and Wendi Peters will slug it out with (front row, from left) Michael Greco, Richard Fleeshman and Nicholas Bailey to impress viewersPhoto: © Empics

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