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Sir Cliff Richard: I will never get over the police raid on my home

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 2020-12-20
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Sir Cliff Richard (PA Media)

Sir Cliff Richard says he will never “get over” the police search of his home.

The veteran entertainer, 80, was not arrested and did not face any charges following a claim of historical sexual assault.

He successfully sued the BBC for its coverage, which was broadcast around the world, of the 2014 raid of his Berkshire home.

He tells Desert Island Discs he will never get over the trauma of the highly-publicised raid.

Sir Cliff recalls collapsing on the floor, saying “I couldn’t stand up and I found myself absolutely weeping like a child”.

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Lauren Laverne

“I was never suicidal but I thought a couple of times I might die … I’m thinking, ‘I don’t want to kill myself but this could kill me’.

“But I survived it all and that’s the main thing for me, and I’m past it now,” he tells the BBC Radio 4 programme.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get over it, though.

“It’s not something that you can wipe from your memory.”

He says of successfully suing the BBC: “I’d like to think that when I won that court case against the BBC, it means that they would have to think really hard if ever they wanted to do something like that again.”

The episode is the singer’s second time on Desert Island Discs, having appeared in 1960.

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Sir Cliff Richard (PA Media)

He said of his career: “It’s been better than I could have expected. I didn’t think we (the Shadows) would have lasted that long…

“You have to get realistic as you get older and I realise now that I wouldn’t be able to fill Wembley Stadium as I did twice before.

“As long as there’s one or two people that will come and see me, I can still perform.”

He also spoke about his decision not to marry.

“People marrying and singing now doesn’t have anywhere near the effect it would have had when I started in the 50s,” he says.

“It was just the way it was, people would say, ‘The girls are all squealing at you. you have to be just available’.

“I was dating a girl called Jean … We came out of the theatre … she sat on my lap in the front of the car.

“I’m waving at the fans and I turned around and they are throwing the programmes on the floor and stamping them in the gutter.

“I was focused. That focus was not going to change, I was never going to give up that career I fought heavily for and am still battling for.

“Now it doesn’t matter, Gary Barlow is married and has children, no-one minds and that’s how it should have been then, but it wasn’t.”

He also speaks about his decision to talk about his faith.

“It was a difficult choice to make”, he says of addressing a rally held by US evangelist Billy Graham in the 1960s.

Friends said it could damage his career but “in the end, I felt that it was more important, even than my career”, he says.

“It was a terrifying moment for me, I was so scared but it did lead to me beginning to be able to speak the name Jesus without feeling embarrassed…

“I don’t feel that embarrassment any more.”

Desert Island Discs is on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11am.

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