On this Christmas Day, I break from most of my self-imposed traditions, and write of a man, who is but a fortnight younger than myself; with whom I am truly disgusted.
Sir Cliff Richard, born Harry Webb to British parents in India, whose family migrated back to Gt. Britain after Indian Independence. His start and career in show business is catalogued in many places, so I shall not list it here, but suffice to say that he has remained a force for over five decades in an industry whose stars are often akin to comets; rising brightly and swiftly, but either equally swiftly diminishing in brightness, or diving into a life of excess fuelled by drink or drugs. Cliff Richard had found a foundation and life based upon Christianity, and has remained true to that belief for over four-odd decades; which belief is the source of my disgust and annoyance with this eighty-year-old millionaire.
In 2014 and unbeknownst to him, Sir Cliff Richard became the subject of a police investigation in relation to an allegation of a historic sex offence and was investigated as part of Operation Yewtree (“OYT”). South Yorkshire Police decided to cooperate with the BBC once the SYT learned that the BBC had been tipped off. SYP told the BBC the day before the search and confirmed the property details. The BBC arranged for journalists to attend and a helicopter was hired to film the search. They also sent journalists to Sir Cliff’s homes in Portugal and Barbados. The BBC was very anxious to protect their exclusive, did not consider privacy (only accuracy) and knew that the broadcast would have a serious impact.
The impact on the singer was such that, at one stage, he collapsed, stricken with anxiety under the intense pressure of the relentless investigation. A book deal collapsed, he even gained the attention of the US Immigration Authorities when suffering difficulties inbound to America, due solely to the adverse publicity.
But, eventually, he recovered, sued both SYT and the BBC, and won substantial damages, costs and apologies from both organisations.
But this morning, he was the guest who was due to be the ‘Castaway’ on Desert Island Discs, played on Radio 4 immediately after the Eight-o’Clock News. So this eighty-year-old entertainer, given this truly prime-time position on the airwaves of the BBC does what? He skims over this possibly career- and health destroying episode, towards the end of this musical interview. He virtually forgives, on prime time radio, the Corporation which had set out to publicise the search and possible arrest of himself, a public figure! He acted as he is, a truly Christian gentleman!
His actions and attitude disgust me! Placing myself in his shoes, during that interview for Desert Island Discs, I would have blasted the whole BBC, inclusive of all the senior management involved; along with the cretins from the South Yorkshire Police. In the legal arena, I would have pursued, individually, every BBC clown whose shadow had crossed the plot to publicise the search of his properties; and, if possible, bankrupted every one of them.
I am truly disappointed in Sir Cliff Richard: unfortunately, a true Gentleman; in every sense of the word!