Born in Liverpool, she grew up determined to be an entertainer and signer and obtained a part-time job as a cloakroom attendant at the world famous Cavern Club, known for its association with The Beatles. There she sang impromptu songs on the stage and John Lennon later encouraged manager Brian Epstein to sign her up. He did so and, armed with the Lennon-McCartney written Love of the Loved began her professional singing career in 1963 gaining her first No. 1 the following year with Anyone Who Had a Heart which became the UK's biggest selling single by a female artist in the 1960s. Black had eleven top ten hits on the British charts between 1964 and 1971.
Just before Epstein's death in 1967, he negotiated a contract with the BBC for her to present her own Saturday evening television show, the eponymously-named Cilla which ran until 1976. She disappeared from television screens for some years, concentrating on singing and cabaret performances but a highly-successful appearance on the Wogan programme in 1983 re-alerted executives to her talent and she was signed up by London Weekend Television to front three long-running programmes: Blind Date, Surprise, Surprise and The Moment of Truth. She continues to appear frequently on television.
Cilla Black had several connections with Coronation Street. She was a self-confessed addict of the programme and her house in Liverpool was one of the 3,501,000 homes which watched the transmission of Episode 1 (9th December 1960), something she has mentioned on several occasions. Due to her high profile and love for the programme, she was asked to take part in the following notable or celebratory programmes:
- Cilla on Coronation Street, broadcast on Friday 13th October 1989 was hosted by Black and trailed the forthcoming third weekly episodes which would start the following week. She spoke to various cast members of the programme about their forthcoming storylines.
- Happy Birthday Coronation Street, broadcast just over a year later on 9th December 1990 was a one-hour spectacular hosted by Black which celebrated three decades of the programme. Various cast members, past and present, were interviewed by her and other celebrities connected with the programme such as Cliff Richard were featured. The highlight was the appearance of guest of honour Doris Speed who came on to hear the reading of a telegram from Her Majesty The Queen, congratulating the members of the programme on reaching this important milestone.
- Forty Years on Coronation Street, broadcast on 28th November 2000 included interview clips with the entertainer as she spoke of her memories of watching the first episode.
- On 16th October 2013, a tribute programme marking Black's fifty years in showbusiness, The One and Only Cilla Black, was broadcast at 9pm on ITV. One sequence during the 90-minute show featured Black appearing in a scene from her favourite show, Coronation Street. The sketch saw Black - playing herself - enter the Rovers Return Inn where locals Rita Tanner and Norris Cole fail to immediately recognise her. Black described the experience as "a dream come true".