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Sir Cliff Richard is back on the BBC 15 months after a bitter data protection battle with the broadcaster


Sir Cliff Richard is back on the BBC 15 months after a bitter privacy battle with the broadcaster and 60 years after his first appearance on Desert Island Discs

In the case of reunions, this is as unlikely as it is overdue.

Sir Cliff Richard appears today on Desert Island Discs six decades after he first appeared on the show and just 15 months after his landmark privacy battle with the BBC ended.

The singer, who has successfully sued the company on invasion of privacy for reporting unsubstantiated sexual abuse allegations against him, told presenter Lauren Laverne that he chose to remain single because he feared getting married could turn into his career the early days could have been shortened.

Sir Cliff Richard (pictured) appears on Desert Island Discs today, six decades after he first appeared on the show and just 15 months after his landmark privacy battle with the BBC ended

He said, "When I look back now, it has to be that reason … I would never give up this career that I fought hard for.

& # 39; It was the way it was. People would say, "No, no, the girls are all yelling at you. You just have to be available to them."

"It (getting married) would have no effect now … Gary Barlow is married and has kids, nobody minds and that's how it should have been then, but it wasn't like that."

Sir Cliff, who has been haunted by unfounded rumors that he might be gay, said he had resigned himself to "intense" interest in his personal life over the years.

He said, “I've lived with it for so long now that I don't care what you think and say.

"Of course, my private life is absolutely none of my business, except me, and I tell you that."

The 80-year-old admitted he was still “angry” that his father Rodger, a catering manager who died at the age of 56, had missed his stellar success, saying, “It was a heartbreaking time for me, my dad missed the best.

“He was behind me so fast and hard that sometimes I get really angry that he died too soon.

& # 39; He missed the first number one. He missed knighthood – my father would have liked to knight me. I still miss my father. & # 39;

Despite admitting that he was "a little scared" of his father's streak of discipline, Sir Cliff said he now realized that Rodger was critical to his success.

The singer has told presenter Lauren Laverne that he has decided to stay single because he fears that getting married could have shortened his career in the early days (pictured 1960).

The singer has told presenter Lauren Laverne that he has decided to stay single because he fears that getting married could have shortened his career in the early days (pictured 1960).

He said, “My father influenced me a lot more than I thought. I had recorded Move It (his first hit single) but it hadn't been released yet and he had said to me, "Is that what you really want?"

"And I said," I really want to do this, "and he said," Well, from now on, you've got to be the best you can be – you can never give up. "

Sir Cliff, who publicly declared his Christianity at a rally organized by evangelical preacher Billy Graham in 1966, spoke of fears that the move would ruin his career.

"It was a difficult decision," he said. In the end, I felt that it (my beliefs) was more important than my career.

& # 39; But it was a terrible moment for me. I was so scared, but it resulted in me starting to say the name of Jesus without being ashamed. & # 39;

l Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 at 11am today and will be repeated at 8am on Christmas Day.

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