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SINGER and TV personality Cilla Black spoke of the pain of losing her husband and her battle with arthritis today after picking up an award honouring her 50 years in entertainment.

The Blind Date star said the hugely popular show was her “lifeline” after beloved husband Bobby died of Cancer in 1999.

Cilla, 71, said: “Blind Date was my lifeline. It was 90 minutes when I could forget about everything, forget about the world.”

An emotional Cilla took a trip down memory lane as she was awarded the Royal Television Society Legends Award in the Houses of Parliament.

Reminiscing about her first performance as a three-year-old on the kitchen table and being mistakenly called “Cyril” by the Beatles John Lennon, the Liverpudlian welled up as she retold the story of hearing she’d got her first number one hit.

She said that since Blind Date, which ran from 1985 until 2003, she has stepped back from the limelight.

“I had had enough,” she said.

“It’s about me, me, me, me now.”

Struggling with a painful knee the flame-haired star said she was jetting off to the Caribbean in the New Year to help with her arthritis.

“I am going to get my arthritis sorted hopefully.”

Overall Cilla has enjoyed 19 top 40 singles during her career, including two number ones - Anyone Who Had A Heart and You're My World.

She later went on to become a famous face on TV with her own BBC show Cilla, performing alongside singers such as Matt Monro, Andy Williams, Sir Tom Jones and Sir Cliff Richard. It ran between 1968 and 1976.

In the 1980s and 90s, she became a household name for a new generation with long-running shows Blind Date and Surprise Surprise for ITV.

Earlier this year, Cilla was honoured at the Bafta TV Awards in recognition of her contribution to entertainment.

In an interview with the BBC in May, she hinted she may not appear on TV again.

When asked about the representation of older people on TV, she said: "But if you have a 70-year-old and a 25-year-old with the same talent, I'm going to watch the 25-year-old! I don't want to see a 70-year-old on television.”