Jimmy Tarbuck pokes fun at Cilla Black during emotional tribute at Royal Variety Show
Jimmy Tarbuck has come under fire after he joked that Cilla Black used to steal coats and flog them at market during his emotional tribute to the late star at the Royal Variety Show.
The 75-year-old comedian sparked outrage among fans after he spun out a series of jibes about the legendary singer, who sadly died four months ago, during his performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Speaking about her life prior to finding fame, he said: "She used to work in the cloakroom at the Cavern. She was in charge of the coats. Sometimes you'd get your coat back at the end of the night, sometimes you wouldn't.
"But if you didn't, you could always find it for sale at her mum's stall the next day at Paddy's Market!"
Clearly oblivious to the backlash the distasteful joke had received, Jimmy went on to poke fun at the star's hair.
He added: "Cilla was Liverpool's Cinderella. Hers was a rags to riches story. But despite her fame and fortune, she never forgot her roots - and neither did her hairdresser."
After a few gasps from the packed-out audience, the funnyman was forced to set the record straight.
Frowning slightly, he said: "Calm down, it was only a joke."
However, the roasting didn't continue as Jimmy then took a more serious approach and praised the TV presenter, who died from a stroke in August, on her incredible work ethic.
He explained: "Cilla was a joy to know and work with. What you saw is what you got. She was one of a kind in this industry and she only worked with the greats. The Beatles' producer produced her songs and Lennon and McCartney wrote her songs - that's how big of a star she was.
"Ladies and gentleman, please give a round of applause for the late, great Cilla Black!"