WITH plenty of razzamataz Sir Cliff Richard and Sir Tim Rice arrived in Manchester last Thursday - and the Palace Theatre was besieged by adoring fans.

It was Cliff they had come to see, of course, and he didn't disappoint them.

He went outside the theatre to greet a mainly female crowd, looking fresh and smiling even though he had already conducted a photocall and press conference in another part of the country to promote Heathcliffe, a new musical based on Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

His Cathy, Helen Hobson, with him and recently showed Manchester audiences her talent, starring with Michael Ball and Maria Friedman in Passion.

The two stars and lyricist Sir Tim took part in a photocall before a press conference at the Midland Hotel.

Photographers and reporters from far and wide turned up for the event to ask questions.

Heathcliffe, said Cliff, was the culmination of a long held ambition and he was looking forward to playing someone who was far from the the nice image most people associated with him.

Asked how the two enjoyed being knights, Tim quipped: "Well it annoys the hell out of Andrew!" (Lloyd Webber).

Members of the Press were treated to a preview of some of the songs and, without a doubt, they and Heathcliffe are going to be a big hit.

Wuthering Heights, with the emphasis on Heathcliffe more than Cathy, might stray from the original point of the book but with Cliff (and made up and in costume he is suitably brooding) in the title role there is no danger of failure!

Heathcliffe comes to the Palace Theatre in Manchester next year from January 7 to January 25.

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