Written by Monkey Woods
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Tuesday, 21 April 2009

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Wimbledon sunshine (archive)

British singing icon Sir Cliff Richard has been told that, despite the success of his well-meaning antics during the rain-soaked Wimbledon tennis championships of 1996, when stunned spectators joined in with weird renditions of his old hits, the boyish star will not be allowed to sing at the tournament anymore.

Officials from the English Lawn Tennis Association unveiled the new retractable roof at SW19 earlier today, saying that there would be no more rain interruptions and, therefore, there was no longer a need for relics like Mr Richard to promote his latest releases.

The new roof has taken two years to construct, and will be ready for use when this year's tournament begins on June 22nd.

It takes 8-10 minutes to close, and a further 20-30 minutes is required for the air management system to create the correct conditions - usually a damp, drab, miserable, wet and windy sod-of-a-day.

So it was on the afternoon of 3 July 1996, when Sir Cliff cobbled together his implausible choir of women tennis stars Virginia Wade, Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver, Gigi Fernandez and Conchita Martinez for his new interpretation of, amongst others, We're All Going On A Summer Holiday, The Young Ones, Singing In The Rain and the timeless Bachelor Bum Boy - together with an obvious aching in his balls to once more 'be a young one' - with the impatient crowd looking to the heavens, and praying for an end to the drizzle.

It has since emerged that the performance, to an audience that included Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and actress Joanna Lumley, could have been avoided.

Sir Cliff had previously discussed the idea of singing at Wimbledon with his publicity man, Mark Borkowski, and when it rained on the famous venue, the singer's first move was to reach for a telephone rather than a microphone and get Borkowski's approval. Borkowski, who represented Cliff for five years, admitted: "When he was going to Wimbledon, I said to him: 'If it rains, you could always sing'.

"Then he called me and said it was raining. He asked what should he do, and I said he should sing. He did, and the rest, as they say, is history."

That may be, say Wimbledon bosses, but it's a version of history that they would rather forget, and they have now decided to take the extraordinary step of placing a Gagging Order on the India-born icon, and asked him to observe it closely, or face ejection from the event.

Cliff was silent - for once - over the ban tonight, but a spokesman told us:

"You don't last as long as Sir Cliff has without being able to wangle some way of self-promotion, and even a new retractable roof won't stop his charmless drone!"

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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