Jimmy Tarbuck's life was "all the better" for having known Cilla Black.

Jimmy Tarbuck has heaped praise on Cilla Black

Jimmy Tarbuck has heaped praise on Cilla Black

The 83-year-old star admits that Cilla's death in August 2015, aged 72, has left a gaping hole in his life.

Speaking with BBC Radio 2, Jimmy shared: "Cilla used to give them [the fans] what they wanted. Nice songs, bit of a laugh, at her own expense. She lived a wonderful life.

"I’m getting a bit choked … my life was all the better for having known her. I loved her. She loved me a little. I was grateful of that. She could sing anything. She was our Cilla."

Earlier this year, Jimmy also opened up about the death of another of his showbiz pals, Sir Michael Parkinson.

In August, Jimmy met the TV star for lunch, and he was heartbroken to learn that Michael passed away away a few days later.

During an appearance on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’, Jimmy said: "He was a giant, a giant of our industry. And he was a giant in as much as it was a great journalist, a giant, a great friend, a giant of a friend. And the talk shows. None of them have come near him since - it was just delightful, delightful company.

"And a very modest, man. You didn't see him going anywhere and go 'Oh, I'm Michael Parkinson!' And he'd walk in well dressed. And good fun. I mean, grateful.

"And last week at the house with young Michael, his son and I said, 'Oh, I'll go now, you're getting a bit tired', he said 'OK. Thanks for coming. Do you want lunch next week?' I said 'You arrange it, and I'll be there.’

"And unfortunately I won't."