- Sir Cliff Richard plans to sue over live coverage of police raid at his home
- He was never arrested or charged over sex abuse allegations
But after a tumultuous few months, Sir Cliff Richard appeared to be putting his troubles behind him on Friday as he headed to the Pinktober charity gala in London.
The 75-year-old singer was in cheery mood as he posed with Mel C and Gloria Hunniford at the Dorchester Hotel.
Sporting a smart tuxedo and bow tie, Sir Cliff happily posed for photographers on the pink carpet and chatted to old friend Gloria Hunniford who looked eye-catching in bright pink.
He also caught up with former Spice Girl Mel C and TV presenter Brian Conley.
Sir Cliff said his life was 'effectively turned upside down' as he confirmed last week he was suing the BBC and South Yorkshire Police over live coverage of a police raid at his home.
Following a tip-off, the BBC filmed detectives raiding Sir Cliff's home in August 2014 and identified him as an alleged sex abuser.
The entertainer confirmed in a statement he has instructed his lawyers to make formal legal complaints to determine whether or not the actions of the broadcaster and police was 'justified and proportionate'.
Officers investigating allegations of historic sex offences were filmed searching Sir Cliff's apartment in Berkshire in August 2014, leading to him being publicly named as part of the probe. The 75-year-old was never arrested or charged.
Last week, a spokesman for Sir Cliff said: 'We can confirm that Sir Cliff today issued legal proceedings at the High Court against both SYP and the BBC. It would not be appropriate to comment further.'
A BBC spokesman said: 'While we haven't received any notification of action, we've said previously we are very sorry that Sir Cliff has suffered distress but we have a duty to report on matters of public interest and we stand by our journalism.'
He was the subject of a long-running South Yorkshire Police investigation which centred on accusations made by four men and dating between 1958 and 1983.
The Crown Prosecution Service dismissed the case on grounds of insufficient evidence in June and both the BBC and South Yorkshire Police have apologised to the star.
Following the announcement, Sir Cliff said: 'As I have said previously, I'm innocent, so I'm obviously pleased with today's CPS decision and the speed with which they reached it. I hope that it brings this matter to a close.'
Sir Cliff has called for police to follow guidelines in not naming suspects before they were charged save for 'exceptional circumstances'.
He said: 'I chose not to comment during the active investigation for obvious reasons, but having suffered the experience that I have, I firmly believe that privacy should be respected and that police guidelines are there to be followed.
'That means that, save in exceptional circumstances, people should never be named unless and until they are charged.
'As everybody has accepted there were no such 'exceptional circumstances' in my case.'
According to the Daily Mail, the claim is worth £1 million and reflects damage he suffered personally and commercially as a result of the episode.
It is understood Sir Cliff developed a cough which affected his touring schedule, an album release had to be delayed, sales of his popular calendars were affected and his winery business suffered.
Sir Cliff said the issue of whether the actions were justified or not was 'important not only for me personally but much more widely'.
He added: 'My life was effectively turned upside down and my reputation, worldwide, was unnecessarily damaged. I would not want the same to happen to others whether in the public eye or not.'
'Whilst the police of course need to properly investigate allegations made to them, it is clear to me that questions need to be answered by both the police and the BBC about their initial handling of my matter, which has rightly been condemned from so many quarters, including the Home Affairs Select Committee, the broader press, and, even the police themselves.'
The BBC, whose relationship with Sir Cliff stretches back decades, declined to comment.
It previously said it was 'very sorry' for causing the singer distress.
As previously reported, the veteran pop star is demanding a change in the law that would give anonymity to anyone suspected of rape or sexual assault unless they were facing trial.
He hopes it will end the 'witch hunts' against high-profile figures who have had their reputations tarnished by unfounded accusations without ever being charged with any offence.
Sir Cliff has met with former Commons deputy speaker and Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans to discuss his proposed changes.
In 2014 a jury unanimously found Mr Evans not guilty of nine sexual allegations, including one of rape, following a five-week trial at Preston Crown Court.
The former Deputy Speaker said: 'We are all scarred by the experiences we have been through and we all came through it.
At a meeting in a House of Lords committee room on October 17, Sir Cliff will be joined by DJ Paul Gambaccini, who endured '12 months of hell' on bail for sex abuse allegations for which he was never charged.
Also present will be the widow of Leon Brittan, the former Home Secretary who died before being told police had dismissed historical abuse allegations against him.
They will urge politicians to back changes being proposed by Lord Paddick, a former Scotland Yard chief who is now a Lib Dem peer.
His reform would mean nothing could be published or broadcast in England and Wales to identify anyone accused of a sexual offence 'up until that person is charged with the offence, except where a judge is satisfied it is in the public interest'.
Some say the move could hamper police investigations because further victims sometimes come forward when arrests are publicised, as happened in the cases of Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall.
In a statement released on June 21 the BBC said it 'applied normal editorial judgments' to covering the story, but added: 'The BBC is very sorry that Sir Cliff Richard, who has worked as a musician and performer for so many years with the organisation, has suffered distress.
'The BBC's responsibility is to report fully stories that are in the public interest. Police investigations into prominent figures in public life are, of course, squarely in the public interest, which is why they have been reported by all news organisations in this country.
'Once the South Yorkshire Police had confirmed the investigation and Sir Cliff Richard's identity and informed the BBC of the timing and details of the search of his property, it would neither have been editorially responsible nor in the public interest to choose not to report fully the investigation into Sir Cliff Richard because of his public profile.
'The BBC, at every stage, reported Sir Cliff's full denial of the allegations.
'The BBC, therefore, stands by the decision to report the investigation undertaken by the South Yorkshire Police and the search of his property.'
Prosecutors reviewed the case against the veteran singer after the main accuser appealed for the evidence to be reconsidered.
The man – whose claim was found to be riddled with inaccuracies – sparked the original police investigation in April 2014.
He told officers that as a young boy he was sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff in 1983 at a rally in a Sheffield stadium for the US evangelist Billy Graham.
The complainant, who has not been named, requested that the Crown Prosecution Service should review its decision not to bring charges. A second alleged victim later came forward to request the same.
Sir Cliff revealed in the Mail after the initial CPS decision in June that the man's account was full of errors.
He said: 'The accuser got everything wrong. He got the year wrong. That rally wasn't until 1985. It [the attack] was supposed to have happened in a room that hadn't even been built then.'
The singer said South Yorkshire Police should have 'dumped that there and then' in 2014.
Instead detectives continued to appeal for witnesses, even though several officers who had been part of the security on the night in question came forward offering to speak up for the star.
'They were ignored,' said Sir Cliff.
'They phoned the lawyers independently and said they would like to make a statement saying they were there, on guard, and they didn't think it was possible.'
The allegations prompted eight other accusers to come forward. Four of these, who alleged abuse dating between 1958 and 1983, had their cases considered by prosecutors.