SHERIDAN Smith: Coming Home viewers sobbed tonight as the actress broke down over her dad's death.
The Cilla star's entertainer father died of cancer last year, and in tonight's documentary she prepared to go home for the first time since to visit the house he had lived in.
But performing a song about him became too much and she broke down, and likewise viewers couldn't hold back their emotions.
One tweeted: "Sheridan Smith singing about her dad, I can't cope."
A second added: "The song Sheridan wrote about her dad had me in tears! #sheridansmith"
A third wrote: "Tbh just distracting myself from listening properly to the TV coz if I hear Sheridan Smith talking about her dad I'll also start crying about mine.
But I do want to watch this."
In the documentary, Sheridan explained: “I kind of lost it a bit after [my dad] died. I’ve come out the other side now and I need to get it all out through my music. Especially in the public, it looks like I’ve moaned about everything with my Dad dying but that’s not the case, I just had a massive meltdown.
“As soon as my Dad got that diagnosis it was like ‘I’m not leaving your side, I’m not leaving you’ and my mum was like, ‘Well, you’ve got to get back, you’ve got the show, you can’t let people down’ and rightly so.
“I know what she is saying, people had bought tickets a year in advance and I hate letting people down.”
Sheridan’s parents, both former singers themselves, urged her to return to Funny Girl but when she did, things took a turn for the worse.
Sheridan Smith performs at the Doncaster club where her parents used to performShe says: “They’ve taught me that the show goes on, even if they’re ill and I get that but at the time I was like, ‘Hang on a minute, reality check, I don’t want to leave my dad’. My dad was saying the same, ‘Oh love, don’t worry about me’ but how can you not, he was my rock.
“I love my mum but I just didn’t want to go back but I went back and I got on the train to do the show and I thought, ‘I can’t do it’, it just felt so weird like, ‘How can I be here taking applause?’
“I just thought ‘I want to be sat with my dad, sat on his chair cuddling him. I ran away from that, I ran away from that situation.”
Sheridan dropped out of the show at the Savoy Theatre and was replaced for the rest of the run by her understudy Natasha Barnes.
However, she returned in 2017 for the UK tour of the show, alternating the role with Natasha. She admits in the documentary that playing parts like Cilla Black in the ITV biopic and Mrs Biggs, wife of the train robber, appeals because she can become somebody completely different from herself.
She says: “I still love acting because it’s being someone else . . . I’m just looking at these people and how I can create their mannerisms, their walk and their voice.
“So, to look at myself is terrifying, it is scary and something I guess I’ve run away from for a long time.”
During Sunday night’s hour-long special she performs at the Doncaster club her parents used to perform at, as well as visiting the home she grew up.
Speaking about her musical upbringing, she says: “I love music, I’ve grown up with music. My mum and dad were a country and western duo. I used to gig with them around all the clubs in Doncaster and all over the country to be fair.
“I remember at school I was kind of embarrassed because he [my dad] would pick me up with a cowboy hat on and a big moustache and I felt so uncool and now I think it’s the coolest thing ever.” While visiting her mum Marilyn, she says she has turned a corner in her grief and can think about her mum’s own struggle.
She explains: “I feel like it’s time now to stop thinking about myself and moaning about my grief and all that. It’s like, what she’s been going through and we should be standing strong together.
“We’re always close, we text and whatever but it’s different to going home, give her a big cuddle, let her hear the songs..”
She visits the grave of her older brother Julian, who died of cancer when he was 18 and she was eight.
Sheridan, who also has another older brother, Damian recalls: “He got really ill all of a sudden and then was laid on the couch for a good couple of years.
“When he passed, it was kind of like he was there one minute and gone the next. It was a very strange and very surreal time as a kid.
I do admire my mum. How do you deal with that? She lost her eldest son, her first born. I can’t imagine what that must be like.”
Despite her troubles over the past few years Sheridan l believes the public are still on her side.
She adds: “I’ve come out the other side and I think people are very forgiving of all that, even though it’s all been in the public eye . . . Everyone has wobbles in life, don’t they?”