Cliff Richard is suing the BBC and police over raid on his home

A raid on the entertainer’s home by police investigating claims of historical sex offences was filmed by the BBC

Cliff Richard is suing the BBC and police over raid on his home

File photo of Cliff Richard, who has been re-interviewed by South Yorkshire Police | Image: David Davies / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sir Cliff Richard has confirmed he is taking legal action against the BBC and South Yorkshire Police over live coverage of a police raid at his home.

The singer said in a statement he had instructed his lawyers to start formal proceedings to determine whether or not the behaviour of the broadcaster and police was "justified and proportionate".

The 75-year-old said his life was "effectively turned upside down" and his reputation "was unnecessarily damaged" after officers investigating claims of historical sex offences were filmed searching his Berkshire apartment back in 2014, leading to him being publicly named.

While the star acknowledged the police had to properly investigate allegations, he said "questions need to be answered" by them and the BBC over the initial handling of the case.

Sir Cliff was never arrested or charged and last month the case was dismissed on grounds of insufficient evidence.

Both the BBC and South Yorkshire Police have apologised to the entertainer.

Sir Cliff also 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."

It has been reported the damages being sought by Sir Cliff as a result of his ordeal are in the region of €1.1 million.

Explaining the reason for taking action, Sir Cliff said: "It is important not only for me personally but much more widely.

"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 has declined to comment.