Much as I can't abide Cilla, I also agree. Seems like the journalist definitely had preconceptions. However, she might have felt so uncomfortable with Cilla and her entourage that she gave it a bit more welly than she would have done had the encounter been more amicable both ways.
It looks like the journalist went into the encounter with a hostile agenda (perhaps she had heard all the rumours). I don't quite believe her when she says she expected to like Cilla.