Paul O’Grady to replace best friend Cilla Black as host of Blind Date
Paul O’Grady has been revealed as the host of the upcoming Blind Date revival, replacing his late best friend Cilla Black.
Singer and TV host Cilla Black fronted the ITV dating show for nearly two decades, from 1985 until 2004.
The TV legend, who was integral to the original series, passed away in August 2015.
It was announced last month that a revival of the show is planned without its iconic host, with Graham Norton’s production company So Television set to bring it back for a new run on Channel 5.
Today, Paul O’Grady announced he would be stepping into his late friend’s shoes as the host.
He said: “Blind Date is an incredibly special family show which brought laughter, tears and joy to TV viewers throughout out the land.
“I am honoured to present the brand new series and after speaking to Channel 5, I know the series is in safe hands. I can’t wait to see if we can find love.”
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O’Grady and Black were famously close, and he delivered an emotional eulogy at her funeral.
Ben Frow, Director of Programmes for Channel 5, said: “The reaction to the news that Blind Date is returning has been phenomenal and demonstrated the depth of love and affection for the nation’s favourite dating show.
“Paul is the perfect choice to bridge the old and the new, capturing the essence and charm of a series that became staple Saturday night family viewing in living rooms up and down country, whilst attracting and appealing to a whole new generation of TV viewers.”
The upcoming season will be the first to feature LGBT contestants.
Channel 5 said: “Whilst paying respect to the traditions and family appeal of the programme with the legendary sliding panel, three question format and live studio audience, Blind Date will be updated to reflect the present day, whilst maintaining the humour, charm and cheekiness of the original show.
“Blind Date will also welcome LGBT contestants for the first time and there’ll be thematic twists which will breathe new life into the series.”