Paul O’Grady has been confirmed as the host of Channel 5’s new revamped series of classic Saturday night show Blind Date.
The presenter and comedian formerly known as Lily Savage will step into the shoes of his close friend Cilla Black, who died in 2015 and fronted the show on its original home of ITV between 1985 and 2003.
In an emotional tribute recorded after her death in the Blind Date studio, O’Grady referred to Cilla’s catch-phrases from the show, saying “There is no ‘Number 1, what’s your name and where do you come from?’ There is no more calling out for out Our Graham and certainly no more lorra lorra laughs.” At her funeral he described her as “like a sister” to him.
Channel 5 says the show has now “been updated for the 21st century, as a new generation of love-seeking characters compete against each other to hook up with their potential love match”.
One of those updates will see LGBT contestants competing for the first time but the format will remain largely the same, retaining the famous sliding panel between contestants, the three questions and also aiming to bring back “the humour, charm and cheekiness of the original show”.
Blind Date was know for its innuendo-drenched questions and answers and its camp appeal, something that should suit O’Grady to a tee.
The new host said “Blind Date is an incredibly special family show which brought laughter, tears and joy to TV viewers throughout 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.”