With the Blankety Blank reboot having returned to our screens for its third season last night (Saturday 23rd September), host Bradley Walsh has paid tribute to his predecessor in the role Paul O'Grady, who died earlier this year.


O'Grady, as his drag persona Lily Savage, hosted the show between 1998 and 2002, fronting a version first on BBC One and then another on ITV.

The comedy game show was then off air between 2002 and 2021, at which point it returned on BBC One, fronted by Walsh.

Ahead of the new season airing Walsh spoke with The Sun's TV Mag, and said of his predecessor: "Paul was an absolute genius, and his passing is a great loss."

Lily Savage (aka Paul O'Grady) attends The BRIT Awards 1995 wearing a white outfit and white wig
Lily Savage (aka Paul O'Grady) attends The BRIT Awards 1995. JMEnternational/Getty Images

He continued: "There was something so wonderful about his character Lily Savage. She had the most cutting tongue and could get away with just about anything. I was lucky enough to feature as a contestant on the show when Lily was presenting. Paul was an irreplaceable class act."

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O'Grady, who was also known for hosting series including The Paul O'Grady Show and Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs, died in March of this year.

Tributes poured in from across the entertainment industry, with Lorraine Kelly calling him "funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise".

For the Love of Dogs won in the Factual category at this year's National Television Awards, with the head vet at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Shaun Opperman, collecting the award and paying tribute to O'Grady.

It has been reported that a documentary special is in development at ITV, which will explore why he decided to retire his alter-ego, Lily Savage.

Blankety Blank continues on Saturday 30th September at 9:35pm. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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