Paul O'Grady: Cilla will be screaming with laughter watching me host Blind Date

Last week, we were delighted to learn that classic dating show ‘Blind Date’ is being rebooted with Paul O’Grady at the helm.

Now the comedic presenter has revealed he accepted the chance to take the reigns from the late Cilla Black as a tribute to the TV legend and his good pal.

Paul O’Grady and Cilla Black/Rex Photos

The 61-year-old host made a complete U-turn on his original decision to reject the offer by bosses because he realised Cilla would enjoy seeing him present the show and would have been “screaming with laughter”.

He said: “When they asked me I said no, because it’s so firmly associated with Cilla. Then I had a think and I had a mental image of her sitting on the couch with a glass of champagne, screaming with laughter.”

Cilla’s son Robert also convinced his mum’s friend to change his mind.

Cilla Black and Paul O’Grady/Rex Photos

He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “The producers said it felt like a natural progression and her son Robert said she’d be over the moon, so I said ‘Yeah, go on, I’ll do it’.”

Cilla – who passed away in 2015, aged 72 – presented the iconic dating show on ITV from 1985 to 2003.

And Paul has promised that the revamped version, which is set to air on Channel 5 this summer, will remain true to the original programme.

Paul O’Grady and Cilla Black/Rex Photos

He explained: “The thing about ‘Blind Date’ is that it was funny. It wasn’t about night-cams and what goes on under the covers and all that business they do now. You’ve got to show it respect and do it right.”

Paul also said he was determined not to let Cilla down, adding: “It was such a popular show, it’s not something you can mess with. You’ve got to be true to it and that’s what I intend to do.
I wouldn’t want to let her down.”

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