ENTERTAINMENT

Paul O'Grady Took 'Blind Date' Job Following Concerns 'Some Reality Person' Would Host

'There’s too much of that on TV now and I’m not interested.'

18/04/2017 15:58 BST

Paul O’Grady has admitted he decided to host ‘Blind Date’ because he was concerned the show’s legacy could be damaged with the wrong presenter.

Last month, it was confirmed that Paul would be hosting the light entertainment show when it relaunches on Channel 5 later this year.

He takes over from the late Cilla Black, his good friend until her death in 2015. Cilla presented ‘Blind Date’ for 18 years until she quit in 2003.

While initial reports named Vicky Pattison, Helen Flanagan and Georgia May Foote as potential successors to Cilla, Paul eventually took the job, telling TV Times he was concerned what would happen if “some reality person” landed the gig.

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Paul O'Grady

He explained: “I was terrified they were going to give it to some reality person to host, and it would be shunted to a late-night slot in between programmes called ‘Dogs On The Dole’ and ‘My Left Breast’.”

Paul added that he’s keen to take ‘Blind Date’ “back to its roots”, revealing: “[It’ll be] a gentle, funny show.

“I told Channel 5 I don’t want any of the ‘TOWIE’ lot or contestants that have been on telly before, there’s too much of that on TV now and I’m not interested.”

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Cilla and Black enjoy a night at the Baftas in 2014

Joining Paul on the show will be Melanie Sykes, who is taking over as the show’s voiceover, a job previously held by Graham Skidmore, referred to affectionately by Cilla as “our Graham”.

Channel 5’s ‘Blind Date’ reboot began production earlier this month, with the new series said to be staying true to the original, while also throwing in some modern touches, including the involvement of LGBT+ contestants for the first time.

Cilla Black's Life In Pictures