18/06/2017 11:05 BST

'Blind Date' Reboot Receives A Very Mixed Reaction From Viewers As it Makes Channel 5 Debut

They were full of praise for Paul O'Grady, though.

Paul O’Grady’s rebooted version of ‘Blind Date’ received a mixed reaction from viewers as it made its debut on Saturday (17 June) night. 

The classic dating show returned for a brand new series after 14 years off air, having switched from ITV to Channel 5, and with Paul taking over presenting duties from his late friend Cilla Black

Channel 5
'Blind Date' has returned to TV after 14 years off air

And while fans were full of praise for Paul, many of whom said was the “perfect replacement” for Cilla, others were critical about other aspects of the show. 

The fact the winning contestants were sent on dates to play ping pong and junkyard golf drew particular criticism, especially they used to be sent on exotic holidays on the previous version:

Fans were also missing voiceover from ‘Our Graham’, who has been replaced by Melanie Sykes on the reboot: 

Others also complained the set was too dark and the look and feel of the show felt cheap:

Paul kicked off the new series with a tribute to Cilla, who died from a stroke following a fall at her Spanish villa back in 2015.  

“It’s been 14 years since ‘Blind Date’ has been on our screens and it was presented of course by the late, great and my friend, Miss Cilla Black,” he said.

“Let’s hear it for her. The woman who gave me two heart attacks and broke my nose in a jacuzzi. Oh god, I don’t half miss her, I tell you.”

Channel 5
Paul paid tribute to his late friend Cilla Black on the first show
Channel 5
Cilla hosted 'Blind Date' on ITV from 1985 to 2003

He also used many of Cilla’s catchphrases during the show, including the infamous line, “Contestant number one, what’s your name and where’d you come from?”

Paul had previously told HuffPost UK of the nerves he felt about taking the reins of a show so closely associated with his old pal. 

“It didn’t feel right at first. I thought she just needs to swan out in her leather kecks and do the business. I hadn’t prepared for it, and it was a bit of a shock when I first went in,” he said.

“The first episode, when I heard the music stood backstage and they said, ‘please welcome your host…’, I thought it was so odd. Very odd. I expected her to appear and say, ‘what the bloody hell are you doing here?’”

‘Blind Date’ continues next Saturday at 7pm on Channel 5. 

Photo gallery Cilla Black's Life In Pictures See Gallery