16/03/2017 12:40 GMT | Updated 16/03/2017 12:47 GMT

'Blind Date' Host Confirmed As Paul O'Grady, Succeeding Late Friend Cilla Black

Sadly it's not Jane McDonald 😭

Despite our calls for Jane McDonald to be named as the new host of ‘Blind Date’, Channel 5 has decided to go with another name to front their reboot of the classic dating show. 

Paul O’Grady has been confirmed as the new host, succeeding his late friend Cilla Black in the role.

Channel 5
Paul O'Grady is the new host of 'Blind Date'

He said in a statement: “’Blind Date’ is an incredibly special family show which brought laughter, tears and joy to TV viewers throughout out 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.”

Bosses have assured fans Channel 5’s take on the show will pay respect to the traditions and family appeal of the ITV version, with the sliding panel, three question format and live studio audience all returning.

However, it will be “updated to reflect the present day”, with one of the big changes seeing LGBT contestants featured on the show for the first time, while there will also be “thematic twists” to breathe new life into the series.

Ben Frow, Director of Programmes for Channel 5, commented: “The reaction to the news that ‘Blind Date’ is returning has been phenomenal and demonstrated the depth of love and affection for the nation’s favourite dating show. 

“Paul is the perfect choice to bridge the old and the new, capturing the essence and charm of a series that became staple Saturday night family viewing in living rooms up and down country, whilst attracting and appealing to a whole new generation of TV viewers.”

Cilla Black hosted 'Blind Date' from 1985 to 2003

’Blind Date’ first aired in 1985 and continued until 2003, when Cilla announced she was quitting live on air. 

She and Paul were best friends prior to her death in August 2015, and he also delivered a touching-yet-hilarious eulogy at her funeral.

The likes of Vicky Pattison, Helen Flanagan, Kylie Minogue and Olly Murs were among the stars previously linked to hosting the reboot when claims the show was being brought back were first reported earlier this year. 

‘Blind Date’ will launch on Channel 5 this summer.

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