Paul O'Grady set to replace pal Cilla Black as new host of Blind Date
Paul O'Grady is set to replace Cilla Black as host of the revamped dating show 'Blind Date'
Paul O'Grady has been announced as new host of 'Blind Date'.
The 61-year-old comedian will take over the role of matchmaker from his late friend Cilla Black, who fronted the show for 18 years, when the popular dating show returns to screens later this year, following a revamp, on its new home Channel 5.
In an official statement issued by Channel 5, Paul said: "'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."
The classic game show was fronted by Cilla for almost two decades from 1985 until 2003 and, although a reboot has been in the pipeline for some time, she tragically passed away in 2015 following a fatal fall at her Spanish home.
Renowned for presenting 'The Paul O'Grady Show', the fellow Scouser has beat the likes of Vicky Pattison, Olly Murs, Georgia May Foote and Helen Flanagan to the job as they were among those rumoured to have been in talks about taking over as the presenter of the dating series.
A source previously revealed: "Blind Date is the original dating show and it's huge news to bring it back.
"It's a classic format that will be rebooted to make it young, sexy and modern. Expect sparks to fly. In an age of Tinder, you have got to earn the right to love on this show."
Bosses are keen to keep some of the "traditional" elements of the previous run but have decided to give it an updated twist to appeal to a "new generation of viewers".
It's expected to run on Friday nights - rather than its traditional Saturday night slot - and will consist of six to eight episodes per series for the first few installments.
The programme sees three singletons grilled by a member of the opposite sex in order to find the perfect match without being able to see them. The new couple then pick an envelope with their holiday destination - abroad or in the UK - inside and will spend the next week trying to get to know one another.
Channel 5 have bought the rights to the dating show but they will have some stiff competition from ITV as it has 'Take Me Out' and 'Meet The Parents'.
'Blind Date' proved a hit with viewers for years but the plug was pulled in 2003 when Cilla announced she was quitting during a live episode following a drop in ratings.
It is set to be filmed at London Studios on the South Bank, where the original series was shot, and be produced by So Television, which makes the 'The Graham Norton Show' and Stellify Media, a firm part-owned by Sony Pictures Television.