Paul O'Grady wants to be closer to Cilla Black
Paul O'Grady took the hosting role on 'Blind Date' because he thought it would bring him closer to Cilla Black
Paul O'Grady thinks hosting 'Blind Date' will bring him closer to Cilla Black again.
The 61-year-old presenter was left devastated when his friend passed away in 2015, and he can see himself "morphing into" his old friend now he is to front her old show, which is being revived after 14 years off screen.
He said: "The reason I want to do it is I don't want it to be messed up. I might mess it up but then it's my fault and I'll give it my best shot. 'Blind Date' was funny and that's what we need to get back to. The laugh we'll have with some of the contestants... And doing it means I'm sort of close to her again. I can hear her now, 'Come on, Paul.' I'll morph into her. I know I will. I can see it happening. Her son Robert is all for it and he said to me, 'If Mother was alive, she'd be over the bloody moon'. "
And Paul is adamant Cilla will still be very much a part of the show.
He added: "I can get away with saying things about her because we're mates. Somebody who didn't know her couldn't do that because it might be seen as disrespectful. I can say, 'She left me this in her will. Thanks, Cilla.'
"You can't ignore her. It was such an iconic show and she was synonymous with it. It would be disrespectful not to mention her.
"The old girl will be living on. I'm really looking forward to it."
Paul is proud the show will be embracing "diversity" and will feature same-sex couples, as well as older people looking for love.
Asked if there'll be same sex couples, he told heat magazine: "We've moved on now, haven't we? I didn't even have to fight for that, they were all for it. We've got the over-70s too. You name it, we've got it. We've gone big time for diversity."