Paul O'Grady reveals how Cilla Black influenced his Blind Date U-turn
Paul O'Grady accepted the chance to present 'Blind Date' as a tribute to Cilla Black.
The 61-year-old TV host was recently announced as the new presenter of the programme, and Paul has admitted to performing a U-turn on his original decision to reject the offer because Cilla, his good friend and former host of the show, would have been "screaming with laughter".
He said: "When they asked me I said no, because it's so firmly associated with Cilla.
"Then I had a think and I had a mental image of her sitting on the couch with a glass of champagne, screaming with laughter."
Paul also confessed that Cilla's son Robert played a major role in him changing his mind.
He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "The producers said it felt like a natural progression and her son Robert said she'd be over the moon, so I said 'Yeah, go on, I'll do it'."
Cilla - who passed away in 2015, aged 72 - presented the iconic dating show on ITV from 1985 to 2003.
And Paul has promised that the revamped version, which is set to air on Channel 5 this summer, will remain true to the original programme.
He explained: "The thing about 'Blind Date' is that it was funny. It wasn't about night-cams and what goes on under the covers and all that business they do now. You've got to show it respect and do it right."
Paul also said he was determined not to let Cilla down.
He shared: "It was such a popular show, it's not something you can mess with. You've got to be true to it and that's what I intend to do. I wouldn't want to let her down."