Paul O'Grady originally said no to hosting new Blind Date

Paul O'Grady

Paul O'Grady has revealed he originally turned down hosting Blind Date on Channel 5.

It was announced last week that Paul would replace late pal Cilla Black on the show which is returning to TV over a decade since it last aired on ITV.

Paul said: "Blind Date is an incredibly special family show which brought laughter, tears and joy to TV viewers throughout 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."

However he's now admitted that he first said no when asked to front the revived series.

"When they asked me I said no, because it’s so firmly associated with Cilla," he told the Daily Mirror newspaper. “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.

“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’.”

Paul went on to say he wasn't planning to "mess" with the programme and intends to show the series "respect".

The former chat show host 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.

“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.”

Blind Date is expected to air in the summer on Channel 5.

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