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Paul O'Grady named new Blind Date host

The much-loved programme is being brought back to the small screen after its former success with Cilla Black as the presenter on ITV for 18 years.

Paul O'Grady will be the new host of revamped TV show Blind Date.

The much-loved programme is being brought back to the small screen after its former success with Cilla Black as the presenter on ITV for 18 years. But after the TV veteran's tragic death two years ago, Paul, 61, has stepped in to honour his late friend by ensuring the series stays true to its original format when it airs on Channel 5.

"Blind Date is an incredibly special family show which brought laughter, tears and joy to TV viewers throughout out the land," Paul said in a statement. "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."

There will be one change to the dating show, however, as LGBT contestants are welcome to participate - something openly gay Paul is proud to be a part of.

The Blind Date producers confirmed: "The show will reflect the present day whilst maintaining the humour, charm and cheekiness of the original show."

Paul's involvement in the reboot comes as something of a surprise, considering Geordie Shore favourite Vicky Pattison had been tipped to land the hosting job.

However, bosses have appeared to decide that Paul's unbreakable bond with the late Cilla made him the perfect candidate to continue her legacy.

Following Cilla's death in August, 2015, Paul opened up about just how much he missed his close friend.

"God I'm going miss her," he told the Liverpool Echo newspaper. "She was a very loyal friend, Cilla. She was more like a sister. I've lost my good mate. It's very sad. It just doesn't seem real."

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