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Who is Paul O’Grady? Blind Date host and the late Cilla Black’s friend who secretly married his partner Andre Portasio

PAUL O’Grady took over the presenting role of Blind Date, the gig made famous by his good friend, the late Cilla Black.

The presenter has become a much-loved presenter in Britain – both as himself and Lily Savage, his alter ego. Here’s all the info about Paul and what else he has achieved in his career…

Paul O’Grady is the new host of Blind Date on Channel 5
Channel 5

Who is Paul O’Grady? What was his early life?

Paul James O’Grady, MBE was born on June 14, 1955.

He is an English comedian, television presenter, actor, writer and radio presenter.

Growing up he said he worked from the age of eight, doing a paper round and working in a fruit and veg shop.

Before he got into entertainment he worked for Camden Council.

In August 2017 The Sun exclusively revealed how the Blind Date host had secretly wed his ballet dancer partner Andre Portasio.

The pair began seeing each other in 2007 and got hitched during a 30-minute ceremony at the prestigious Goring Hotel in central London.

Paul hosts the rebooted Blind Date
Channel 5

When was Blind Date on TV?

Blind Date was on each Saturday night at either 7pm or 8pm on Channel 5, lasting for an hour.

There were six episodes in the new series which started on June 17, and each episode saw two couples matched up for their holiday together.

The new reboot of Blind Date was brought up to date “while paying respect to the traditions” of the show by allowing gay and lesbian singletons to take part.

Paul and late Blind Date host Cilla Black were great friends
Rex Features

When did Paul O’Grady perform as Lily Savage?

Before he hit the big time, Paul performed as Lily Savage in the 80s.

He started off working the drag circuit with his act across pubs and clubs.

As he grew popular he eventually toured the country performing.

From 1989 to 1992, Paul performed annually as Lily at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, gaining increasing recognition for his act.

As a result, he was nominated for the 1991 Perrier Award alongside Jack Dee, Eddie Izzard, and Frank Skinner.

Paul followed this with a show titled Lily Savage Live from the Hackney Empire, which proved to be a sell-out.

Paul also goes by his drag alter-ego Lily Savage
ITV

Once he had gained national success, Paul was then asked to bring his act to mainstream TV.

He made guest appearances on TV programmes like The Bill and Brookside.

But it was when he took over from the late Paula Yates on The Big Breakfast from 1995 to 96 that he really hit the big time.

But he packed it in after one year saying that the early mornings “didn’t agree” with him.

As Lily he also hosted a reboot of hit BBC quiz show Blankety Blank.

Paul still appears as Lily, although not as much, and often for pantomime.

Paul’s Lily Savage act became a national success
Rex Features

What other shows has Paul O’Grady hosted?

Paul has enjoyed enormous success over the last 20 years, and has become a household name.

He has fronted numerous TV shows including The Paul O’Grady Show, The New Paul O’Grady Show, and Paul O’Grady Live.

More recently he is known for his love of animals, and fronted  Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs and Paul O’Grady’s Animal Orphans.

He’s also been delving into the history of cinema with Paul O’Grady’s Hollywood on Channel 4.

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