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That's Life! and Esther Rantzen returning for one night crusade to help 'lonely older people'

Esther Rantzen returning to work in 1998 six months after she contracted a stomach bug while filming in Africa. Photo: PA

Iconic TV show "That's Life!" will be returning to screens for one night only as the show's host, Esther Rantzen, launches an elderly care campaign.

She will appear on tonight's edition of The One Show and team up with presenters Matt Baker and Alex to present an updated version of the long-running magazine show.

Rantzen will use tonight's show to launch the Silver Line Helpline for older people, so they can be linked to services in their local area to combat loneliness.

Esther Rantzen with fellow host, the late Mollie Sugden, ahead of her 23 week stint presenting alongside Rantzen in 1985. Credit: PA

That's Life ran on BBC One for over 20 years and was famous for mixing campaigning on serious issues with lighter hearted pieces on funny poems, performing pets and strangely-shaped vegetables.

Rantzen has had success with helplines before - 27-years-ago she launched the children's helpline Childline on That's Life.

The service, which allowed children to speak to trained advisors for free and in confidence received thousands of calls in its first year and continued to expand until it became part of the NSPCC in 2006.

Rantzen, launching an appeal to open a Childline Scotland, in 1989. Credit: PA

Silver Line will include a "befriending service" as well as help those who may be victims of abuse or neglect.

Kate Jopling, director for the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: "Loneliness is a shockingly common problem, but admitting we are lonely can be incredibly hard to do because of the stigma that surrounds it.

"When people find the courage ask for help, it is vital that someone is there to listen - which is why a 24-hour phone line, where people are always on hand to take your call, is such an important addition to the safety net available to older people.

"Many of us feel isolated and lonely - but there are people and organisations out there ready and willing to help. We hope that Esther Rantzen's new project The Silver Line will provide a really prominent new gateway to this support."

The Silver Line phone number is 0800 328 8888.