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  1. ITV Report

Paul O'Grady to host new series of Blind Date

Cilla and Paul had been friends for years. Credit: PA

Cilla Black would have been "very happy" her close friend Paul O'Grady is stepping into her shoes to host Blind Date, her son has said.

The dating show will return for the first time in more than 13 years on Channel 5.

Cilla, who died in August 2015, fronted the popular dating show, which was formerly on ITV, from 1985 until she sensationally quit live on air in 2003.

The revamped show will include LGBT contestants for the first time and deliver some "thematic twists", Channel 5 said.

The late Cilla hosted Blind Date for 18 years. Credit: PA

Cilla's son Robert Willis told the Daily Mirror: "Mum would have been very happy.

"If there was anyone she'd have wanted to do it, it would be Paul.

"He'll make it his own. Blind Date was always about the funny moments.

"He's not one of those guys with someone on an earpiece telling him what to say. He thinks for himself, like my mum. She never used those things.

"With Paul at the helm, there'll be a lot of laughter."

O'Grady said in an official statement that he was honoured to present the show.

The transmission date of the new series has not yet been confirmed.