Paul O' Grady admits it's "impossible to follow" in Cilla Black's footsteps on 'Blind Date'.
The new host of the revamped Channel 5 dating series is hoping he will do his late friend, who presented the series from 1985 until 2003 on ITV, proud when he takes over later this year and he wishes Cilla was around so he could ask her for words of wisdom.
He said: "At the top of the show I explain, 'This was a show hosted by Cilla Black, give the old girl a round of applause' and of course they all cheer.
"I have never seen anything like it. That was the thing about 'Blind Date'. It was funny. She was wonderful the way she steered the ship, I just hope I can do as good a job.
"I wish she could just appear for 10 minutes so I could ask her, 'How did you get on in your first series?' People have got such fond memories of it. She is impossible to follow."
The 61-year-old presenter says he doesn't feel Cilla's presence, but wishes he did because she'd be able to help him out, although he's convinced she would have "laughed" if she knew the dating show was coming back.
Asked if he felt like Cilla was looking down on him while he was filming the programme, he told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "I wish I did feel Cilla's presence, it would be a lot more reassuring. But she is off having a ball somewhere. She'd roar laughing if she heard it was coming back. I used to speak to her every day and we used to go on holiday three times a year. And you just think, 'God life's dull' cos Cilla was bloody good fun."
Paul, who has dated men in the past, says the new series is still relevant with the introduction of LGBT contestants and it is different to dating apps such as Tinder and Grindr because people are chosen based on their personality over looks.
He explained: "Of course dating has changed, it is all on bloody apps now. No one goes to a boozer because they can't find a boozer and if they can they can't afford to go in.
"I say we are going back to the days before Tinder. Our contestants have been on all of these.
"I think, 'They are all stunning and have good jobs, why can't they find a partner?'
"They have had no luck on dating apps. It's too instant, like order a pizza.
"Grindr? I die of fright.
"What they are doing now on 'Blind Date' is picking someone on their personality and not looks because they are hidden behind the wall and can't see. It is what they say."
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