Cilla Black would have been “very happy” that her close friend Paul O’Grady is stepping into her shoes to host Blind Date, her son has said.
The entertainment show will return for the first time in more than 13 years to air on Channel 5 with O’Grady as its host.
Black, who died in 2015, fronted the popular dating show from 1985 to 2003.
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 him.
“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 new series.
The revamped show will welcome LGBT contestants for the first time and will deliver some new thematic twists, Channel 5 said.
The broadcaster’s commissioner, Sean Doyle, pointed out that when the show last aired in 2003 dating apps such as Tinder did not exist.
He said: “Social media platforms may have changed the rules of the game for millennials, but on Blind Date you’ve still got to find the real-life chemistry. The show respects its original traditions but there is a contemporary flavour to reflect the world today.”
The transmission date of the new series has not been confirmed.