Cilla black dating
And not just because he asked me if I believed in dragons. I’m loathe to admit it, but there is more to sexual attraction than simple muscle density.
But, for me, Cilla Black was and always will be the queen of block-coloured skirt suits, a sliding screen, a saxophone-heavy theme song and a little curtsey as she walked to the bottom of those famous pink steps. But the Saturday nights of my childhood were poured out between two absolute foundations: contestant the merest whisper of an opportunity and they would always, always, manage to mine it for some rich seam of smut and filth. I once went on a two-day road trip with a man I barely knew and, by the end of the weekend, was genuinely considering pushing my foot into a piece of farm machinery so I could go home. And if you don’t drink, just don’t go roller-skating.
It was a hoot because nobody knew who Cilla was, and if they didn’t know who Cilla was in the States they didn’t have a clue about me. Afterwards we’d be laughing in the street.” There are so many stories of the things they got up to. “I had girlfriends and boyfriends.” Wow, I say, you were sophisticated – this was the early 1970s.
“We were in Spain once and two Danish fellas were talking to us and she went off to the loo and I said, ‘You know she’s a notorious brothel madam’, and they went, ‘Really?!
My parents didn’t meet on a TV show – they had a two-week fling after a house party in South London. Well, the same is very much true of non-Blind Dates too.
And remember how by the end of day two they’d be rubbing tile grout into their eyes or flirting with the 19-year-old waiter just to try and get away from yet another awkward dinner chat about watches?
“It was a shock at first when I heard the music, and they said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host, Paul O’Grady’. She’d never been a party animal – she’d always done the show and gone home. She’d stand there with a mug of tea and a piece of toast on top, ‘Here y’are Paul,’ and she’d start ‘Walter, Walter, lead me to the altar’.” O’Grady is singing and cackling with laughter at the same time.
I thought, ‘This isn’t right, it’s so synonymous with Cilla, she should be here, not me.’ I felt like I shouldn’t be doing it. But then I spoke to her sons and lots of people who knew her and they said, ‘You have to do it, because she’d want you to do it for everyone.’” Sixty-two-year-old O’Grady has been thinking a lot about Cilla. After Bobby died she said she was sent a guardian angel but it had hooves and a tail, and that was me.” Within seconds O’Grady is transported back to the golden days with Cilla. “This is nine o’clock in the morning, and you’d be lying in the bed crying laughing.
The pop star and TV personality – who passed away in 2015 – presented the dating series from its first run in 1985 up until its cancellation in 2003, when Black sensationally quit live on-air.
After the successful return of The Crystal Maze, another beloved retro game show is set to make a comeback.
Blind Date is being revived on Channel 5 for more ridiculous puns and cheesy flirtations – and hopefully that iconic theme music too.
In fact he’s been thinking a lot about friends he has lost, in general. You almost wonder whether doing Blind Date is his way of staying close to her. They might have been united by grief (Cilla’s husband Bobby died 16 years ago; O’Grady lost his long-term partner Brendan Murphy 12 years ago) but it was a friendship cemented by laughter. She was a real good sport, and up for anything.” They were at their happiest, he says, when they went on holiday together, unknowns in foreign lands. The glitter ball’s hanging there, but don’t turn it on, please, because it will fall off!
The chat show host, animal lover, comedian, former drag queen and successful memoirist prefers to natter rather than do a formal interview, and today he wants to natter about Cilla. Cilla gave up Blind Date 14 years ago – had he ever talked to her about the possibility of him taking over the show? They’d go around like a pair of kids, making ridiculous stuff up about their lives. I was way ahead of my time.” How would he define his sexuality now?