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Who is Paul O’Grady? Blind Date and Love of Dogs host who won the Special Recognition Award at the NTAs

PAUL O'Grady took over the hosting role of Blind Date – the gig made legendary by his great friend Cilla Black.

The TV star has become a much-loved presenter in Britain – both as himself and Lily Savage, his alter ego. Here is everything you need to know about Paul and his career…

Paul James O'Grady, MBE was born on June 14, 1955.

He is an English comedian, television presenter, actor, writer and radio presenter.

Growing up he said he worked from the age of eight, doing a paper round and working in a fruit and veg shop.

Before he got into entertainment he worked for Camden Council.

In August 2017 The Sun exclusively revealed how the Blind Date host had secretly wed his ballet dancer partner Andre Portasio.

The pair began seeing each other in 2007 and got hitched during a 30-minute ceremony at the prestigious Goring Hotel in central London.

The latest series of Blind Date is on each Saturday night at either 7pm or 8pm on Channel 5, lasting for an hour.

There were six episodes in the reboot which started on June 17 2017, with each episode seeing two couples matched up for their holiday together.

The show was brought up to date “while paying respect to the traditions” of the show by allowing gay and lesbian singletons to take part.

Before he hit the big time, Paul performed as Lily Savage in the 80s.

He started off working the drag circuit with his act across pubs and clubs.

As he grew popular he eventually toured the country performing.

From 1989 to 1992, Paul performed annually as Lily at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, gaining increasing recognition for his act.

As a result, he was nominated for the 1991 Perrier Award alongside Jack Dee, Eddie Izzard, and Frank Skinner.

Paul followed this with a show titled Lily Savage Live from the Hackney Empire, which proved to be a sell-out.

Once he had gained national success, Paul was then asked to bring his act to mainstream TV.

He made guest appearances on TV programmes like The Bill and Brookside.

But it was when he took over from the late Paula Yates on The Big Breakfast from 1995 to 96 that he really hit the big time.

But he packed it in after one year saying that the early mornings "didn't agree" with him.

As Lily he also hosted a reboot of hit BBC quiz show Blankety Blank.

Paul still appears as Lily, although not as much, and often for pantomime.

Paul has enjoyed enormous success over the last 20 years, and has become a household name.

He has fronted numerous TV shows including The Paul O'Grady Show, The New Paul O'Grady Show, and Paul O'Grady Live.

More recently he is known for his love of animals, and fronted  Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs and Paul O'Grady's Animal Orphans.

He was presented with the Special Recognition Award at the 2018 NTAs after his stint on For the Love of Dogs.

He's also been delving into the history of cinema with Paul O'Grady's Hollywood on Channel 4.

Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/3113176/paul-o-grady-blind-date-husband-nta-special-recognition-award/

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