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Radio Merseyside to broadcast final Paul O’Grady interview as tributes pour in


Wirral-born presenter and comedian Paul O’Grady has died at the age of 67.

His husband Andre Portasio said in a statement this morning: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening. He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion. I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”

O’Grady rose to TV fame in the 1990s, with his drag queen persona Lily Savage hosting shows including Blankety Blank and The Big Breakfast. Lily was an act he had debuted in 1978, enjoying success on the cabaret circuit throughout the eighties before achieving TV fame.

As a new century dawned, he grew tired of appearing in drag and embarked on a career appearing as himself, debuting with ITV’s 2000 travelogue series Paul O’Grady’s Orient and also hosting chat shows. His later career was probably most famously marked by his love of dogs, however, with his star very much back in the ascendant following the 2012 launch of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs on ITV.

More recently, O’Grady was selected to host Channel 5’s reboot of popular eighties dating show Blind Date, and was a radio regular, hosting Radio 2’s Paul O’Grady on the Wireless for over a decade, from 2009-2022, among other shows.

Tributes have poured in for the popular comic, including from Good Morning Britain and Lingo host Adil Ray, who described O’Grady as an “extraordinary talent:

Former C4 colleague, IWC Media creative director Mark Downie, recalled how O’Grady would insist new roles on his show were advertised in the local Job Centre:

Battersea Dog’s Home, of which O’Grady was an ambassador, mourned the passing of a “wonderful, kind friend”:

Politicans joined in too, with Liverpool West MP Ian Byrne describing O’Grady as “unique”:

While Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram described him as “one of life’s good guys”

Even the Royal Family took time out to pay tribute:

BBC Radio Merseyside will be broadcasting its final interview with the star, from last November, on the Afternoon Show at 3pm today in tribute:

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