Cilla Black is making her TV comeback with a new dating show.

Cilla, who hosted ITV’s Blind Date for 18 years, will host Loveland, which is being billed as a dating show with a 21st century twist.

Blind Date was watched by 17 million viewers at the height of its popularity in the 1980s – but the show ended five years ago when Cilla stunned show bosses by announcing that she was quitting live on air.

Hopefuls on Loveland – a 10-part series to be shown on Sky One next year – will hide behind real-time animated characters instead of the famous Blind Date screen in the studio-based show.

Contestants will select their date after interacting with the animated characters, before they meet the person they have chosen for real. The winning couple’s date will be designed to test whether their relationship is meant to last.

Loveland comes as ITV is mooted to be lining up a new dating show, with X Factor star Simon Cowell said to have bought a share of the rights to Blind Date.

Cilla said: “Loveland captivated me with its modern-day twist on the dating format, bringing something new and exciting to the genre.”

She joked: “The unique animation may help couples find love and me the perfect hat.”

Sky One said: “Who knows what’s lurking behind the cartoon. Will they pick a real-life Jessica Rabbit or will they choose something more akin to the infamous Tasmanian Devil?”