Paul O'Grady has said he hopes late friend Cilla Black will not be up there "throwing plates" at him as he takes on the show she made famous.

Paul O’Grady has admitted he has ‘impossible shoes to fill’ as he prepares to host the new series of Blind Date.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Paul said he hopes late friend Cilla Black will not be up there “throwing plates” at him as he takes on the show she made famous.

The 61-year-old comedian will front the comeback later this year on Channel 5, with Melanie Sykes doing the voiceovers.

Paul said: “It’s impossible shoes to fill, never mind hard. Cilla did it for so long.”

Cilla hosted the ITV show for 18 years from 1985-2003. The late TV presenter and singer died in 2015 at her Spanish villa.

Fellow Liverpudlians Paul and Cilla met in 1998 on Parkinson and enjoyed holidays and nights out together, with Paul describing Cilla as his soulmate.

Now, after agreeing to present a revamp of the show which will feature same-sex couples for the first time, Paul hopes Cilla would approve.

He said: “I hope she won’t be throwing plates at me. I mention her loads of times.”

Paul also revealed that he hung out with the love-hunting contestants before going on air to steady their nerves. He said: “I have a real laugh with them. It’s been an absolute blinder. The studio audience loved it.”

The show sees three singletons grilled by a potential suitor in order to find the perfect match – without being able to see them.

The suitor then chooses one of the singletons based on their answers, and the new couple pick an envelope with their holiday destination – abroad or in the UK – and spend the next week getting to know each other.

Blind Date will air on Channel 5 later this year.