Paul O’Grady has revealed how the sudden death of Boyzone’s Stephen Gately spurred on his return to ITV.

The chat show host – whose current show airs weekdays on Channel 4 – signed an £8 million deal to bring his chat show back to the channel next year in an evening slot to rival BBC One’s Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.

Paul told the Daily Mirror: “I’d known Stephen for years, it’s shocking that a young man of 33 with so much to live for should die like that… I made a decision: now is the time to move on, have a different kind of life, give myself some time to enjoy what I’ve got – a chance Stephen never had.

“God, he never even got a chance to say goodbye to people he loved. He had no warning, unlike me. I’ve had two heart attacks and yet here I am running around like a lunatic making five shows a week.

“Stephen dying like that has haunted me.”

The 54-year-old, who said when he left ITV for Channel 4 in 2005 he’d ‘rather sweep streets thank work for ITV again’, said: “I’m aware there will be accusations of hypocrisy, but I’ve always made it clear I was referring to certain people in the old hierarchy – not the company as a whole.”

He added: “I’m not being paid the silly money. Those days of big bucks are gone. End of. But programmes do cost a lot to make. So can I make it clear an £8 million deal doesn’t mean that’s my money – it’s the total cost of making a show over two years.”