Blind Date returning to TV on Channel 5 after 13 years off air

Cilla Black,  who hosted hit television show Blind Date for its entire 18-year run on ITV, as the show is to make a comeback after more than 13 years off air.
Cilla Black, who hosted hit television show Blind Date for its entire 18-year run on ITV, as the show is to make a comeback after more than 13 years off air.

Hit television show Blind Date is to make a comeback after more than 13 years off air.

The popular dating programme was fronted by the late Cilla Black for its entire 18-year run on ITV.

It will return to screens later this year on Channel 5, a source confirmed to the Press Association.

"Blind Date is the original dating show and it's huge news to bring it back," a separate source told The Sun.

"It's a classic format that will be rebooted to make it young, sexy and modern. Expect sparks to fly.

"In an age of Tinder, you have got to earn the right to love on this show."

It will be produced by So Television - which also makes The Graham Norton show for the BBC.

The show, which launched in 1985, came to an end in 2003 after Black sensationally announced she intended to quit the show live on air.

The TV and music star revealed that the show had become more like work than fun and said she wanted to leave before it became a "chore".

It was reported at the time that the show's production crew were unaware that she would make the announcement.

The matchmaking show aired on Saturday nights for a total of 18 series and involved three individuals of the same sex being introduced to the audience. They were then asked a number of questions by a contestant of the opposite sex who could not see them. The contestant would then pick one of the individuals for a date based on their responses.

During its run, three pairs of Blind Date contestants married, with Black attending all of the couple's weddings.

After the Liverpool-born entertainer died in 2015, the first couple married from Blind Date said they will always remember their televisual "fairy godmother".

A number of celebrities appeared on the show before they became famous including Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, ex-Big Brother star Nikki Grahame and former SMart presenter Mark Speight.

Graham Norton is favourite to present the revamped show, according to bookmakers Coral.

Norton is priced at 2/1 while Big Brother host Emma Willis is 4/1, while Rylan Clark can be backed at 5/1.

Davina McCall (10/1), Holly Willoughby (8/1), Leigh Francis (12/1) and Helen Skelton (16/1) are also being tipped to replace Black.

With the show having produced three marriages during its initial run, punters can back any two contestants marrying after meeting on this year's series at 5/1.

"The odds indicate it is unlikely that two contestants will tie the knot after meeting on the show - however, it would not be first time that Blind Date has been responsible for wedding bells ringing," said Coral's John Hill.