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EDITIONS
 Saturday, 4 January, 2003, 22:26 GMT
Cilla quits Blind Date
Cilla Black
Black had denied she was being replaced by Trisha
Cilla Black has announced she is leaving her television show Blind Date after nearly 18 years.

The Liverpool-born former pop star told Blind Date viewers on Saturday she was considering several "new and exciting" television offers.

Blind Date Weddings
1991 Sue Middleton and Alex Tatham
1994 Lillian Morris and David Fenson
1998 Anna Azonwanna and Paul Pratt
Blind Date was launched by ITV in 1985 and Black said the current series - the 18th - will be her last.

She said the show had become more like work than fun and that she wanted to leave before it became a "chore".

"Now I'm looking forward to a year filled with exciting new challenges," she said.

The 59-year-old presenter added: "Over New Year I thought a lot about what I wanted to do in 2003, and decided that it was the right time to move on from Blind Date.

"All good things come to an end and the show deserves to finish on a high and be remembered as a success."

The show became one of the most successful British light entertainment shows ever.

Cilla Black
The show will go on without Black
Black said: "I have had great fun for 18 years and would like to thank everyone involved in the show."

She is planning to commemorate her 40th year in showbusiness - and 60th birthday in May - by writing her autobiography, Cilla, What's It All About?

There is also a charity gala at the London Palladium in the pipeline.

A spokeswoman for Granada said Blind Date would continue with a 19th series due to be made later this year.

Bereaved

Paul Jackson, director of entertainment at Granada, said: "This has been entirely Cilla's decision and we completely respect her for it.

"We would like to thank Cilla for giving us 18 fantastic years."

In October, Black dismissed reports that daytime TV presenter Trisha Goddard had turned down a lucrative offer to take over Black's Blind Date job.

Black's husband and agent Bobby Willis died from cancer two years ago.

 VOTE RESULTS
Should Cilla be leaving Blind Date?

Yes
 77.05% 

No
 22.95% 

3238 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

06 Jan 03 | Entertainment
02 Oct 02 | Entertainment
23 Apr 02 | Entertainment
12 Nov 01 | Entertainment
29 Dec 01 | Entertainment
02 Aug 99 | Entertainment
28 Oct 01 | Newsmakers
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