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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 May, 2003, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Cilla bows out of Blind Date
Cilla Black has hosted Blind Date for 18 years
Entertainer Cilla Black has bowed out of her signature show, Blind Date, after 18 years.

Her final show went on air as she celebrated her 60th birthday, which was on Tuesday, with her party at her home.

She told the audience: "For me, I'm afraid it's time to say my Blind Date goodbyes.

"It's been a wonderful 18 years and I just want to say thank you to all my teams, and of course the hundreds and hundreds of Blind Daters who made this show so special."

Black stunned viewers in January when she announced live on air that she was quitting the ITV1 show, a decision she came to without consulting programme bosses.

She said she felt it was time to move on, disagreeing with changes that had been made to the format to freshen it up.

Her final show followed the regular format as more contestants attempted to find their dream partner.

But the closing minutes featured a look-back at Black's time on the show from its launch in 1985.

During the show's lifetime there have been just three couples who have gone on to get married - allowing Black to don one of her famous wedding hats.

Institution

Usually the contestants criticise their blind date after spending several days with them, often in exotic locations, under the watch of the cameras.

But despite a poor success rate of matching up couples, Blind Date became a Saturday night television institution, although ratings have fallen since its 1980s heyday.

Production company Granada insists Blind Date will return, but as yet no new host has been revealed, and no date set for the start of the next series.

About 100 friends and relatives were due to attend Black's party at her home in Denham, Buckinghamshire.

She was expected to perform some of her favourite tunes including The Beatles' Back in the USSR, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas' Dancing in the Street.

Black has enjoyed a long career in the entertainment industry, hitting the big time as a singer under the guidance of Beatles manager Brian Epstein.

To celebrate her 60th birthday her original record label EMI has released a CD box set of her greatest hits including Anyone Who Had a Heart, Step Inside Love and Alfie.

Black has said she will stay in showbusiness - although she has not announced any definite plans.


BBC News Online users sent in their tributes to Cilla Black.

I was on the show and meeting Cilla and have her put me down was wicked, it's what memories are made of! Not sure if the show will be the same without her presence, even though it is all pre-planned! Good luck and all the best chuck!
Dan Potts, UK

Hi Cilla, Well done on a successful career!! I have only been living in London for a year but blind date is a must watch every week. Your natural manner and charm makes you the perfect presenter for a fun show! You will be greatly missed.
Kathleen, Australia

Best wishes to Cilla in whatever she goes on to do. I caution Granada - don't try to bring the show back without her. After 18 years Cilla & Blind Date are linked in the audience mind. Another host and a 'sexed up' format won't detract from the fact that the shows is past it's sell by date.
Martin Hoscik, UK

Cilla has a fabulous personality and is very warm and can be quite funny in dealing with the unexpected. Good luck Cilla.
Liz Beattie, Scotland

You cannot beat the come-downs that Cilla gives to the incredibly cocky and arrogant males on Blind Date - that's what makes it worth watching...
Gill, UK

She never failed to look as if she was just having a bloody good time.
Heidi, UK

Cilla rocks! Blind Date is the ultimate Saturday night telly and it will never be the same without her. A lorra lorra luck to ya chuck!
Rose, England

I suppose it will be Davina McCall taking the reins for the next series?
Andrew m, UK

If they do bring it back, please avoid the use of any of the following as presenters a. Ant & Dec b. Davina McCall c. Dale Winton
Si, UK

Good Luck to you Cilla in what ever you decide to do.
Bill Brannagan, UK

You have a big heart. Continue to share it.
Handel Battenbough, USA

I shed a lorra, lorra tears tonight. Cilla have a holiday with "our Graham" to get over it and then come back and tell us how you gorra on
Ian Gilmour, Edinburgh, Scotland

Cilla, thanks for bringing such style and panache to Blind date which made it one of the best satuday night shows EVER! Blind won't be the same without you! Good luck in whatever you go on to do!
Sara, UK

I have been a fan for 15 years and love Blind Date it wont be the same without you! Good Luck and a lorra love chuck!!
Karl, uk

I'm only 19 and have been watching Blind Date ever since I can remember. It will not be the same without good old Cilla every saturday night. Will miss her and the show. Tara chuck!
Melissa, UK

Where else could we see the best and worst of Britain?
Ben, Canada

Rock on Cilla! All the best for the future and I'm sure it's not the last we'll see of you. Blind Date was great with you as the host. Ta-ra for now!
Maya McKee, England




SEE ALSO:
Cilla's Blind Date success story
30 May 03  |  Entertainment
Cilla admits to smoking cannabis
24 May 03  |  Entertainment
Artist sorry for Cilla insult
08 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
Blind Date to continue
06 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
Cilla in the spotlight
06 Jan 03  |  Entertainment


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