Page last updated at 00:53 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 01:53 UK

Cilla returns with TV dating show

Cilla Black
Black said she was "captivated" by the show's new format

Former Blind Date host Cilla Black is returning to TV with a new dating show.

But contestants looking for love on Sky One's Loveland will be concealed behind real-time animated characters rather than Blind Date's famous screen.

The 10-part series, billed as a dating show with a 21st century twist, will be broadcast on Sky One next year.

Black, 65, was the host of Blind Date for 18 years, from 1985 to 2003 when she quit the show, which at its peak attracted 17 million viewers.

'Undisputed queen'

She said she was "captivated" by the show's "modern-day twist on the dating format", which brought "something new and exciting to the genre".

Referring to the three hats she bought for Blind Date weddings, Black said: "The unique animation may help couples find love and me the perfect hat."

The show's producer's said: "Who knows what's lurking behind the cartoon. Will they pick a real-life Jessica Rabbit or will they choose something more akin to the infamous Tasmanian Devil?"

When Blind Date was at its most popular, Black was the highest-paid female star on TV.

Sky One director of programming Richard Woolfe said: "Cilla is the undisputed queen of the dating show.

"There's been many pretenders to her throne, but she remains in a class of her own.

"I'm thrilled she shares my passion for Loveland and for bringing the dating show kicking and screaming into the 21st Century."

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