Paul O’Grady’s ‘last bit of filming’ to air during Eurovision even though he ‘was never a fan’

Paul O’Grady wearing a blue suit on a grey background

The late, great Paul O’Grady’s “last bit of filming” will air during the Eurovision final despite reports claiming he “wasn’t a fan” of the historic song contest.

The legendary comedian, also known for his trailblazing drag persona Lily Savage, died “unexpectedly but peacefully” in March at the age of 67, with his husband Andrew Portasio saying he and O’Grady’s loved ones would miss his “humour, wit and compassion”. 

According to O’Grady’s manager, the comedian’s final TV appearance will come during the Eurovision final on Saturday (13 May), in a “brief clip” during the singing competition’s title sequence. 

The Eurovision clip is reportedly the last thing O’Grady filmed, while posthumous episodes of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs’s 11th series continue to air.


In a now-deleted Tweet, Malcolm Prince, a producer who worked with O’Grady said: “From Joan (Paul’s manager): There will be a brief clip of Paul in the opening titles of the Eurovision programme at 8pm on Tues 9th May on BBC One.

“Paul wasn’t a fan of Eurovision as I’m sure you all know, but it turned out to be the last bit of filming he did.”

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Replying to a comment from a fan, Prince added: “He was never a fan of it, bless him.”

Paul O’Grady was hailed as a “really special man” who had an enormous impact on British drag culture, after his death in March. 

O’Grady was remembered as a national icon for his drag persona, the foul-mouthed Lily Savage, who had an eight-year residency at London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) in the 1980s. 

Savage and other performers were repeatedly targeted by homophobic police raids fuelled by HIV stigma, with O’Grady recalling a 1986 raid involving thirty-five police officers storming the RVT wearing rubber gloves.

“I remember saying something like, ‘Well, well, it looks like we’ve got help with the washing up’,” he claimed.

“They made many arrests but we were a stoic lot and it was business as usual the next night,” he continued.

Danny Beard, winner of the fourth series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, praised O’Grady for his fearless humour, claiming he was “the most important person in British culture for drag”. 

“I don’t think there’s anyone who does the job that I do that doesn’t class Paul as an icon,” Beard said.

“Paul was a trailblazer, they were on telly just after the AIDS crisis. They’ve been the most important person, I think, in British culture for drag, for the queer community.”

The Eurovision grand final will air on Saturday 13 May on BBC One at 8pm, from the host city of Liverpool.

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