Paul O’Grady’s posthumous Eurovision 2023 cameo moves fans to tears: ‘We love and miss you, Paul’

Paul O'Grady makes a cameo during the Eurovision 2023 trailer.

The late Paul O’Grady made a fleeting appearance in Eurovision 2023’s emotional trailer “Welcome to Liverpool” which aired during the first semi-final last night (9 May).

The legendary British comedian, known for his trailblazing drag alter-ego Lily Savage, did his “last bit of filming” for the Eurovision Song Contest before he died in March, aged 67.

According to a now-deleted tweet from Malcolm Prince, a producer who worked with him, O’Grady “wasn’t a fan” of the annual singing competition but his three-second cameo in the touching opening sequence still moved fans to tears.

O’Grady, who had a special relationship with Liverpool, having lived there during the early days of his career, appears at the halfway mark of the video (around one minute 10 seconds) in an apron, with a mop in one hand and holding his beloved dog in the other.

A BBC spokesperson said: “This is one of the last things Paul filmed and his appearance in the film was agreed with the blessing of his family and friends.

“Paul took part in this film as he wanted to mark his pride in his home region of Liverpool, hosting the contest on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine.”

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The trailer shows a young Liverpudlian boy excitedly racing across the city, telling anyone who will listen that they are this year’s host for the song contest.

The UK is hosting on behalf of last year’s winners, Ukraine, who are unable to stage it because of the ongoing Russian invasion, and the sequence shows all the ways Liverpool is dedicating this year’s celebrations to the eastern European nation, from flying their flag to teaching local schools how to say “Welcome to Liverpool” in Ukrainian.

In the trailer, people across the city are shown tidying u, in anticipation of the big day, and O’Grady is joined by several other famous faces, including Paul Hollywood, King Charles and Queen Camilla, Drag Race star Sister Sister and The Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson.

“Gotta’ say seeing Paul O’Grady on the Eurovision 2023 opening brought tears to my eyes,” one viewer wrote. on social media.

Another said: “Going to admit, I nearly cried when I saw Paul O’Grady in the opening montage.”

And a third tweeted: “A gorgeous little nod to the great and utterly fabulous Paul O’Grady.”

The Eurovision Song Contest grand final, with Mae Muller representing the UK, will air on BBC One on Saturday, 13 May from 8pm.